Historical analysis of the influence of S. Yu. Witte on the development of rail transport in the Russian Empire

Keywords: Minister of Ways of Communication, state industrialization, tariff policy, Siberian Railway, railways construction, private railways

Abstract

The article is devoted to the activity of Serhii Yuliyovych Witte (Vitte) (1849-1915) – an outstanding statesperson and reformer. The authors make an analysis and evaluation of the activity of S.Yu. Witte focused on the development of rail transport in the Russian Empire in general and of his activity on the post of Minister of Ways of Communication, in particular. The carried studies allowed the authors to systematize and critically assess the sources describing the impact of S.Yu. Witte for the development of rail transport in the Russian Empire, as well as to depict the stages of life and professional activity of S.Yu. Witte in this direction. The authors prove that the main achievements of S.Yu. Witte to develop rail transport in the Russian Empire should be considered the following: the purchase of private railways and the concentration of the main railways network in the hands of the state; the construction of new railways on public funds; the transformation of the railway industry into a stable, profitable one; the settlement and further development of customs and tariff systems; the beginning of the construction of the Great Siberian Route. The article traces the main achievements of S.Yu. Witte as the Minister of Ways Communication of the Russian Empire. In the article it is shown that as a result of the step-by-step introducing of railway control and financial reform, which lasted for a decade, S.Yu. Witte managed to create an effective system of control over the public and private sectors of railways. The scope of the influence of S.Yu. Witte for the economic and political development of the Russian Empire is determined. The literary sources analysis suggests that S.Yu. Witte's policy was subordinated to the sole goal of: the industrialization of the state, the successful development of the economy of the Russian Empire, without affecting the political system, without changing anything in the state administration of the country. The analysis allowed the authors to state that it was S.Yu. Witte who attained coordinated and clear actions of the two most important departments of the Russian Empire – the Ministry of Ways of Communication and the Ministry of Finance – since they were the most interested in the construction of rail transport. Only through the coordination of the activities of these governmental structures, attained by S.Yu. Witte, it became possible to overcome the unprofitability of rail transport, which ultimately helped to stabilize the financial situation of the Russian Empire in general.

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2018-12-17
How to Cite
Pylypchuk, O. Y., & Strelko, O. H. (2018). Historical analysis of the influence of S. Yu. Witte on the development of rail transport in the Russian Empire. History of Science and Technology, 8(2(13), 353-367. https://doi.org/10.32703/2415-7422-2018-8-2(13)-353-367