Fatherland or Super Profit: Russian Business and Military Orders

Fatherland or Super Profit: Russian Business and Military Orders

During the First World War, the Russian government requisitioned 28 enterprises from more than 5200 that worked for defense. One of them was Putilovsky Zavod. As G. Grant, one of the American researchers of the Russian military economy 1914-1917, correctly notes, this measure was the exception rather than the rule. Exceptional were the circumstances that caused such actions by the government.

13 (26) August 1915 The Putilov Works Society was given a huge order for the production of 6-inch howitzers bombs. Its total amount was 18.200.000 rubles. The plant was supposed to make 260.000 shells for the price of 70 rubles. a piece. It was a very high price. State-owned factories manufactured these shells at the price of 48 rubles apiece. But private factories could not always hope for such favorable conditions. For comparison, I will cite the following fact: 13 (26) of May 1916 of the year, that is, after nine military months (!) "Russian society for the manufacture of shells and military supplies" (factory in Yuzovo, Yekaterinoslav Province) offered 6-inch shells at 62,5 rubles. per share. since the mid-1913 to early 1915, the Putilov factory has already concluded 19 contracts with the military and 4 with the Ministry of the Navy on 1500 rapid-fire, 320 3-inch horse and about 500 mountain guns, 420 48-linear howitzers, 154 fortress cannons of various calibres and 3 million shells. However, pr Adding continued to fight for new orders, more competitive on prices and volumes, trying on various pretexts to delay the execution of old.

The very next day after receiving an order for six-inch shells, the Putilov Plant Management Board submitted a statement to the GAU stating that his previous statements (on the basis of which the contract was proposed) were made on the assumption that the Ministry of the Sea would suspend the execution of its production order 130 mm. shells for the time from January 1, 1916 to January 1, 1917. This meant that the Russian battleships of the Black Sea fleet (“Empress Maria” and “Empress Catherine the Great”), which entered service in August and October 1915, should have been very, very careful to use their anti-mine artillery. Each of the Black Sea dreadnoughts on the project had 20 130-mm guns. caliber to deal with enemy destroyers and submarines. Not surprisingly, the Minister of the Sea, Admiral I.K. Grigorovich refused to provide this benefit. The company's board in response stated that it was not able to deliver on time.

In order to avoid disruption, it proposed: 1) to reduce the supply of 260 000 to 135 000 shells, with the inclusion of 1915 90 such 000-inch bombs in the last number received in May 6. This was not enough - the board demanded that the 55 000 42 linear shrapnel order be canceled, given back in July and October 1914, a change in delivery times, an increase in loans and the provision of financial benefits, including for the purchase of foreign currency. The latter condition was important, since the beginning of the war, the normal financial ties of Russian banks with foreign countries ceased. The temporary suspension of credit cards for gold, which followed July 23 (August 5) 1914, did not contribute to them. For these benefits, the board agreed to lower the price of the 6-inch projectile to 68 rubles. a piece.

General Manikovsky offered to make concessions. There was no choice for the new head of the State Agrarian University, but there were reasons for a soft decision. Before the war, AI Putilov signed an agreement with Schneider on financing the plant in the amount of 28 million rubles, which was never implemented. However, the crisis was avoided thanks to preferential military orders. The war found the plant at the stage of reconstruction, gun manufacturing depended on the supply of machine tools from the UK and the USA. In February, 1915 adopted a program for the shortest transition to military rails, which envisaged an increase in shrapnel production by 10 times, and tools of various systems - by 3,5 times (to 200 − 250 per month). In addition, the plant was engaged in repairing damaged guns. To assist in the organization of production in October 1915, government inspectors were appointed to the plant — the former director of the Petrograd Polytechnic Institute, Vol. A.G. Gagarin and the engineer-general major prof. G.G. Krivoshein.

With the actual arrival of the military administration here, the GAU was ready to consider the plant as state-owned. As a result, it was decided to meet the Society of Putilov factories to reduce the order to 135 000 shells, subject to price reduction to 68 rubles, while setting a clear schedule for deliveries. In October-November 1915, the plant was supposed to deliver 2500 shells on 1915 and January 1916 on 10 000, in February-March 1916 on 25 000, and on April-May 1916 on 30 000 shells. The program failed, until January 1916 was not a single 6-inch projectile. The program of militarization of production was not in the best condition. On the one hand, in December 1915, at the Putilov plant, 219 guns were produced instead of the planned 180 (with the production rate of guns in 30 in the month when the war began). However, these were mainly three-inch field (157) and mountain (32) guns and only 30 48-linear howitzers. Of the six-inch siege weapons ordered by 4, not one has been handed over. Even worse was the situation with the shells. The plant increased only the production of 3-inch shrapnel (from 150 000 to 175 000 pieces). But the plan for the production of grenades of the same caliber were not fulfilled (75 000 instead 76 000), while the supply of large-caliber: 48-linear shrapnel (3536), 6-inch high-explosive bombs (10 000) and 130-mm shells for the Mariners (1531) - were ripped off.

February 22 (March 6) 1916 of the year, after the 4-day "Italian strike", a strike began at the Putilov factory. Workers who received from 1,35 to 3,75 rub. per day, demanded a pay rise. The Board agreed to raise the rates, with the increase being from 3% to 30%, gradually decreasing from less-paid labor to higher. At the beginning of the strike, part of the masters and workers who did not want to support the strike were beaten, after which they were taken out of the factory territory in wheelbarrows. The Working Group and the Central Committee Building Committee again intervened, and later the Duma, initially taken aback by events. February February 23 (March 7) was declared a lockout. This time the matter did not stop at the usual measures. February 24 (March 8) The issue of a strike was brought up for discussion at the Special Meeting on State Defense. Rodzianko and Shingarev insisted that the unrest was of an economic nature and suggested a plant sequestration.

Presiding over the absence of the War Minister, Gen.-l. Lukomsky conveyed Polivanov's request to postpone the discussion for a while and reported that the head of the Petrograd Military District proposed inviting the strikers to the troops, but temporarily postponed this measure. Very characteristic was the reaction to the discussion of a member of the State Council, MA. Stakhovich, who stated that “the plant’s activities would have proceeded calmly if the members of the State Duma did not go to the plant and did not negotiate with the workers there.” February 27 (March 11) The special meeting was again held, this time chaired by the War Minister . A report on the situation at Putilovskiy was made by the fleet Gen.-l. A.N. Krylov is the eldest of 6 directors by appointment from the government. Briefly describing history the strikes and the current situation, he stated that the unrest was politically motivated and was caused by Social Democratic agitation, led by the Working Group of the MIC and Gvozdev’s public statements.

Milyukov, who was present at the meeting, criticized the correctness of the conclusions of the Krylov report and cited England as an example, in which, in his opinion, they fought with strikes during the war not by repression, "but through negotiations of the authorities." The workers' demands for a salary increase of 70% were not considered excessive by the cadet leader. Following this, Konovalov spoke out in defense of the military-industrial complex and representatives of the working class in this organization, carrying on significant patriotic work. The military was supported only by the leader of the Black Hundreds Markov 2. Speaking from clearly reactionary positions, he stated that strikes are unacceptable in wartime, that workers are military-obliged, that is, in fact soldiers, and therefore in actions against this kind of speeches can not be limited solely to economic measures, but to transfer cases to a military court. Ultimately, the meeting decided to combine repression with economic measures. It proposed to sequester the plant and propose to the newly appointed state-owned management to establish a new salary rate as soon as possible.

February 28 (12) March Polivanov issued an order on the sequestration of the plant. The next day Putilovsky was sequestered, the interests of his shareholders were guaranteed on the basis of the law of 12 (25) in January 1916 "on the procedure for managing and managing sequestered enterprises and properties." The official message of the reasons for the sequestration was: "Constantly increasing needs of the army in orders caused a gradual and significant expansion of the Putilov factory, and the expansion required the influx of a large amount of funds from the state treasury into enterprises. Both of these basic circumstances were the reason for the establishment of a government administration at the factory during the war, especially since the powerful Putilov factory, working in military and maritime departments, had to assume the character of a state-owned factory during the war. ”

2 (15) March was announced a new entry to the enterprise. About 150 people were arrested on the first day of the lockout, over 2 thousands of workers, mostly young, were drafted into the army. Part of the active strikers were immediately sent to the disciplinary battalion. The composition of the new board was mainly military and professional. General Krylov became chairman, fleet directors lieutenant-general N.I. Oglobinsky, major generals N.F. Drozdov and G.G. Krivoshein, acting. owls V.A. Gendr and Prince A.G. Gagarin. In response to the actions of the military on Putilov, unrest began at other Petrograd factories. They mainly covered the enterprises located on the Vyborg side. Tens of thousands of people took part in the strikes, and part of the workers who did not want to take part in the riots, were taken off by strikers from workplaces by force.

These events have alarmed Stake, in February 1916, the gene. Mv Alekseev submitted to the emperor a memorandum on the desirability of unloading Petrograd from the workers by evacuating part of the factories inland. The note did not receive the approval of Nicholas II, but one thing is clear - the harsh measures in relation to the strike movement, the cleaning of enterprises and organizations that have become a haven for disruptive elements - all this was understood in Mogilev. All of this provoked resistance in the CVVP Working Group, which, in the February days of 1916, issued an appeal that was not published for censorship, but was widely publicized.

“The working group, first of all,” it was stated in the appeal, “considers it its duty to state that it sees the main reason for the movement in deep discontent of the masses with its economic and especially legal position, which during the war has not only not improved (?! - A. O.), but undergoes a sharp deterioration. A number of laws, produced in the order of 87 Art., Orders and mandatory regulations of the military power, giving workers at the disposal of the military field courts, turning the working masses, also deprived of the slightest appearance of coalition freedom, into enslaved slaves, definitely pushes them to spontaneous protest . The strike becomes the only way out in which such protest is poured over every factory. Considering the strike as one of the completely legitimate forms of the labor movement, the Working Group, however, does not forget that arms protecting the interests of the working class can not ignore at any given moment all the circumstances of the environment. The circumstances surrounding the present movement are definitely unfavorable for the working class. Separate attempts from the movement of workers in other cities and from the movement of all other progressive sections of society, in the form of strike protests, of individual parts of the working class create a situation in which such spontaneous flashes only weaken and smash the growing conflict of the whole of Russian society with the authorities. ”

The group called for the immediate convening of a general electoral meeting in the MIC to discuss the current situation. It is not surprising that it was at this time that the Working Group, with the full support of Guchkov, once again actually called for a return to the idea of ​​convening the All-Russian Labor Congress. All this happened against the background of the preparations for the II All-Russian Congress of the MIC. Initially, it was planned to open on November 21 (December 5), but then was transferred to December 5 (18) on 1915. This was done in order to hold the military-industrial complex congress in Moscow simultaneously with the Zemsky and City unions congresses. In connection with the ban on holding them at the end of November, there was a pause regarding the dates for convening the MIC Congress. The government, which already had 1915 summer-fall experience, did not want to make concessions to the liberal public, realizing what each such congress is turning into, and even more so three at once.

However, refusing permission to hold them, it made concessions on the issue of resuming the work of representative agencies. 10 (23) December 1915 A.N. Khvostov said that the session of the Duma would open at the end of January, and that the main goal of the government’s policy was to unite, and not to separate all layers of Russian society. “For this reason,” said the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, “Moscow congresses are also prohibited. Unbalanced people can be found everywhere, but Moscow has lately shown that there is the largest accumulation of these elements there. Resolutions invading the prerogatives of power should not be allowed. It is necessary to warn possible hobbies, which are so dangerous for the responsible time experienced, and not wait until they are formed, in order to photograph them later and to hold them accountable with a photo in their hands. The prohibition of congresses in Moscow is not a campaign against the public, but a state necessity. ”

14 (27) February 1916 Guchkov sent M.V. Alekseev's telegram informing the Chief of Staff of Glavkoverkha about the urgent need to make a report on the activities of the Central Military Committee and to receive "Your instructions important to the committee." He himself could not come because of the continued illness, and rumors circulated in the society that the head of the Central Military Industrial Campus was dying, "poisoned by a Rasputin gang." Therefore, he offered to take his deputy A.I. instead of himself. Konovalov. The same day, a meeting of the Bureau of the Central Committee of Military Culture was held on the preparation of the 2-th Congress of the military-industrial committees. In connection with Guchkov's illness, he was elected honorary chairman of the future congress, and Konovalov was appointed as the chairperson.

Immediately before this congress, 20 February (4 March) 1916, the 1 th Congress of representatives of the metalworking industry was opened in Petrograd. Its chairman was unanimously elected A.D. Protopopov, the one whom the liberal public together in the autumn of the same year accuse of lack of professionalism and insanity. The Congress recommended the inclusion of at least two members of the elected Congress Council in Special Meetings on defense, fuel, transportation, food, provision of the army with items of combat and material equipment and other commissions that will be created by the government. In addition, the congress categorically opposed the sequestration of the Putilov factory, "always standing at the head of the initiative and production of armament of our army." There was a strike at the plant, which the Owner of the Central Military Committee accused of stirring up at the congress. Its chairman followed this publicly to the applause of the industrialists. The problem of interaction between public and workers' organizations with particular urgency arose at the 2-th Congress of the MIC.

In the absence of Guchkov, the congress, which gathered in Petrograd on February 26-29 (March 10-13) on 1916, was opened by Konovalov. He was elected its chairman. About a thousand delegates attended the congress, including representatives from workers from 20 cities. “The huge hall of the assembly of engineers of communication lines where the congress is taking place,” the Rech correspondent noted, was completely filled, even all the aisles were occupied by the members of the congress. “G.Ye. Lviv, M.V. Chelnokov and PP Ryabushinsky (who was also absent due to illness). This was a visible realization of Konovalov’s call for the unification of social forces in the name of victory, which was played on the first day of the congress. His first speech outlined the obvious political tasks of social unity.

Konovalov said: “We have the right to say: if the seeds of a new Russia are sown in the country, if new attempts are made to find a way for Russia to stand firmly on its feet economically, these seeds, along with other public organizations, are also sown by workers from the mobilized industry. This congress will give us the opportunity to take stock of what has been done and outline new ways and methods for further work. The feeling of deep satisfaction caused in all the leaders of the military-industrial committees the speech of the Chairman of the State Duma, M.V. Rodzianko, from the Duma rostrum, recognized the usefulness of the work of the military-industrial committees. At the moment, when the poisonous atmosphere of evil wiles, suspicions, intrigues, ill will, scattered around the activities of public organizations, the State Duma’s activities of industrialists are valuable, this moral support is valuable, when the poisonous atmosphere of evil intrigues is more scattered. Our ardent desire - may the creative work of the State Duma be strong in strengthening order and law in the country, may the continuous beneficial course of its work necessary for the good of the motherland, for our victory. ”

The last words sank in the thunder of applause. At the end of his speech, Konovalov called for closer cooperation with the Zemsky and the City Unions. This thought also aroused stormy, long-lasting support from delegates. Readiness to cooperate in the name of victory was immediately shown by the speaker Lviv immediately after the election of the leadership of the congress. The head of the Land Union was satisfied with the work and reverted to the notorious symbol of the achievements of public organizations: “Look at the boxes with shells, which now stand out the results of our combined works in the form of an inscription:“ do not spare shells. ”” Against such achievements, it remains to be surprised why PI Palchinsky - a representative of the miners of the Urals 29 February (13 March) noted that the views of "industrialists as leeches stuck to a healthy people's body" are widespread in society and called on the congress to "emphasize the wrongness" of such a view. The creation of a positive image of their organization in the leadership of the military-industrial complex was not forgotten without reminders.

The text of the resolution was immediately delivered to the Interior Minister and Nikolai II. On the report, the emperor, as almost always, was impenetrably calm. However, he was very dissatisfied with the tactics chosen by the Minister of War in respect of the Central Committee for Military Culture and his Working Group, and its results in the policy of conniving at the military-industrial complex. The question of the Putilov factory also remained very painful. As a result of the strike, the work of the most important plant for the country's defense was actually paralyzed for two weeks. The strike ended with 4 (17) in March of 1916 to General Krylov, who brought order to the Putilov factories, could not avoid a drop in production. They gave full productivity only to 15 (28) in March 1916. The military department invested another 20 million rubles into the plant, from 25 to 30 thousand people increased the number of workers. The production volume also increased - the plant in 1916 gave 2828 guns (versus 1566 in 1915), their assortment increased by 2, the production of new products began - 76-mm anti-aircraft guns, and finally the production of 6- inch shells. In 1916, the plant produced about half of all the shells of this caliber produced in Russia.

In the midst of this work, Krylov recovered Guchkov at the Putilov factory. After his recovery, he, in his own words, could not indifferently see GAU's helplessness in organizing the correct supply of heavy artillery to the Russian army, suggested that within six months six six-gun 16-inch howitzers batteries be put in full gear, with everything necessary for immediate performance. Thus, in the shortest possible time it was proposed to achieve parity with the enemy in this area. As an expert, Guchkov invited the former director of the Putilov factory, A.P. Meller, who proposed a rather extravagant plan - to free the three most powerful factories - Putilovsky, Obukhovsky and Izhora - from the production of shells for heavy artillery for the production of these 36 16-inch howitzers.

What the rest of the Russian artillery was supposed to shoot in these six months - there was no answer to this question. Guarantees of the implementation of this extremely complex project were also not presented. It is not surprising that the Main Artillery Directorate refused it. However, the fact of this proposal explains a lot in the behavior, or rather, in the game, which was led by the head of the Center. The activities of military-industrial committees became more and more pronounced political in nature. 5 (18) in March 1916 at the meeting of the food department of the Center for Military and Industrial Cooperation with the participation of A.I. Konovalov to solve the food issue, it was decided to create in Moscow the “Central Committee of United Public Organizations”, which would start to act without regard to the policy of the Ministry of Agriculture. It was assumed that it was the food crisis that should have caused a power crisis in the near future.

Representatives of the Progressive Bloc were clearly behind the events, which they absolutely did not like. Only 7 (20) March 1916, the Duma considered the situation at the Putilov factory in closed session. As a result, a formula was adopted demanding the establishment of a “real” salary, the creation of trade unions and conciliation chambers. A speech on the situation at the Putilov factory was made by the Minister of War. This speech, as in August 1915, was not coordinated with the government. “Simultaneously with the announcement of the closure of the plant and the general calculation of the workers,” Polivanov reported, “in accordance with the mandatory military decree in the theater of military operations by the authorities, all workers who are subject to military service and received a delay in the appearance of military service, in order to fulfill urgent orders military and maritime departments, if they do not fulfill this duty, they are involved in the performance of a common military duty, i.e., in reserve battalions for military training. Of the workers on military duty who were on strike at the Putilov factory, only two younger age groups were called up for military service, namely, first and second grade warriors and 1915 and 1916 recruits, the work item least familiar to work and least suitable for the rank of skilled workers. In order to judge the military authorities who committed violence and beatings, a court martial was established. ”

In conclusion, the minister called the strike on Putilov “a stab in the back”, which the army received from “its”. This speech was greeted with applause. Polivanov’s speech was not criticized, but Milyukov followed him, who blamed the incident on the government and strongly condemned the violence against the strikers, explaining what had happened with economic reasons and the lack of propaganda among the workers. “How can we make this happen?” Neither “defeatism, nor anarchism?” - He exclaimed. - It is necessary that a person does not feel like a stranger, so that he feels really “his own”, then, perhaps, there will not be “stabs in the back”. Then they will understand that these things cannot be done, then those few elements of “defeatism” that exist will disappear. Introduce the worker to a common equal family, give him a means to reckon with employers in civilized ways, and when you give it, then collect. ”Miliukov did not criticize the factory owners, he was silent about the actions of the military. It should be noted that Polivanov completely disagreed with Stürmer on the attitude towards the strike, and after this speech he contributed to the fact that information about a closed meeting appeared in the press. Already 13 (26) in March, with the approval of the Minister of War and the Chairman of the State Duma, his report was published in Rech.

The transition formula adopted by the Duma 7 (20) in March contained a direct condemnation of the strike: “... violent and one-sided resolution of economic clashes can only lead to internal discord, weakening and pleasing our enemy ...” The leaders of the Progressive Bloc soon tried to regain the initiative. 12-13 (25-26) March 1916 was held congresses of the Zemsky and City Unions, during which the politicization of the requirements of their leadership increased. Pn Milyukov went to Moscow to take part in the work of the congresses and try to coordinate their resolutions with the line of the Progressive Bloc. He failed to do this, although the congresses nevertheless declared their support for the bloc.
The requirement of a “responsible ministry” was naturally included in the resolution.

The working question raised at the congress of military-industrial committees was not ignored. He was reminded of by the representative of the Working Group of the Center for Military and Industrial Culture, V.A. Montenegrins, repeating the program requirements of the “Gvozdevtsev”. In turn, A.I. Konovalov proposed to unite all public organizations following the example of the “Union of Unions” in 1905 and to start organizing the Union of Workers, the supreme body of which was to be the Working Group of the Central Committee of Industrial Workers and the All-Russian Peasant Union. “Russian Vedomosti” and “Speech” began publishing the draft of the working congress - its delegates were to be elected by electors (from organizations from 100 to 1 thousand people - 1 elector and over 1 thousand people - according to 1 elector from every hundred) under control of working groups. 10 delegates from capitals and 5 from other cities were to be represented at the convention.

But if the radicalization of the program of public organizations caused the natural satisfaction of their leadership, it was no less natural in this situation that Nicholas II was annoyed. The policy of cooperation with TsVPK turned out to be very unsightly consequences on the "home front". In addition, the results of public activity in the mobilization of industry for the needs of the front are also hardly impressive. Not surprisingly, against this background, the question arose of leaving the government of a man who in the summer of 1915 became a symbol of the “new course” in domestic politics. In March, 1916, at GHQ, rumors appeared about the imminent displacement of Nikolai Nikolayevich's creature ml. - gene. Polivanov - at the post of Minister of War. This was immediately noted by the British representative at the Russian High Command: "... perhaps because he (Polivanov - AO) was not persona grata (auth. - AO was singled out). He will be replaced by Shuvaev. ” It seemed that flirting with domestic business was coming to an end ...
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  1. -2
    October 6 2015
    I did not understand anything from the article. but most importantly Russia is reborn as a Phoenix bird from the fire ..
  2. +5
    October 6 2015
    Too many letters. It is clear, like a stump, that oligarchic capitalism, and under pain of death, will only think about profit. Only Stalinist socialism-state capitalism could avoid embezzlement and overpricing the price of defense industry products.
  3. +3
    October 6 2015
    Theft and mess have never led to anything good. How did it all end up for the cunning who made money in the war? Now, by the way, these "good traditions" - to whom the war, to whom the mother is dear - are reborn, will end all the same.
  4. 0
    October 6 2015
    Quote: DMB3000
    I did not understand anything from the article. but most importantly Russia is reborn as a Phoenix bird from the fire ..

    the author of the article has three accounts. and he was very offended. that zameusnovat.

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