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Ship-building programs of 1907-1912 and their role in economy of Russia

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V.V. Gorelov


The author investigates relationship and contradictions between the Sea ministry, the Ministry of Finance, the MFA and the Ministry of Defence in the period of ship-building programs. In work the changes happening in the Russian industry under the influence of shipbuilding programs are considered. The author pays special attention to the most important and significant aspects and a role of the foreign companies in the Russian ship-building industry.


of The relations among the Navy ministry, Ministry offinance, ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Military ministry are investigated as well as their impact on the shipbuilding programs. The research also deals with the changes in the Russian industry caused by the shipbuilding process. Attention is drawn to the most important and urgent aspects and to the role of foreign companies in the Russian navy industry.

Throughout all the history the domestic fleet repeatedly endured the periods of take-off and falling. In such continental country as Russia, the overland army was the main tool of defense and attack always, and remembered the fleet when the minimum needs of defense were met and there was desire to conduct more active foreign policy. The last was inevitably connected with need of demonstration of naval force for more or less remote waters. It is natural that in such conditions in society there could not be unambiguous views of a role and value of the fleet in the system of armed forces of the country.

During rather safe periods of our history the disputes on a role and the place of the fleet usually do not come out walls of the main ministries and departments. However in case of defeats or crises these discussions pass to pages of periodicals and often become in the center of public attention. Today the domestic navy is at a reforming stage again. New shipbuilding programs which have to bring the domestic Navy and the system of shipbuilding to the new level of development are developed. Only relying on historical experience and rich traditions of the Russian fleet, it is possible to define the prospects of further development of the Navies of our country.

After defeat in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 Russia was in the most severe economic crisis. Usuindustry, shipbuilding companies. a gublyala its and begun at the same time first Russian revolution. As soon as with "internal enemies" it was in general through, the government at once undertook reorganization of the armed forces.

Having considered lessons of war and using the last achievements of science and technology, ship builders created such warships of which they old did not come within miles. The foundation of a new era in shipbuilding was laid in Great Britain in 19061907 when the new type of the linear Dreadnought ship ("Fearless") was lowered from building berths. Since then all linear ships began to be divided into dreadnoughts and dodrednouta, and force of the fleet began to be measured only by the number of the first as the dreadnought could finish easily with several ships of old type.

Thus, Russia, in some way, was in more favorable situation, than other states of Europe. The efficient Russian fleet practically all was destroyed on the Pacific Ocean, and such situation when it was necessary to create the new system of shipbuilding was created.

For the Russian government of a problem to be or to be to the fleet existed. The state prestige and interests demanded in this respect definite answer. The question of construction of the fleet outgrew borders only of sea department. It closely contacted the general policy of the government, and it provided to great plans of the Sea ministry support as from outside the MFA of Russia, and from Nicholas II.

The sea General Staff developed and offered the tsar four sea programs various for the sizes and cost. Proceeding from the hardest economic situation, Nicholas II in July, 1907 approved one of versions of "The small ship-building program". According to it construction for the Baltic Fleet of four linear ships and three submarines was provided. On the Black Sea it was decided to put 14 destroyers and three submarines. Together with the completed vessels the total costs according to this program made 126.7 million rubles [11, page 38].

Despite this, construction of the ships began only in two years. Weak production equipment of the state plants of Sea department of warships for construction of new type was the main reason for it. For example, on re-equipment of one Obukhovski Plant construction of the ships according to the new ship-building program required 19 million 475 thousand rubles [7, l. 2].

By means of the English company John Brown which gave technical support the Petropavlovsk, Sevastopol, Gangut and Poltava dreadnoughts were put on July 30, 1909.

In 1910. The sea ministry achieved allocation of 150 million rubles on vessel construction according to the program of strengthening of the Black Sea Fleet. At the beginning of 1911 Nicholas II received from the Sea minister the draft of "The law on the imperial Russian fleet" for 22 years ahead.

For the first 5 years the special "Program of the strengthened shipbuilding" — generally for the Baltic Fleet was made. The total cost of expenses was determined at 512.6 million rubles. The emperor approved the majority of the submitted documents. In February, 1912. The council of ministers approved "The program of the strengthened shipbuilding of the Baltic Fleet".

After a while the Duma by a majority vote approved expenses on

construction of the Baltic Fleet. On June 23

1912 the program without changes was approved by the tsar and found law force.

All according to ship-building programs of 1907-1912 the state had to spend 698 million 600 thousand rubles. However in connection with the beginning of construction of the ships it became clear that most the state plants has no sufficient production capacities for construction of such vessels. From there were difficulties of financial character due to the need of production and installation of the new equipment and as a result — growth of monetary expenses from the budget for additional allocation for these sea programs began. For example, the cost of production of sea artillery and a mine part for the ships of the Black Sea Fleet was increased by 34 million rubles [6, page 148]. The sum of the shipbuilding program of 1907 grew by 2.1 million rubles. Full re-equipment of Izhora Plant cost 8 million 924 thousand rubles, Admiralty — 1 million 87 thousand rubles, and all this while the plants could not guarantee timely and high-quality delivery of the manufactured products yet [7, l. 2].

When came to light that the state plants threaten implementation of these shipbuilding programs, it was decided to resort to the help of the private companies and to transfer them a part of orders. Around these orders the mad rush began. The large private plants sought to monopolize a number of the branches of shipbuilding and to dictate to sea department the prices. After acquaintance with plans of shipbuilding the cost of construction of one armored cruiser was raised to 51 million rubles. It became clear that at the same price on foreign shipyards it was possible to construct twice more [10, page 237].

And it is valid, the cost of construction of the ships in Russia was the highest in comparison with the European states. So, for example, construction of one ton

displacement of the linear ship in Germany cost 846 rub, in the USA — 876, in Britain — 913 rub, in Italy — 1090, and in Russia — 1532 rub. One ton of the armored ship cost the German treasury 817 rub, British — in 943, and Russian — 1720 rub [6, page 145]. The same situation was also with other types of vessel.

The reasons of it should be looked for, including, and in monopolistic associations of producers of steel. As A.N. Krylov who at that time was the head of Sea technical committee and supervised issues of construction of the ships according to the ship-building program of 1907 writes in the memoirs, the representative of Prodamet syndicate said the following prices of steel for one pood: "steel ordinary — 3 rubles 25 to.; steel of the increased resistance — 4 rubles 75 to. — 5 rubles 10 to.; steel of high resistance — 7 rubles 50 to. — 7 rubles 75 to." [4, page 146]. At this time other plants which were not entering into this syndicate offered the prices much below, than Prodamet. For example, the Kulebaksky plants of the Nizhny Novgorod province promised to put "steel ordinary — 2 rubles 15 to. for pood; steel of the increased resistance — 3 rubles 50 to. and steel of high resistance — 4 rubles 25 to." [4, page 148]. However there was not enough power of such plants for delivery of the necessary amount of steel and other materials therefore the state was forced to agree to inflated prices of syndicates to protect itself from interruptions in supply.

Knowing about the situation, the Sea ministry nevertheless decided to place abroad orders only for two light cruisers "Ants Amursky" and "Nevelsky".

All other ships had to be under construction "in the territory of Russia, of the Russian materials and hands of the Russian workers" as the sea minister I.K. Grigorovich told at a meeting of the State Duma. However this good undertaking to support domestic manufacturer

it was difficult to execute. Because of underdeveloped industrial base the state was forced to order many components of the ships abroad.

Here is how I.K. Grigorovich describes the situation: "As I want that everything was constructed in Russia, but nevertheless there are a lot of objects, and even large, it is necessary to order abroad. We lagged in the technical industry far behind and if and we do something, then production costs so much that the firms which took the order for something integral, many objects order behind border, and our Ministry of Trade and the industries does not try to support our special plants at all" [2, page 60-61].

Thus, the domestic ship-building industry was forced to rely on experience and the help from Europe. For example, the whole group of the German engineers worked at the Putilovsky plant. And the plant and the shipyard formed on its basis actively cooperated with the German firms "Vulkan" and "Bl und Foss". The Revel shipbuilding plant cooperated with the French company "Normann", the Baltic shipbuilding plant used the help of the English firm John Brown and German — "Tur-binya" for creation of turbine production [9, page 56].

Only in one 1909 abroad it was ordered objects for the total amount over 5 million rubles. And various details and devices for vessels both under construction, and already constructed were ordered. And the list of objects strikes with the variety. For example, in Great Britain, star globes on 43 rubles 73 were ordered a little "to. apiece", "day and night optical pipes at Tseyss in Germany" for the sum of 9 thousand 310 rub [8]. Even "oil engines for kanonersky boats" for the sum of 106 thousand 845 rub were ordered in Stockholm though had no oil fields Sweden.

Practically all main details for submarines were ordered in France. Here, for example, the list of mechanisms for the Shark submarine which were purchased in France: "electropomp (2 pieces), electric fans (4 pieces), electrocompressors (2 pieces), electric motor and battery" [8, l. 91, about].

It is also important to note that the choice of foreign partners in many respects was based also on a foreign policy situation, and not just on the economic bases. So, for example, all participants of the meeting according to the ship-building program of 1907 the engineering design of the German firm "Bl und Foss" was recognized as the best of presented on a competition. However "the French imagined that the question goes not about technical assistance... to our plants, estimated in the sum about 2 million rubles, and about transfer of construction of all four linear ships to the German plant for the sum about 180 million rubles gold" [4, page 142]. Naturally, the French authorities, without penetrating to the smallest details into the main point, expressed about it discontent. Because France was one of the main creditors of tsarist Russia, the Russian authorities were forced to change the decision in favor of domestic Baltic Shipyard though its project on a competition was the second. Result such political and economic activity

was that the tsarist government paid to the German firm as compensation 250 thousand rubles. A result of this activity was undermining reputation of the Russian government in the opinion of the companies to which at first the order was issued, and then took away for political reasons back. Thus, issues of construction of the modern ships were transferred from the plane purely economic to the plane political.

Quite often abroad even special alloys from metals for the plants at which the ships as domestic metallurgical industry just could not make them were under construction were ordered. In particular, in 1909. The Obukhovsk and Izhora plants ".priobret abroad: for needs of Obukhovski Plant — nickel, ferromanganese and silikoshpi-gel for the sum of 323 thousand 700 rub and for needs of Izhora Plant — for the sum of 175 thousand 010 rub, and all — for the sum of 498 thousand 710 rub" [7, l. 311]. Also rotors of turbines, scapular material, various pumps, the measuring equipment for turbines and coppers belonged to objects which had to be ordered abroad. Very often orders for the similar equipment became abroad not because this equipment cannot be made in the country but because the Russian plants did not cope with the increased volume of orders or demanded additional reorganizations. As a result — production time of products increased and the speed of construction of the ship in general slowed down.

In general, the speed of construction was one of the weakest points of domestic shipbuilding. Terms of construction of the ships with the displacement of 15-20 thousand tons in England fluctuated from 24 to 30 months, in Germany on construction of the similar ship left from 36 to 42 months. In Russia "at the state plant the small kanonersky boat & #34; Гиляк" with the displacement of 858 t built 53 months, with subquality work accepted as a member of the fleet, and promised to eliminate their plant only in 1911, i.e. in seven years after the beginning of construction. Battleships & #34; Andrey Pervozvannyy" & #34; Emperor Pavel of I" & #34; St. Evstafiy" & #34; Ioann Zlatoust" from 75 to 86 months were under construction" [9, page 35]. Such situation developed because of regularly appearing "improvements" and "innovations" which were constantly applied to ships already under construction. All this delayed work flow. Braked construction and the continuous bureaucratic red tape connected with "coordination" and "statements" in

various departments and committees of Sea department. Here what was written about it by the chief of the Sea General Staff

A. A. Liven: "There is no industry of this activity in hands of one person. We have no chief builder of the fleet, and there is a Head Department of Shipbuilding, there are no chief technicians, and there is a Technical Committee, there is no quartermaster, and there is a Department of Preparation. Entirely anonymous authors, there is no surname. I perfectly know who built and who builds the English ships and who constructed our own, not to learn it in any way" [5, page 86].

Having spent the enormous sums of 700 million rubles for development of the fleet in shipbuilding programs of 1907-1912, the state expected also positive effect from these monetary injections. At the end of 1909 the strip of a long economic depression in Russia was replaced by industrial upsurge. As the Minister of Finance specifies in the memoirs

B. N. Kokovtsev, ". fine harvests of 1909 and 1910 affected in the best way receipt of income and gave the chance to considerably increase also the estimate of expenses" [3, page 392].

It promoted continuous increase in the budget of sea department. If in 1907 it equaled 87 million 711 thousand rubles, then to

1913 increased up to 244 million 847 thousand [1, page 229].

The specified circumstances created objective prerequisites for construction of the powerful modern fleet and revival of former power of Russia as great sea power. However history knows many cases when the favorable situation was missed, and financial opportunities are properly not used.

The shipbuilding gave a new impetus to development of mining, metallurgical, fuel industry. A large number of the electric generators created for the fleet, searchlights, lighting fixtures, accumulators, etc.

contributed to the development of the electrotechnical industry of Russia. Need to use diesel engines on submarines contributed to the development of domestic diesel engine manufacturing.

Thus, the shipbuilding to a degree affected all main branches of industrial production of Russia. However despite rapid growth of industrial production, development of science and technology, results of these shipbuilding programs it is impossible to recognize as satisfactory in their direct appointment.

Only at the end of 1914 on the Baltic Fleet four linear ships of the program of 1907 became operational. Further construction of the ships according to ship-building programs of 1911-1912 continued in the conditions of war with Germany that, certainly, affected production time. Technical and economic communications with the foreign firms assisting in construction of the fleet were broken. Especially sharply the deficiency of diesels for the submarines delivered by Germany began to be felt there were problems with supply of metal and other materials necessary for construction of the ships. Fuel crisis, disorganization of railway transport, an appeal of ship-building workers in army, massive strikes finally broke implementation of ship-building plans. As a result of it construction of linear cruisers was stopped. Of four battle ships for the Black Sea it was constructed three, from the planned 53 destroyers only 30 ships became operational, any light cruiser from eight planned was not handed over to the fleet, and two of them which were under construction in Germany were confiscated from the beginning of war.

One-sided development of the Navy and systematic insufficient funding of army which, eventually, suffered the main losses became a result of hobby for a marinizm, playing a crucial role during the war.

The begun World War I found, first of all, unpreparedness of army in the material relation, the shortage of tools, shells, machine guns, explosive and toxic agents. A lack of the linear ships neither on Baltic, nor on the Black Sea Fleet

nobody felt. Under trying conditions wars the Sea ministry began to pay for too expensive interest in construction of the linear ships. It was forced to carry out urgent programs for construction of landing vessels, submarines and the light ships.


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A.V. Goroby

The COMPLEX of the SOVIET SOURCES ON the STORIES of the RELATIONS of the USSR And Germany of 1985-1991

The author draws the attention of readers to insufficient readiness of istochnikovy base on stories of the Soviet and West German relations of the USSR and Germany of 1985-1991. In this regard he carries out the analysis of a complex of the Soviet sources: allocates main types, characterizes their informative opportunities, completeness and reliability. Special attention is paid to what spheres and questions Soviet

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