Privatization of the military industrial complex - a headache of Alexander III and Nicholas II

Privatization of the military industrial complex - a headache of Alexander III and Nicholas IIOn May 8, 2012, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced illegal privatization aviation holdings "Tupolev" and "Yakovlev". In this regard, as well as with other ongoing disputes about the expediency of privatizing the military-industrial complex, I recall the "affairs of bygone days" of the reign of Alexander III and Nicholas II.

Soviet propaganda 70 years inspired the population that the Bolsheviks took the factories away from the capitalists and gave them to the working people. Now it is with pleasure that the market liberal liberals repeat. Alas, this thesis, to put it mildly, is incorrect, especially for the military-industrial complex and transport. There, the ratio of state-owned (state) and private enterprises was constantly changing.


Simplifying a little, we can say that at the beginning of the reign of Alexander II, the privatization of the military industry took place. Powerful private factories are being created, such as, for example, Obukhov. State-owned enterprises, such as the Sevastopol Marine Plant, are transferred to private owners. Construction of private railways significantly ahead of the construction of state.

But at the very end of the reign of Alexander II and in the reign of Alexander III, a reverse process occurs. Nationalized transport and military industrial complex. The same Obukhov and Sevastopol Marine Plants did not cope with orders and were taken to the treasury. Most of the railroads became state-owned, and the remaining private roads were laid on private mines, factories, estates, in the extreme case, were secondary branches.

All maritime transport was formally in private companies, and in fact, in the hands of the Department of Merchant Shipping and Ports, which since 1901 was in charge of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich. Almost all shipping companies were managed by the former admirals of the tsar’s fleet. The state gave subsidies to all maritime shipping companies without exception, donated ships that were bought or bought for the money collected by the population to them, provided many benefits, and so on.

Nevertheless, private capital was constantly trying to privatize state-owned factories. The plants of the Mining Department were a particularly tasty morsel. Thus, the debate about the feasibility of the privatization of Perm plants began in 1867 year. To address this issue, a special government commission was set up, which sent the State Councilor Bezobrazov to the inspection train at the Ural plants of the mining department. His report was published in the summer of 1868 on the pages of Russky Vestnik, where Bezobraz concluded: “The unfavorable circumstances, in which Russian mining is in general today, make us want to sell state-owned plants as a measure necessary for the improvement of the private mining industry ".

The argument against privatization was the fact that even with delivery, which was expensive, the price of Zlatoust shells was 1 rubles. 28 cop for pounds. They were almost two times cheaper than the cheapest cores of private factories. By the way, private factories of the Urals did not manufacture ammunition. I note that we are not talking about modern-type projectiles, but about solid cast-iron cores.

With a slight reduction in the number of state-owned factories, a reputable mining leader Kotlyarevsky linked a more complete load of government orders from the remaining ones. He proposed to reduce the price of their products by reducing management costs. At the same time, he advocated the cessation of financing by the mining department of schools located at the factories, military teams, churches, and partly hospitals. In his article in the Mining Journal, Kotlyarevsky draws the following conclusions: “In essence, what should be given to state-owned plants or, more correctly, factory workers, so that they could conduct the government’s work better and better? We need bread and truth - nothing more! Bread Mr. Bezobrazov could not give us, but he refused us the truth! "


At the end of the 19th century, the Minister of Finance, Witte, again raised the question of the privatization of the Ural plants of the mining department. The master of political intrigue decided to bring to his side a scientist of world renown, Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev.

And on behalf of Witte, Professor Mendeleev together with Professor of Mineralogy of St. Petersburg University Zemyatchensky, Assistant Chief of the Marine Scientific and Technical Laboratory Vukolov and an employee of the Main Chamber of Weights and Measures, technologist Yegorov, goes to the Urals.

After processing and analyzing the collected information, the Mendeleev Commission provided the government with a report, which was then prepared for publication in the form of the book “Ural Iron Industry in 1899”. The conclusions made by Mendeleev in relation to state-owned factories were extremely negative: “Established mainly for the need of the country's defense and as samples for private factories, they have now completely lost their last meaning. Many of them have become unprofitable for the state ... Therefore, I look at the need to close state-owned iron plants not so much as a means to reduce government spending, but rather as the only way to easily enter the Urals, which many new private enterprises of capitalists are striving for, whose struggle should serve multiply the amount and reduce the cost of iron. That is the reason that I see no other outcome of the Ural industry in the desired direction. It is extremely necessary for Russia to stop the state economy at the Ural factories ... Therefore, the only way in the words is ... my main motivation is when I suggest to do away with the state-owned "mountain" factories. ”

Metallurgist Vladimir Efimovich Grum-Grzhimailo, a metallurgical engineer, gave a serious rebuke to the Mendeleev Commission, writing: “When publishing an extensive volume of the Ural Iron Industry, Mendeleev and his companions probably set out to acquaint the Finance Minister and the entire industrial world with the Urals industry. Unfortunately, the commission elected, however, a speedy but extremely unreliable method of exploring the Urals; the satellites and Mendeleev himself hurriedly toured the factories, talked randomly about random objects, wrote from memory some of what they had seen and heard, not always accurately and abstractly, gathered all kinds of materials, tried to explore something themselves and decided that the Urals could melt in a year 300 000 pounds of iron and soon will supply England with iron ... The mistake is that their statements are based not on studying the case, but on the Russian passion for generalizations and conversations ... "

In addition to the article by Grum Grzhimailo, in the Mining Journal there were published articles of the mining chief of the Perm plants of Strelman and the engineer of the same plant Temnikov with sharp criticism of Mendeleev’s conclusions.

Witte's attempt to privatize the Ural plants failed. This is explained, on the one hand, by the resistance of engineers and management of the mining department, and on the other, by the weakening of the position of the finance minister in the struggle for power and income in the Far East. Nicholas II gave preference not to Witte, but to Abaza, Bezobrazova, and a number of other businessmen from a rival clan.

In such a complex topic as the privatization of artillery factories, it is not superfluous to clarify the author's view of the events from 1867 to 1914 a year.

It is unequivocal to say that privatization is bad or, on the contrary, good, impossible. In my opinion, in each particular case the issue should be resolved separately. Here, for example, private enterprises have created a huge and quite efficient cargo-passenger fleet on the Volga and its tributaries. And they did it without the help of the state and even in spite of the actions of bureaucratic officials. Moreover, urban zemstvos simply robbed shipping companies.

And here is the opposite example: the state-managed Trans-Siberian Railway and the Voluntary Fleet in 1894 – 1914 worked without profit, and sometimes with a small loss. So if they were transferred to private owners, the Russian state would have lost the Far East, including Kamchatka and Chukotka.

As for military orders, the assessment of the activities of private factories and state-owned can be made on the construction of warships in 1865 – 1905. If we take the cost of a cruiser (corvette) at a Russian state-owned plant per unit, then for a private Russian plant it will average 1,5 – 2,0, but then for a private foreign shipyard 0,7, or even 0,5.


As already mentioned, after the Russo-Japanese War, the rearmament of Russian artillery began and foreign banks entered the fight for control of the Russian cannon plants. An important role in this struggle was played by the Russian-Asian Bank, which was established in 1910 by merging the Russian-Chinese Bank and the Northern Bank. Note that the North Bank was ... the St. Petersburg branch of the French bank Societe Generale. Well, the Russian-Chinese Bank was largely controlled by the Paris-Netherlands Bank and the Lyon Credit Bank.

By 1914, the Russian-Asian Bank became the largest bank in Russia, and by 1917, it controlled more than 160 Russian factories and plants. Aleksey Ivanovich Putilov, a distant relative of Nikolai Ivanovich Putilov, the founder of the Putilov factory who died in 1910 in the year, stood at the head of the bank with 1880.

In 1912, the Russian-Asian Bank established its control over the society of Putilov factories and in two years turned it into an organizational center of a powerful military-industrial group, which also included the partnership of the Nevsky shipbuilding and mechanical plant, the Russian society for the manufacture of projectiles and military supplies. -Baltic Shipbuilding and Mechanical Plants, the Society of Mechanical Gilzov and Tube Works of Baranovsky and a number of other enterprises.

A secret agreement was concluded between the board of the Putilov plant and the board of the Schneider plant. According to him, the rule of the Putilov factory, and in fact, the Russian-Asian Bank should have done everything to ensure that only Schneider weapons were adopted by the Russian army. In turn, the French promised to transfer their technical know-how to the Putilov factory.

In 1912, the “Shipbuilding Program for the Baltic Fleet” was adopted, for which 421,1 million rubles were to be spent. Moreover, if 1912 million rubles were actually spent in 6,5 year, then in 1915 year - 59,8 million, and then - incrementally. The implementation of the 1912 program of the year required more than fifty 356-mm guns in the 52 klb for four Izmail combat cruisers, many hundreds of 130 / 55-mm and 107 / 60-mm guns for cruisers and destroyers.

Not only that, 1911 – 1914 had drafted new giant battleships armed with twelve 406-mm guns. In August, 1911, the Maritime Office offered large foreign artillery firms to report on the conditions under which they would “undertake to build a gun factory in Russia,” and by October 1912 had received several answers. So, the firm Vikkers proposed to create a factory of large tools "far from the borders and in the area of ​​fuel production." Its representative Balinsky began negotiations with Morved and Finance Minister Kokovtsev. The latter, according to Balinsky, "reacted sympathetically to our idea, but made it a prerequisite for Russian banks to participate in this business - Accounting and Loan and International."

Naturally, the Russian-Asian Bank did not wish to give such a favorable order to its British competitors. Therefore, the Russian-Asian Bank proposed to re-equip the Perm plant for the production of ship artillery caliber 102 - 406 mm.


There should be a small digression. Back in 1910, the Mining Department proposed to modernize the Perm Plant with the fact that it could produce 356 / 52-mm cannons, well, then nobody even thought about 356-mm cannons. These proposals were approved by the Council of Ministers, and the law of 23 June 1913 of the year determined to release funds for re-equipping the Perm cannon factories for the manufacture of artillery pieces and equipment for the landfill at the plant for a total amount of 10628 thousand. I note that the main part of the appropriations in the amount of 4831 thousand rubles. had an assignment to install equipment for the manufacture of guns of the largest calibers up to 12 units per year at the Perm plants.

And now the Russian-Asian Bank and the Schneider firm demanded to reconsider this decision. Representatives of the Russian-Asian Bank 26 in July 1912 requested the government to transfer the Perm plant for rent to 20 or for 36 years to a society specially organized by them, which would be engaged in the refurbishment of the plant decided by the government in 1910. Having replenished the technical means of the already significantly outdated plant, tenants would have set up the production of 356-mm guns in Motovilikha in six months.

This proposal of the Russian-Asian Bank on leasing “met with an objection from the Minister of Trade and Industry Timashev, who insisted on discussing the issue at an inter-ministerial meeting. Then it was stated that such a proposal contradicts the highest approved plan ”, according to which“ Perm plants must be reequipped at the expense of the treasury and cannot be transferred to private hands ”.

On the eve of the discussion of the lease project, the conservative newspaper Novoye Vremya published Menshikov’s political feuilleton called Spiders and Cannons, in which the author condemned attempts to reduce the government-owned military industry by leasing departmental factories to individuals. The article was directed against any use of private industry at all and feeding it with government military orders, but the key point was the fate of the Perm plant. Menshikov wrote that in the event of the implementation of the planned deal, “a complete collapse of the national artillery industry is foreseen, and without that ... a rather pitiful ... death of the Russian national affair”. Referring to the official information about the progress achieved by the Perm plant, Menshikov addressed the Minister of Trade and Industry Kokovtsev with a rhetorical question: “It is asked if it is true that Perm cannon factories (state-owned) give more than 10% of profit to the treasury, then why kill this already established official the company transferring it to European banks? .. It would be necessary not only not to close the Perm plants, but to develop their production up to the power of the Obukhov plant ”.

Nicholas II visits the Putilov factory.
Photo from the University of Wisconsin Madison Library. 1915 – 1917

Further, “New time”, pointing to the safe strategic and favorable economic location of the Perm plant, advised the future State Duma not to strive to “save this insignificant amount” (13 – 15 million rubles) needed to expand the Perm plant.

At the interdepartmental meeting on the Perm plant lease project, which 8 and 10 of October 1912 of the year were held by the Director of the Mining Department Konovalov, a group of entrepreneurs were represented by Ozerov, Vorme, Putilov, authorized representatives of the French partners Medler and Rakusa-Suschevsky. They sought to ensure that the department formalized the lease transaction, bypassing the Duma and the State Council, "in order of supreme administration." But at the October 8 meeting, officials from the Mining Department, the State Audit Office, and the Military Department spoke in principle against the project. "All of them noted the disadvantage of transferring Perm plants to private hands and pointed out that this question should be considered in any case in law, referring to the fact that the issue of Votkinsk plants goes through the State Duma."

Razumov, the vice-director of the Mining Department, expressed himself more restrained, but pointed out that “from a legal point of view ... this is too serious a matter for state defense and therefore can in no way be conducted except through legislative chambers.”


In January, a special Inter-Agency Conference was convened on 1914, which was to decide on the organization of production of 356-mm cannons at the Perm plant. It offered to lead the reconstruction of the plant for the production of naval guns in two stages. Namely: to set up production of twelve 356-mm guns per year and in parallel with the efforts of the “foreign company” to produce additional equipment for the production of 406-mm guns. The Schneider and Armstrong-Whitworth companies claimed the role of this “foreign company”.

An inter-ministerial meeting worked throughout January 1914. The project proposed by Schneider, revealed significant shortcomings. First, when equipping the first stage of production of ship guns, they were able to execute only 7 – 8 356-mm or 406-mm caliber cannons, that is, “disagree with the tasks of the Conference,” which provided for 12 cannons. In addition, the company Schneider in its project planned a long-term, namely 12-year-old, “technical management” of the work of Perm plants, not only in terms of the production of large-caliber guns, but also projectiles to them.

Schneider project was on 200 thousand rubles. more expensive than the Armstrong project, but a significant part of the cost was at the expense of the plant, which also did not correspond to the task.

The meeting expressed the opinion that “in relation to the task, that is, the construction and equipment of the new plant for the production of large cannons, the Armstrong company is more convenient because it prepares machines for the manufacture of large guns and has experience in building new artillery factories in different countries. " I note that by this time in Italy the Ansaldo artillery plant equipped with Armstrong had already begun production.

The meeting decided to conclude a contract with a British firm and entrust it with developing a detailed working draft of equipping Perm plants with equipment for producing 406-mm guns, and also entering the Council of Ministers with a request to issue additional appropriations for the work of equipping the second stage.

It would seem that the issue was resolved. But here politicians intervened. The French protested, they say, “British firms took over all large orders” to modernize the Russian shipbuilding industry, while France did not place large Russian loans in order for this money to flow into someone else’s pocket.

The Russian government was forced to back down and promise Schneider to transfer orders for a gun factory under the following conditions: machines of the English type or other, but “no less high and tested in Russia dignity”, annual production of the first stage - 12 guns, shutter - Vickers systems, as well as firm guarantees on penalties. The French, without hesitation, podmnuli these conditions. Thus, the issue of transferring the order to Schneider was resolved, and French President Poincaré made a note in his diary before his visit to Russia in July 1914 of the year: “Thank Perm.”

In the struggle for control of the Perm plants, the main argument was not technical gain, but bribes. “In the eyes of Duma leader Engelhardt, a bribe played a role when the government made a choice between the proposals of Vickers and Schneider. He heard that the Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich at a high society reception "not without a hint of envy" ... said: "I don’t know which, Grigorovich or Sukhomlinov, but they hapnuli great." But Sukhomlinov, in turn, spoke of the Grand Duke: “I don’t know who wants to grab it here? Sergey Mikhailovich himself or his Kshesinskaya? ”

A British engineer Fuller claimed that Sukhomlinov’s support for the Vickers-RAOAZ project was “purchased and paid for. Vickers paid at least once to the Minister of 50 thousand in 1913 a year, and perhaps more than once. ”

Schneider’s firm, which paid 3 million francs to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna “for her zeal” for lobbying for the concession in the Navy department, did not remain in debt. British Ambassador Buchanan 7 (20) March 1913 reported this to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom Gray's secret message. According to him, the representative of the firm Schneider at that time "spent the day and night" with Maria Pavlovna.

Grand Prince Mikhail Mikhailovich, who lived in England, could also influence the outcome of the case. In 1910, the former was very friendly with Albeth Vickers and spent time with him on hunting and fishing. I note both occupied important positions in the masonic lodges.

Well, the sea minister Ivan Konstantinovich Grigorovich was referred to in St. Petersburg as "Vor Vorovich". Soviet historian Shatsillo wrote that after the 1921 of the year, when he was abroad, Grigorovich “received large sums of money more than once” from Vickers and Nobel.


Masters stories love the catch phrase: "History does not know the subjunctive mood." But, nevertheless, let us try to imagine what would happen if the firms of Vickers and Schneider were engaged in the reconstruction of the Perm plant. Actually, there is nothing to fantasize about, just look at the history of the Tsaritsyn gun factory, which belonged to the Russian Joint-Stock Company of Artillery Plants (RAOAZ). Well, RAOAZ was under the full control of the firm Vickers.

The issue of building a private artillery plant was decided on 5 on November 1912 at a meeting of the Special Committee chaired by Finance Minister Kokovtsev. Construction of the plant in Tsaritsyno began in the year 1913. Under the terms of the contract concluded on 7 in September of 1913, RAOAZ undertook to build a new plant in Tsaritsyno and execute an order for 167 marine and coastal guns in the amount of 10,6 million rubles. The start date for the delivery of guns was set 1 September 1915 of the year.

At the beginning of summer, the Tsaritsyn Gendarmerie Department reported to the Ministry of the Interior: “For July 1915, the Tsaritsyn Gun Factory does not produce any products. The director of the plant, who is also the director of the Sormov plants, Ivitsky in Tsaritsyn does not exist. Resides in Petrograd. At the head of the plant is the vice-director of Krushel ... He is invited here from the Moscow Bromley plant, which has nothing to do with the production of artillery. The management of Ivitsky and Krushel adversely affected the conduct of business. ” But this circumstance did not prevent the shareholders in the first year of the existence of a “non-existent” plant to receive nearly half a million rubles of profit and deduct 2 p. 50 cop dividend per share.

The state sent a special commission to Tsaritsyn to hold a special meeting on defense. The report of the commission ended with the words: “Currently spent on maintenance and equipment of the plant (by cash book) 20 million rubles, but there can be no question of using it for the needs of the front.”

17 February 1916, the Assistant Minister of the Navy Vice-Admiral Muravyov, held the first meeting on the feasibility of acquiring the Gunnery. The meeting proposed: “The Tsaritsyn gun factory should be purchased by the Naval Ministry to the treasury so that the military department’s need for large-caliber artillery (cannons) will be met by the naval department.”

A significant part of the machine tools obtained from England for RAOAZ was transferred to the Sormovsky plant, where the production of field guns of the 1902 model of the year began.

So, by November 7 of 1917, the issue of acquiring the Tsaritsyn plant to the treasury was not resolved. Well, May 7, 1918, the Sovnarkom decided to nationalize the Tsaritsyn plant.

It is curious that in the 1924 year, the NKID in London negotiated with the management of the Vickers firm on the payment of certain compensation for the Tsaritsyn plant in the event of a firm's agreement on military-technical cooperation with Soviet Russia. The agreement could not be reached, and the negotiations ended in nothing.

In the second half of 1920, the Tsaritsyn plant, which received a new name for Barricades in 1923, was completed by the whole country. The plant handed over the first guns for land artillery only at the beginning of the 1930-s, and the heavy naval guns of caliber up to 406 mm passed instead of the 1915-th at the end of the 1930-s.

As for the Putilov factory, according to Alexey Putilov, his rule by August 1914 brought the deficit to 33 million rubles. And already in February 1915, the issue of plant sequestration was discussed in the Council of Ministers. However, due to a number of reasons, mostly bureaucratic, the plant was sequestered in the fall of 1916.
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  1. +1
    17 September 2012 08: 52
    Privatization - I hate this word and those who turned it into the Russian Federation! Can be easily replaced with the word PERSONALITY! am
  2. 0
    17 September 2012 09: 29
    wow, I live in Perm myself, thanks for the article ...
  3. +2
    17 September 2012 10: 09
    Academician A.N. Krylov in 1915, the desk of the state manager of the Putilov factory. I will quote his memoirs: “With the outbreak of the war, the Putilov factories received huge government orders for shrapnel, field guns and other items of defense. Beginning from 1915, there were large delays in delivery times. . "" It goes without saying that when the cash desk was transferred to the board, in full accordance with the accounting department, there was 1 p 15 k, and the current account in the bank was 135 rubles or something like that. " ; “We accepted the case on Wednesday, all funds were 136 rubles 15 k, and on Saturday, one wage was to be paid about 2 rubles, and on the accounts of other factories for various materials and other about 500." And this is from the report of the chief GAU General Manikovsky - Only for artillery shots, the overpayment amounted to 000 million rubles by the end of 4. And there was a reason - if at a state-owned factory 000 mm howitzer shrapnel cost 000 rubles per shell, then a private plant received 1916 rubles, 1094 mm - respectively 122 and 15 rubles, 35 mm high-explosive projectile - 76 and 10 rubles, etc. “Our private industry, especially metalworking,” the report said, “has inflated prices for all items of military supplies.
  4. +2
    17 September 2012 12: 14
    Private military-industrial complex is a threat to the country's defense capabilities. A participant thinks only about his profit, everything else is on the drum.
  5. +1
    17 September 2012 15: 00
    The worst thing, thoughts about profit at the expense of quality, which is generally unacceptable. They want to do something, let them do it from scratch and on private investment. They will then be able to interest the state - the flag in their hands ...
  6. GHG
    17 September 2012 15: 03
    Everything is new, well-forgotten old. Returned.
  7. 0
    17 September 2012 17: 39
    Where did you see a private trader build a factory or factory, first the state builds, and then, in a magical way, the shares turn out to be a package from the native leaders of the regions
  8. topwar.ruk-d
    17 September 2012 17: 57
    Shirokorad (the author of the article), as always, is rude, throws accusations on the basis of some gossip ("Well, the naval minister Ivan Konstantinovich Grigorovich in the St. Petersburg" world "was called only Vor Vorovich", "In the eyes of the Duma leader Engelhardt, the bribe played a role , when the government was making a choice between the proposals of Vickers and Schneider. He heard that Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich at a high society reception "not without a touch of envy" ... said: "I do not know which, Grigorovich or Sukhomlinov, but they grabbed great." But Sukhomlinov, in In turn, he spoke of the Grand Duke: "I don't know who wants to grab here? Sergei Mikhailovich himself or his Kshesinskaya?" "), without bothering with evidence.
  9. AlexMH
    17 September 2012 21: 37
    I do not presume to judge how private and state-owned factories in principle correlated in terms of efficiency in tsarist Russia, but when reading books on the history of military shipbuilding, you constantly come across cases of marriage, overpricing, and outright sabotage (where it was unprofitable to work) from private factories. For state-owned factories, the most frequent drawback was the failure to meet the construction deadlines. As for the work of industry in the conditions of war and pre-war time - following private entrepreneurship in terms of timing, cost and composition of orders is pure suicide for the country.
  10. 0
    17 September 2012 22: 14
    The entire defense industry in the state must belong to the state itself! Axiom. request
  11. 16
    18 September 2012 00: 16
    private capital in the military-industrial complex --------- there is nothing to do !!!!!!! with very few exceptions !!!!!!!!!!!!

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