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Documents of the Ministry of Finance of the government of A.V. Kolchak as a source on stories of economic policy of the white authorities of Siberia

a. G. Alekseev



The historical stage at which there is the Russian State now is characterized by persistent search new and revaluation of the existing ways of development of social and political and social and economic life of society. State regulation of economy, a business role in economic development of the country, a proportion of the private and state capitals in basic industries - these and a number of other questions rise before theorists and practitioners of public administration today.

It is worth to remember that years of Civil war in Russia enriched domestic historical and economic science with huge amount of the new knowledge based on heartrending, drama experience of functioning of national economy in the conditions of system crisis. The analysis of documentary heritage on this matter can make a powerful contribution to development of modern concepts of development of domestic economic and historical science.

Special value from this point of view submit the documents of the central institutions of the government of A.V. Kolchak taken in 1919 - 192 0 by the Red Army which are stored nowadays in the State archive of the Russian Federation (HECTARE of the Russian Federation) and almost not introduced for scientific use by researchers.

The most important of the central institutions directly involved in development and implementation of government policy in the field of economy, the Ministry of Finance was. The complex of the documentary materials which resulted from its activity included documents of standard and analytical character, such as resolutions, orders and minutes of meetings of the Ministry of Finance, reports on foreign financial policy, on a condition of finance and monetary circulation. The special place as a part of fund (F. 197) occupy the materials connected with preparation of a monetary reform, issue of new notes, retirements of kerenkas, etc.

The problem of reforming of a financial system of Russia, and in particular Siberia, occupied minds of representatives of the most various population groups. The Ministry of Finance was final instance where numerous projects were flown down in this sense such, but similar projects are found also in funds of other government agencies: Council of ministers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of agriculture and colonization. This peculiar collection of projects of reforming of the Siberian economy and finance is

the unique source containing the richest information on views of a certain part of the population of economic policy of the government, position of Siberia during Civil war, a role and the place of a commerce and industry class in the course of economic improvement of the region. Within this work we will stop on the analysis of the most typical documents such as historical sources.

All projects sent to the Ministry of Finance are in good safety now, are executed in the typewritten way and contain marks a colored pencil which emphasized the main author's ideas and offers. Similar marks probably became the official of the ministry to which duties the initial processing and the analysis of the sent offers belonged.

Allocating the main ideas of authors of documents with a blue, as a rule, pencil, this unknown official facilitated to ranking officers of the ministry perception of the document and saved that their time. Such allocations were subordinated to a certain order and logic. So, reasonings of authors on economic difficulties of Siberia, the description of the crisis phenomena, complaints about increase in prices, decline of ruble and other in the same vein practically were never emphasized. In the document only one phrase or a part it in which specific proposal on reforming of any given branch of economy or finance was formulated could be underlined. As a result the document gained the visual accents allowing to isolate at once from the monotonous multipage text the major moments.

As a rule, projects contained the autographic signature of the author and its interpretation. Often authors specified the position or an occupation. All documents such contain a mark of office of the Ministry of Finance with date of receipt of the document and its registration number and also visas or critical remarks of experts which got acquainted with the sent project if it deserved that.

Authors of projects of economic reforming can be conditionally divided into three main social groups.

Representatives of "a commerce and industry class", or businessmen treat the first. Directly involved in process of commodity-money exchange and production, knowing all its features and problems, authors from this social group sought to reflect in the presented projects of requirement of the class. Their projects differed in rather high level of the analysis, contained the generalizations based on profound knowledge of a subject. They often used special vocabulary of business communication and financial and economic terms.

So, the report addressed to the Minister of Finance of May 15, 1919 given I.O. Osipov, the businessman from Vladivostok contained the critical analysis of actions of the government for retirement of kerenkas of small face value. The author of a note, in general assessing results of the undertaken reform positively, stated a number of wishes and

the recommendations able, in his opinion, to give bigger economic effect. From the analysis of lexical features and stylistics of the document it is possible to draw a conclusion that his author was a person educated, actively monitoring the happening political and economic transformations. The document came to the end with the following comment: "... Concerning a question of withdrawal of kerenkas, I from the observations dare to make the conclusion that this measure, besides the highest reasons, was also quite radical not only at establishment of the agio between bank notes, but at the same time strengthened the provision of the Siberian treasury notes among foreigners".1 Use by the author of the word "agio" demonstrate that he was closely familiar with exchange vocabulary that speaks about large scales of its business. Similar terminology was atypical for small trade; besides, the reference of the author to a rate of the Siberian treasury notes also confirms its acquaintance to the exchange quotations of currencies and their dynamics before carrying out reform.

Authors whom conditionally it would be possible to call "socially active citizens" treated other group. City inhabitants, officials of government agencies of a low rank, small businessmen and others "ordinary citizens", or sincerely anxious with a situation in the country, or one way or another seeking to reach career or material advantages by means of naive attempt loudly to declare oneself the next "Project of economic development of Siberia" treated this numerous and motley category.

The report to the Minister of Finance from the senior assistant to the supervisor of the Priamurye excise management I.I. Sasin, in particular, concerns the last. The author recommended to release for completion of deficit of small change bank notes coins from porcelain or faience which, according to him, had a number of "indisputable advantages": small weight, resistance to the atmospheric phenomena and hostile environment, difficulty

fakes. As particular advantage of the offered coin


the possibility of its use for mosaic works was noted.

Also the project of fight against increase in prices of "the citizen of Tyukalinsk A.A. Noskov" is characteristic in this row. The citizen Noskov absolutely fairly noted in the project that "the wedge is knocked out a wedge" therefore "invisible coercion to buy products at the fabulous prices has to undergo invisible pressure to force to sell these products at more fair prices". Such difficult operation was offered to be carried out through the centralized government procurement of essentials with the subsequent their distribution among the population at the low fixed prices. Despite huge amount of economic "absurdities", following to which would lead economy of Siberia to a certain kind of the state monopoly and even a surplus-appropriation system, the general course

reasonings of the author lay in the course of the policy of the Omsk government directed to state regulation of the consumer market of Siberia it is frequent to the detriment of freedom

business and market relations.

Also the draft resolution of Council of ministers prepared by the chief of the Omsk district quartermaster warehouse of A.I. Shumsky, devoted to the description of process of stamping of notes by a stamp of National bank is rather interesting in this sense. The author suggested to carry out this procedure "for revival in Siberia of the credit relations and returns to cash money turnover of the savings of the population lying dead cargo out of bank and commodity turns". The author suggested to oblige all citizens to hand over the cash which was available for them in offices of National bank or savings banks where the handed-over notes had to receive the corresponding stamp of the Provisional All-Russian government, and again come to a turn. Owners of the handed-over money could receive them as the author planned, "according to the first requirement".

The utopianism of this project is obvious. Not to mention that chaos which would expect savings banks of the cities of Siberia in case the population agrees to execute the similar government directive, the author did not consider deep distrust of people to any innovations in the sphere of monetary circulation which accepted general character in 1918 - 1919. It is difficult even to assume that in the middle of Civil war the Siberian handicraftsman or the peasant would agree to carry and hand over voluntarily all the cash in bank or a savings bank on unknown conditions, being guided only by the governmental decree. Catastrophic consequences would be had by similar reform and for all commodity market of the region: instant withdrawal from a turn,

- the author took away on implementation of the project one month, - the huge sum of cash would cause crisis of non-payments, failure of food deliveries and, as a result, deeper economic crisis.

At the same time the idea about stamping of notes was quite rational: it was realized by the Omsk government concerning the bank notes printed in the USA by request of Provisional government and received by the Omsk authorities shortly before falling of the power of Kolchak. Drawing a stamp was necessary for differentiation of responsibility: its text contained information that the present notes are released by Omsk government, but not National bank of Russia.6

Stamping of notes was carried out also after falling of the Omsk government. So, the note of National bank with a mark "Very urgently" addressed to the director of Special office of a credit part is dated on February 16, 1920: "Now the storeroom of grifovalny department of National bank is filled with boxes with ready bank notes,

made in America, and there is almost no place where it would be possible to put boxes with tickets neotgrifovanny still".

Despite some naivety and the simplified perception by authors of similar projects of an economic situation of Siberia, this category of sources is very informative. It gives the chance to make a peculiar cut of public consciousness, public views of economic policy of the Siberian authorities during the studied period, to understand perception by the population of those processes which happened in commodity markets and in a financial system of the region.

Also the sociocultural context of this group of sources is important. Social and political activity of the population, its attempt to influence the power in such specific way as submission of the projects of economic development containing statement of current problems and possible ways of their decision, - the phenomenon extremely multilayered, demanding special study. But already and at this stage it is obvious that we deal with the new, before not used researchers, group of sources which allow to expand significantly istochnikovy base for studying economic aspects of history of Civil war in Russia.

At last, the third group of authors of projects of economic development was made by professional economists, politicians and government officials of the top management. A typical example of the projects belonging to a feather of the Russian economists are financial projects of V.P. Anichkov.8 Unfortunately, it was not succeeded to find author's originals in materials of Ministries of Finance fund. Only the typewritten report of V.P. Anichkov devoted to a question of determination of the price of kerenkas during the period from June 15 to July 15, 1919 in which the method for determining their course was stated remained. Also the comments on the project of a monetary reform of Anichkov prepared for the Minister of Finance by the consultant of the Ministry of Finance, Candidate of Economic Sciences F.I. Vittel.10 remained

The essence of the critical conclusions formulated by Anichkov's opponent came down to the fact that the author as if ignores public psychology owing to which features the new bank notes will settle in "jugs" at the population.

The similar remark of Vittel was not quite reasonable as Anichkov repeatedly wrote about danger of such succession of events in the course of holding a monetary reform.11 At the same time degree of safety of the document signed by Vittel demonstrates that it attracted keen interest in corridors of the Ministry of Finance: paper is strongly rubbed and damaged, sheets of the document are dispersed on business (obviously that it was taken out for acquaintance and returned again in business which was created and stitched in 1919), several sheets of the report are not enough.

Persistent search of ways of overcoming an economic crisis, and improvement of a monetary system of the region - as its investigations, gave birth to the surprising projects containing

sometimes the most fantastic plans and ideas. Also they came not only to the Ministry of Finance. So, in I.A. fund Yakusheva12 the proposal of the chairman of Economic council at the Siberian provisional regional government, the associate professor of the Tomsk university Nikonov about issuance so-called "pudosherst" and "pudokhleba" as the Siberian "democratic main monetary unit".13 remained That the author meant by these terms, it was not succeeded to establish, however it is possible to assume that it was talked of introduction of a new equivalent of cost instead of the precious metal which was expressed in units clear to all population. Differing from the projects coming to the Ministry of Finance, bigger irreality, Nikonov's project was, as well as those, is directed to improvement of the most sick sphere of economy - finance.

The category of projects of economic reforms described above included also results of collective creativity of separate structural units or specially educated commissions and committees at government agencies.

So, summer of 1919 the meeting at the Ministry of Finance which part representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were of the Ministry of Justice and the Omsk city self-government prepared the "About Measures for Improvement of a Financial Position of the Cities and Search of New Sources of Income" project. The structure of a meeting is remarkable. Presence among his members of representatives of the Ministry of Justice and city self-government is quite explainable: officials of Ministry of Justice had to provide compliance of the made decisions to the current legislation, and representatives of self-managements - to lobby adoption of decisions necessary for them. Much bigger interest is attracted by participation in a meeting of representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It is quite probable that the problem of power support of those fiscal measures which were supposed to be accepted was allocated for them.

The project provided to grant to City Councils the right to establish 32 levies which went to city treasury. To those treated additional collecting the national income tax, collecting from greenhouses, nurseries, bicycles, dogs, horses, yachts and motor boats, room, advertizing and still a number of other collecting directed to replenishment of scarce city budgets.14 the Fate of this project was quite successful: it was signed by the Minister of Finance. About the course of implementation of the draft of data it was not succeeded to find, however it is possible to assume that the document, so important for city officials, was adopted by them immediately, and all established levies began to be raised right after publication of the governmental decree.

Creation and consideration at a meeting at the Ministry of Finance of the called project of reform of collecting in favor of city self-managements were preceded by the serious work which is carried out by the staff of the Ministry of Finance on study and the statistical analysis of budgets of the cities of Siberia. Results of this research were put in "The table of deficiency city

budgets", 15 being an important statistical source for studying economic policy of the white governments of Siberia. The table looked as follows:

City 1917 1918

Income Expense Deficiency Income Expense Deficiency

Barrow 1,500,000 1,500,000 4,600,000 4,600,000

Chita 606,947 943,672 336,725 849,604 1,100,992 251,388

Tatarsk 392,254 389,131 836,984 863,589 26,605

Barnaul 733,498 1,175,401 441,903 977,514 1,442,891 465,377

Red yarsk 1,867,526 2,524,130 656,604 1,980,051 2,188,965 208,904

Blagove-shchensk 2,816,096 2,816,096 6,973,720 7,749,880 776,160

Tobolsk 669,434 764,377 94,943 1,566,233 2,264,133 697,900

Nikolsk-Ussuriysk 298,000 428,000 184,000 290,000 581,000 291,000

Khabarovsk 836,534 1,232,660 396,126 390,854 1,709,962 719,108

Omsk 1,876,752 1,936,766 60,013 2,617,942 4,089,942 1,471,999

The statistical information collected and generalized by authors of reform of collecting in favor of city self-managements in justification of the innovations offered by them in itself is of exclusive interest.

At first sight, any regularity in filling of city budgets of the Siberian cities is not found. Some cities (Chita, Barnaul, Krasnoyarsk, Nikolsk-Ussuriysk) in 1918 managed to reduce budget deficit in comparison with 1917. At the others the sharp growth of deficiency is observed. But if to try to track dependence of deficit of city budgets on location of the cities included in the table according to the map a certain regularity begins to be shown. All Far East region, because of impossibility to independently satisfy the needs for food, was characterized by growth of deficit of city budgets. The remoteness from transport arteries and the main sales market of products of the Siberian industry - China - also affected filling of city budgets. The cities of Western Siberia capable to carry out export-import transactions and by that to promote filling of city treasury customs fees and taxes fell into the best state.

The fund of the Ministry of Finance contains a large number of other sources allowing to study not only the policy of the Siberian authorities in the field of finance, but also to make the analysis of fiscal, excise and customs activity of the government.

Magazines of a meeting of managing directors of excise duties of territories of Siberia belong to sources of this row. In these

documents, in addition, collected data on distilleries, their financial and technical condition, the prices of alcohol, situations in the field of supply of the plants with bread and raw materials, etc. 16 were reflected

Such special attention of the Ministry of Finance to problems of the distilling industry is easily explainable. In the note signed by the Minister of Finance Mikhaylov on December 20, 1918 it was noted that ".dokhod from restrictive the law of sale of alcohol and wine from 1,023,585 rubles for August, 1918 about 20 932 04 9 rubles 50 kopeks rose. By December 1st of this year cash reserves of alcohol and wine and restoration of distillation will fully be provided by receipt in state revenues of the former budget item in the sum nearly 1 billion rubles". In the quoted document as the most influential lever of government impact on improvement of economy the state monopoly for "distillation", sale of alcohol and wine indirectly was designated. Estimated income from wine monopoly was comparable to profitability of all Siberian industry per se, and much more surpassed all tax and customs revenues in the budget.17

Managing directors of excise duties on the basis of the analysis of information collected on places came to a conclusion that free trade in wine had positive impact on the market that was shown, in particular, in replacement from the market of moonshine and increase in this regard in tax revenues in the budget. At the same time at a meeting the decision to keep the distributive nature of trade in alcoholic beverages "in view of uncertainty of a question of resumption of distillation on was made

plants". 18

Also A.V. Danilov's report which remained in fund of the Ministry of Finance "The provision of the distilling industry in the Yenisei province" is devoted to the same problem. As barriers which constrained production development the author called the prices of the final product fixed by the government allowing only 6 percent rate of return for the enterprise, moonshining and difficulties with deliveries to the plants of necessary raw materials. The author suggested the government to interpose immediately in the matter of supply of the enterprises and to provide them a most favored nation treatment. 19

At last, one more, extremely important for studying state of the economy of the period of Civil war and economic policy of the white governments of Siberia in 1918 - 1919, a source the schematic program of history of finance of Siberia of 1917 - 1919" is so-called ".

Authors of the program planned to state history of finance of the region, having laid it in three sections. It was supposed to begin this work with several monographs, "which in total would become introduction to a circle of statement of history of development of institutions of financial department in the territory of Siberia". Introduction had to represent an essay in which the historical course of events would be stated, since

Bolsheviks and finishing classes of Siberia in the long term with formation of the Russian government. Actually history of finance had to begin with statement of "that ruin in which the territory of Siberia after exile of the Soviet power came to be". It was also supposed to carry out the comparative analysis of all stages of restoration of a financial system of the region with creation of a large number of charts and schemes.

The second section was planned to be devoted to the history of creation of financial department. The third - and the last - emission and monetary policy of the government, history of gold reserves, tax and customs systems.20

The idea of creation of similar work embodied by efforts of professional economists could crown birth of really unique research on economy and finance of Siberia of the period of Civil war. At the same time in the text of the program the aspiration of authors to pay the main attention first of all to the history of the Ministry of Finance as institutions, than to attend to a task of the impartial analysis of a financial and economic situation in the country what it is told in a program preamble about is clearly traced. As a result the departmental anniversary edition which is not applying for the maximum coverage and a research of financial problems of Siberia could turn out. Anyway, but this work was not written though the program of its creation as a source on stories of economic policy of the white governments of Siberia is submitted very valuable.

Summing up the results of the source study analysis of some, most, in our opinion, interesting, documents and materials of the Ministry of Finance of the Omsk government of the admiral A.V. Kolchak as source on stories of economic policy of the anti-Bolshevist authorities of Siberia during Civil war, it is possible to draw the following conclusions.

First, the fund of the Ministry of Finance is made by materials of multidimensional character. In the Ministry of Finance a large number of documents of the most various origin, contents and appointment was flown down: from statistical researches of the consumer market of the region, to projects of economic development of Siberia and the country in general on the near and remote prospect.

Secondly, the special complexity is represented by a question of reliability and objectivity of the materials which are stored in fund. The Ministry of Finance was the department directly involved in distribution of cash flows, fiscal and protectionist policy. Therefore the information coming to this department from local institutions and various interested persons could not be objective. Especially such approval of fairly rather statistical information. So, in already being considered table of deficit of city budgets summarizing the data sent from various cities of Siberia, the city of Kurgan which local authorities probably in order to avoid possible is specified by the first line

troubles from "administration", sent data on absolute execution of the city budget and its absolute deficit-free.21 according to authors of the document, the city budget was deficit-free both in 1917, and in 1918 that is represented extremely improbable, considering the general economic situation in the region and the provision of budgets of other cities of Siberia.

Nevertheless documents and materials of the Ministry of Finance of the government of A.V. Kolchak are quite reliable source which contains though not full, but extremely important information on state of the economy of Siberia in 1918 - 1919 and economic policy of the white authorities.


1 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. F.197. Op.5. 46. L.8.
2 In the same place. L.9.
3 In the same place. L.4-5.
4 L.N. Dolgov. Economic policy of civil war: Experience of the Far East of Russia. Komsomolsk-on-Amur, 1996. Page 71.
5 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. F.197. Op.5. 46. L.14.
6 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. F.200. Op.1. 133. L.61.
7 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. F.198. Op.11. 20. L.117.
8 V.P. Anichkov Yekaterinburg - Vladivostok (1917 - 1922). M.,1998.
9 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. F.197. Op.5. 46. L.9.
10 In the same place. 36. L.1.34.
11 V.P. Anichkov Yekaterinburg -Vladivostok (1917 -1922). M, 1998.
12 Yakushev Ivan Aleksandrovich -the Social Revolutionary, after transition of the power to Tomsk

To council of working and soldier's deputies it was arrested and together with other members of the Siberian region duma it is put into the Krasnoyarsk prison. After arrival of parts of the Czechoslovak building it was released and was a part of the Siberian provisional government. With transition of the power in November, 1918 to the admiral A.V. Kolchak left to the Far East (Fonda of the Russian Foreign historical archive in Prague: Interarchival guide. M.,1999. Page 407).

13 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. F.5871. Op.1. 94. L.2.
14 GARF. F.197. Op.5. 44. L.9.10.
15 In the same place. L. bean.
16 In the same place. 37. L.5.
17 S.S. Ippolitov. Financial intervention to white Russia//New

historical bulletin. 2000. No. 1. Page 22.

18 HECTARE of the Russian Federation. F.197. Op.5. 37. L.5.
19 In the same place. L.15-16.
20 In the same place. 43. L.6-7.
21 In the same place. 44. L. bean.
Frank Marsh
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