Military Review

Cow for three rubles. Prices and fees in Tsarist Russia

Cow for three rubles. Prices and fees in Tsarist Russia

Talking about the fact that "under the king-father for 3 ruble you could buy a cow", as a rule, cause nostalgia. Moreover, it is customary to settle these “three-ruble cows” not in times, for example, Nikolai Pavlovich, but in the blessed 1913 year, in the last peaceful times of Tsarist Russia. I want to believe that in an era when there were balls, and beauties, and cadets, and the crunch of the French roll - life was cheaper and somehow, more natural, more just than it is now.

In many ways, this very “cow for three rubles” - and even “the large salaries of skilled workers” - played the role of a trigger for popular discontent in the near 80s, when people talked about rights and freedoms in intellectuals and newspapers. smoking rooms - about the real, “dobetstsar”, life. After that, 20 has been reborn in Russia for 1913 years, with all its forgotten charms, like a class society and the absence of social guarantees.

Meanwhile, the ratio between real wages and prices in Russia 1913 of the year was not at all as rosy as it is customary to draw it now.

So let's slowly understand: what were the prices and salaries in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century, based only on real documents: orders and resolutions of the government and ministries of the Russian Empire, price lists, price lists, reports, extracts from books of incomes and expenses, menus and accounts that time. We begin our journey in the 1900s and become familiar with the prices of the beginning of the 20 century with the most popular product in Russia at all times. That's right, you guessed it, on vodka. In those days, vodka in Tsarist Russia was sold only in special state wine shops. Above the entrance to the wine shop, as well as at the entrance to any state institution, the state emblem flaunted: the two-headed eagle. The state retained a monopoly on the production and sale of vodka. Here, without any queue, two varieties of vodka were always sold. Krasnogolovka (red cap), vodka, called the "kazenka" among the people. The price for a bottle of such vodka (0,61 liters) at the beginning of the 20 century was 40 cents. And the second type of vodka is the “Whitehead” (white cap), this is double-cleaned vodka. A bottle of such vodka in pre-revolutionary Russia cost 60 kopecks. Bottles with a capacity of a quarter (1 / 4 buckets) in wicker baskets were sold, which amounted to 3 liters. And the smallest vodka bottles were 1 / 10 a part of a regular bottle, which was popularly called the “scum” 0,061 of a liter. For such a bottle, you had to pay the entire 6 kopecks at the state-run wine shop. At the same time cheap beer draft varieties “Svetloye”, “Venskoe”, “Starogradskoe”, “Munich” at the beginning of the 20 century cost from 6 to 10 kopecks per 1 liter. Bottled beer because of the cost of glass was more expensive, somewhere 20 cents per bottle. Wine expensive and prestigious brands reached the 5-9 rubles per bottle. The capacity of the bottle for wine in the pre-revolutionary years was 0,75 liters. At the same time, it was necessary to pay only 5-20 kopecks per liter for cheap draft wine in different provinces of Russia. Cognacs cost from 3 rubles and ended in prices up to 100 rubles per bottle.

Well, these are all prices indicated by the store, and how much you had to pay for a pile of vodka (1 / 6 bottles = 100 grams) in a tavern, which in those days of pre-revolutionary Russia were already called taverns. In general, the difference between the tavern and its older predecessor, the "tavern", is that in the tavern you could buy only alcohol, and in the tavern you could also eat it, except for alcohol. So, in a cheap tavern on the outskirts of a provincial town, paying 5 kopecks, you could drink half a stop, i.e. 50-60 is a gram of cheap and most likely highly diluted vodka. A quick snack was offered the most popular snack to vodka at all times - this is right, a salted cucumber for just a 1 penny. And it was possible to eat “to the hell out” in these cheap taverns just for 10 kopecks. By the way, in the market for two pennies you could easily choose a dozen selected pickled cucumbers (12 pieces). It was not very comfortable and safe in such cheap drinking establishments. Constantly scurrying about suspicious, half-criminal individuals, drunk dray drivers, unskilled workers. Murder and robbery there were not uncommon. Quite another thing is decent restaurants, in our cafe-restaurants. In these decent and so popular in the early years of 20 century taverns it was very nice to pass the evening. The cutlery was sparkling clean, the tablecloths were starched and amazingly white, quick and tidy sexes (waiters) flashed everywhere, and from the kitchen wonderful aromas and delicious smells spread. It was worth to have dinner here in 1900-s in Russia already 30-50 kopecks. But this, judging by the memoirs of contemporaries, justified. A glass of vodka in a similar cultural institution has already cost 10 kopecks, but it certainly was official vodka! Not spoiled. For a mug of beer (0,61 liters) you had to pay up to 10 cents. Tea with two pieces of sugar cost only 5 cents. In well-known restaurants, of course, it was more expensive to eat. On average, for lunch at a decent XXth century restaurant in Imperial Russia, it was necessary to pay in the amount of 1,5 - 2 rubles. This is a fee for an ordinary lunch: first, second, salad, a couple of shots of vodka, dessert, no frills. After lunch, the well-fed and respectable Russian citizens at the exit from the restaurant tried to persuade each other to persuade the cab drivers to go on the flight. In large cities in those years, the only public transport was a tram, as a rule, the price was 5 kopecks without a transfer, and 7 kopecks with a transfer. But, of course, the main mode of transport was bays, driven by dashing cabs. Usually for a trip to Russia at the beginning of the 20 century inside the city, cab drivers took 20 kopecks. But, the price has always been negotiable and varied from the degree of supply / demand ratio. Although, even in those pre-revolutionary times, station taxi drivers were the most expensive, who without a twinge of conscience announced 50 kopecks for the often not very long trip from the train station to the nearest hotel. About train stations and travel. Naturally, in those years mainly traveled by rail. A first class ticket to St. Petersburg from Moscow cost 16 rubles, and in a sitting car you could get 6 rubles 40 kopecks for XNUMX rubles. First class from Tver from Moscow could be reached for 7 rubles 25 kopecks, and the third - to get for 3 ruble 10 kopecks. Porters gladly offered a service to bring suitcases for 5 kopecks. Large baggage, which occupies the entire cart, was taken to the train or back for a maximum fee of 10 kopecks. Back to the hotels ... In hotels for very wealthy gentlemen in luxurious rooms with all the amenities, telephone, restaurant, etc. The cost of the room cost per day 5-8 rubles. Hotel room without frills, but quite decent cost 0,7-2 ruble per day. Furnished rooms cost 15-60 kopecks per day. In general, in pre-revolutionary Russia at the beginning of the 20 century, removable housing, on average, cost 20 kopecks per month per square meter. In the center of Moscow, a luxurious large apartment with furnishings and renovation with the latest technology of the time cost 100-150 rubles per month. A small apartment with a tasteless situation on the outskirts of 5-7 rubles. The usual cost of a rental apartment for a family with an average income, i.e. order 80 rubles, was about 15 rubles per month. Calling friends and acquaintances from the hotel and telling how you got settled, cost from St. Petersburg to Moscow 50 kopecks per minute, but paid at least 1,50 rubles for the connection. It was cheaper to write a letter, you had to pay only 3-4 a penny to send it. Or send a telegram. In another city, sending the word transmitted via telegraph cost just 5 kopecks, and sending a message to someone to the country in the suburbs just 1 a penny per word. Sending a package inside the Russian Empire weighing up to 1 a kilogram cost just 25 kopecks, and sending a package weighing up to 5 a kilogram needed to pay 65 kopecks. In addition to restaurants you could have fun and cultural, going to the theater. For example, to be in Moscow and not to go to the Bolshoi Theater to opera or ballet was considered not decent. Tickets to certain preferred lodges cost up to 30 rubles, for places in the forefront of Porter, you had to pay from 3 to 5 rubles, and you only needed 30-60 kopecks to see the presentation on the gallery.

Here is a list of the prices of that time for products, although then everything was measured in pounds, the cost is per kilogram for the convenience of perception:

Loaf of black stale bread weighing in 400 grams - 3 pennies,
A loaf of fresh rye bread weighing 400 grams - 4 pennies,
A loaf of white rich bread weighing 300 grams - 7 kopecks,
Potatoes fresh crop 1 kilogram - 15 kopecks,
Potatoes old harvest 1 kilogram - 5 kopecks,
Flour rye 1 kilogram - 6 kopecks,
Oat flour 1 kilogram - 10 kopecks,
Wheat flour top grade 1 kilogram - 24 pennies,
Potato flour 1 kilogram - 30 kopecks,
Pasta simple 1 kilogram - 20 kopecks,
Vermicelli from high-grade flour 1 kilogram - 32 pennies,
Sugar of the second grade 1 kilogram - 25 kopecks,
Refined sugar cube sugar selected 1 kilogram - 60 kopecks,
Tula gingerbread with jam 1 kilogram - 80 kopecks,
Chocolates 1 kilogram - Ruble 3,
Coffee beans 1 kilogram - 2 ruble,
Leaf tea 1 kilogram - 3 rubles,
Cooking salt 1 kilogram - 3 pennies,
Fresh milk 1 liter - 14 cents,
Fatty cream 1 liter - 60 kopecks,
Sour cream 1 liter - 80 cents,
1 curd kilogram - 25 kopecks,
Cheese "Russian" 1 kilogram - 70 cents,
Cheese on foreign technology "Swiss" 1 kilogram - 1 ruble 40 kopecks
1 butter cream kilogram - 1 ruble 20 kopecks,
Sunflower oil 1 liter - 40 kopecks,
Chicken steam room 1 kilogram - 80 kopecks,
Egg selective ten - 25 kopeks,
Meat veal doubles cut 1 kilogram - 70 kopecks,
Meat beef shoulder 1 kilogram - 45 kopecks,
Meat pork neck 1 kilogram - 30 kopecks,
Fresh fish perch river 1 kilogram - 28 kopecks,
Fresh pike perch fish 1 kilogram - 50 kopecks,
Fish fresh catfish 1 kilogram - 20 kopecks,
Fresh bream fish 1 kilogram - 24 kopecks,
Fish frozen pink salmon 1 kilogram - 60 kopecks,
Fish frozen salmon 1 kilogram - 80 kopecks,
Fish frozen sturgeon 1 kilogram - 90 kopecks,
Corn black grainy 1 kilogram - 3 ruble 20 kopecks,
Caviar black pressed 1 1 grade kilogram - 1 ruble 80 kopecks,
Caviar black pressed 2 1 grade kilogram - 1 ruble 20 kopecks,
Caviar black pressed 3 1 grade kilogram - 80 kopecks,
Caviar red salted 1 kilogram - 2 ruble 50 kopecks,
Vegetables cabbage fresh 1 kilogram - 10 kopecks,
Vegetables sauerkraut 1 kilogram - 20 kopecks,
Vegetables onion 1 kilogram - 5 kopecks,
Vegetables carrot 1 kilogram - 8 kopecks,
Vegetables tomatoes selective 1 kilogram - 45 kopecks.

A little about the value of things at the beginning of the XX century in Tsarist Russia:

Let's start with the cost of uniforms and military uniforms, which Russian officers were forced to acquire with their own money, and she, given the low officer's salary (which will be given at the end of the article) obviously cost them dearly.
Boots ceremonial officer - 20 rubles,
Officer's uniform uniform - 70 rubles,
Peak cap officer - 3 ruble,
Ulanskaya cap - 20 rubles,
Hussar Headquarters Cap - 12 rubles,
Gilded staff epaulettes - 13 rubles,
Spurs - 14 rubles,
Dragoon and Cossack sabers - 15 rubles,
Officer's satchel - 4 ruble.

Clothing for the civilian population was much cheaper:

Shirt output - 3 rubles,
Business suit for shopkeepers - 8 rubles,
Long coat - 15 rubles,
Spring Boots - 5 rubles,
Summer boots- 2 rubles,
Harmony- 7 rubles 50 kopecks,
Gramophone - 40 rubles,
Famous brand piano - 200 rubles,
A car without additional equipment - 2.000 rubles,

Alternative and basic means of transportation in those times
naturally, there was a horse that was worth:

Horse for a wagon -100 rubles,
Draft horse, working - 70 rubles,
Old nag on sausage - 20 rubles,
A good horse, on which even before people it was not a shame to seem - from 150 rubles,
A good cash cow - from 60 rubles.

Well, with the prices now more and less clear, let's get to the salaries at the beginning of the 20 century. So, the average salary in the Russian Empire for employees of factories and employees and junior officials from 1880 to 1913 year increased from 16 to 24 rubles per month. This figure is rather small compared with the average wages in other developed European countries for the same period. For the convenience of comparing salaries, all data are presented in rubles at the gold parity of the exchange of that time. For example, in Italy, the average salary in production and low-ranking civil servants increased from 19 to 32 rubles per month, in Austria-Hungary - from 28 to 44 rubles, in France - 30 to 41 rubles, Germany - from 42 to 57 rubles, in England - from 47 to 61 rubles, in the USA - from 63 to 112 rubles. But one should not forget the cheapness of products and goods of own production in Tsarist Russia in comparison with the indicated countries.

A similar situation is observed in the change in annual per capita income for the period from 1894 to 1913. In Russia, the increase in national annual income per unit of the country's population increased from 67 to 101 ruble. In Japan, the increase was from 24 to 60 rubles, in Italy from 104 to 230 rubles, in Austria-Hungary - from 127 to 227 rubles, in France - from 233 to 355 rubles, in Germany - from 184 to 292 rubles, in England - from 273 to 463 rubles, in the USA - from 290 to 545 rubles. The only thing is not to forget that the population growth in Russia was ahead of all European countries and was second only to the United States, where the growth was supported by a rather large flow of labor migration. All these figures show that the growth of the gross product and the standard of living in Russia was still slower than in other developed countries. But, possessing enormous natural resources, which were already so necessary for industrial development at the beginning of the 20 century, Russia could very well use this natural “handicap” for the more rapid development of its own economy. If it were not for the war, a weak, weak-willed government (after Stolypin’s death) and, unfortunately, much, much more ...

But back to salaries in Tsarist Russia at the beginning of the XX century, in 1913 year. The average salary of workers and small employees in 24 ruble is a very relative concept, so let's take a closer look at who earned what and how much per month.

So, the most poorly paid part of hired workers in Russia was a servant who received a month: from 3 to 5 rubles for women and from 5 to 10 rubles for men. But, in addition to the money allowance, the employer also provided servants with a roof over their heads, food, and, as a rule, also clothes from the “master's shoulder”. Very often this profession was hereditary, and the children of servants, growing up and becoming a service, saw life only from the window of a manor house. Further, by increasing wages in Russia at the beginning of the 20 century, there are workers of provincial factories, village manufactories, unskilled workers, and movers. Their salary ranged from 8 to 15 rubles per month. Moreover, it was not uncommon when one tenth of the salary was paid out with cakes for which it was possible to buy only in the factory store at overpriced products, far away, not the first freshness. Predominantly more earned workers at metallurgical plants in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The salary of these workers at the beginning of the 20th century in Tsarist Russia ranged from 25 to 35 rubles. And representatives of the so-called labor aristocracy, i.e. professional turners, mechanics, foremen, foremen received from 50 to 80 rubles per month.

Now about the salaries of employees in pre-revolutionary Russia. The smallest salaries at the beginning of the 20th century were among junior civil servants in the amount of 20 rubles per month. The same amount was received by ordinary employees of the post office, local teachers of elementary grades, pharmacy assistants, orderlies, librarians, etc. Doctors received much more, for example, in Zemstvo hospitals they had a salary of 80 rubles, the medical assistants of 35 rubles, and the head of the hospital received 125 rubles a month. In small rural hospitals, where there was only one paramedic in the state, he received a salary of 55 rubles. High school teachers in women's and men's gymnasiums received from 80 to 100 rubles per month. The heads of postal, railway, steamboat stations in large cities had monthly salaries from 150 to 300 rubles. Deputies of the State Duma received a salary in the amount of 350 rubles, the governors had salaries of about one thousand rubles, and ministers and top officials, members of the State Council - 1.500 rubles a month.

In the army officer salaries at the beginning of the 20th century in the Russian Empire after the rise in 1909, the following were. The second lieutenant had a salary of 70 rubles per month, plus 30 kopecks a day for the sentry and 7 rubles for additional housing rent, for a total of 80 rubles. The lieutenant received a salary in the amount of 80 rubles, plus the same apartment and security watches, more rubles 10, in the amount of 90 rubles. The captain received a salary from 93 to 123 rubles, the captain received from 135 to 145 rubles, and a lieutenant colonel from 185 to 200 rubles per month. The colonel of the Tsarist Army received a salary in the amount of 320 rubles per month from the Sovereign, the general in the position of division commander had a salary of 500 rubles, and the general in the position of corps commander - 725 rubles per month.

In order to understand what the daily expenses were in comparison with the daily incomes of our ancestors, we will recalculate the then prices and wages to the present.

The basis of the recalculation technique was the gold equivalent - the price of an ounce in 1913 and 2010. Based on the average annual gold prices and exchange rates available in open sources, the approximate exchange rate of the Russian ruble 1913 of the year against the ruble-2010 was calculated. This course is 1335 modern rubles for one "Nikolaev". Based on this value, it is possible to recalculate the cost of the main elements of life in one of the Russian capitals in 1913 for modern money.
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    ESCANDER 16 November 2011 08: 29
    And then I called the ruble a thing ... It turns out that the ruble is already three hundred!
    Interestingly, if the current average salary is converted to 1913 prices, then what can you really buy? An old nag on sausage?
    1. 2c4
      2c4 16 November 2011 16: 15
      in general, most of the country receives wages as unskilled workers of the tsarist era, and pensioners live at the level of servants
      not a good picture
      why then the USSR collapsed
  2. Alexey Prikazchikov
    Alexey Prikazchikov 16 November 2011 08: 34
    Ehh, it would be nice for such prices with current salaries, a dream.
    1. Igor Vladimirovich
      Igor Vladimirovich 16 November 2011 11: 50
      Duc, Ampirator to the kingdom and you will be happy;)
      1. Alexey Prikazchikov
        Alexey Prikazchikov 16 November 2011 11: 59
        Eh (looks thoughtfully out the window and wipes up the mean male slime).
    2. lightforcer
      lightforcer 16 November 2011 17: 34
      However, the products are indecently expensive.
      1. 2c4
        2c4 16 November 2011 19: 59
        what do you want, bio and eco-products are still expensive today
        1. lightforcer
          lightforcer 16 November 2011 21: 11
          Chicken for a thousand rubles (modern), stale bread more than forty rubles, a dozen eggs more than 300 rubles. This is in an agricultural country. The workhorse for the peasant was a luxury, it is not surprising that millions of farms were horseless.
          1. 4thParasinok
            4thParasinok 3 June 2017 11: 30
            Quote: lightforcer
            Chicken for a thousand rubles (modern), stale bread more than forty rubles, a dozen eggs more than 300 rubles. This is in an agricultural country. The workhorse for the peasant was a luxury, it is not surprising that millions of farms were horseless.

            Only this article does not provide complete information. So nothing is said that the factories gave workers free housing, and married, those who wish, and a loan (interest-free loan, not a loan) for building a house. Many enterprises had shops for workers in which prices were no higher than in the nearest market, and often cheaper. The first kindergartens for children of workers in Russia appeared at the end of the 19th century at the factories of Ivanovo (weavers were mostly men).
            Well, at the expense of salaries in Moscow, you can read in the book of Grigory Konstantinovich Zhukov “Memoirs and Reflections”. Before he was drafted into the army, he worked as an apprentice in a saddlery.
            At the expense of horses, this is a different story, and there were many reasons for this problem, including the legacy of serfdom and its abolition.
  3. Odessa
    Odessa 16 November 2011 10: 46
    Yes, and the ruble at that time was convertible. A strong currency from a strong empire. Everything has sunk into the summer of history.
  4. J_silver
    J_silver 16 November 2011 12: 17
    It can be clearly seen that the officers were practically begging if they lived on a salary ... Still, Kuprin did not lie ...
  5. Krilion
    Krilion 16 November 2011 13: 31
    and now they live similarly .. they promise to add it, but they want to do the form again at their own expense ...
    1. 2c4
      2c4 16 November 2011 16: 13
      Greetings! look carefully, how do they want to add?
      The okladny part, i.e. which can not be removed - 19500 with a penny from the lieutenant, the rest are extra charges for complexity and tension, secrecy, classiness, etc.
      So the elections will be held and especially they will not get anything.
  6. ioann1
    ioann1 9 December 2011 15: 09
    In the given link a lot is not exact, the presented information is presented one-sidedly. As for renting an apartment, a good three-room apartment cost 250 rubles a year. Moreover, the information does not quite correctly reflect the situation. The information in this link is better presented.
    The only thing I want to add is that the birth rate in Russia in the period from 1894 to 1917 (the reign of Emperor Nicholas II) increased by 50 million people. And all those successes thanks to the right economic policy.
  7. bistrov.
    bistrov. 8 February 2012 13: 50
    The situation is shown one-sidedly. That's right, for example, if you are a skilled worker, or competent enough to work as an office clerk or a small official, no doubt, it was possible to live. If you do not have a specialty, a diploma in the amount of 1-2 classes of the parish, then who could you work with? Correctly as a janitor, loader, cook and get from 3 to 5 rubles for your work, which guaranteed you a half-starved existence based on a vegetable menu with the addition of scar and entrails. And if you still have a large family, and then the number of 3-5 children was commonplace, then imagine what kind of a life it was! In addition, tsarist Russia had a rather high unemployment rate at all times. Life in the countryside was especially difficult. Peasants often did not make ends meet and were forced to look for an outside job during their free time from field work. Otherwise it was just not possible to live! In the above privacy, my great-grandfather Matvey, owning the specialty of a stove-maker, traveled from his village in the Oryol region every winter to St. Petersburg, to Moscow to work. But he was also lucky that he owned the craft necessary for those times and could live, although he didn’t have enough and he was then considered a middle peasant. So, it was rather difficult for the working people to live then, otherwise would it have risen almost as one and supported the revolution, which first of all brought equality and universal literacy, which later made it possible to industrialize and, as a result, dramatically improve the living conditions of the common people. And that the living conditions were improved is evidenced by an increase in the average height of a man in the USSR from 165 to 175 cm, this was especially noticeable in 1970-1990, then young people were called accelerates (acceleration-acceleration of growth). So that it is not necessary to idealize tsarist Russia, capitalism is capitalism, we can now verify this in our own skin and compare it with socialism. In general, we were divorced, like suckers!
  8. pmkemcity
    pmkemcity 12 December 2019 11: 31
    And in 1990 in Vladivostok I dined in a restaurant for 3 rubles. Two three times a week. First, second and compote, without vodka, by itself. It was not at all expensive. During the day, almost no one was there. Everything was very "royal".
  9. Skifotavr
    Skifotavr 25 August 2020 11: 36
    The recalculation method was based on the gold equivalent - the price of a troy ounce in 1913 and 2010.
    A very crafty recalculation technique! First, the price of gold today is relative, and over the course of several years, as practice shows, it can change incredibly. And secondly, what does the present ruble have to do with gold? It is these accountants who get a chicken for a thousand modern rubles. Do you want to count in silver? laughing It's funny, because I was looking on the Internet for information about prices in Russia before the revolution, and came across another someone's propaganda ...