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Category: History

Economic policy of Russia during World War I

elena of BESPYaTOVA


Creation of a system of economic security was important aspect of economic policy of Russia during World War I. In this article on historical material the factors which caused need of strategy development of economic security, development and the organization of a system of the economic intelligence directed to protection of economic interests of the state are revealed.

In the last 10 — 15 years the problem of ensuring economic security (further EB) in the context of a problem of economic policy of Russia is noted by keen interest and attention. In special historical, economic literature and media this issue is recognized as topical and debatable. But as one of researchers of the marked perspective Sergey Afontsev told, "the main fights on fronts already died down". However in terms of conceptual understanding of EB as the component of economic policy and opportunities of application of this understanding for adoption of political decisions — unity of opinions is not reached. Some economists in general call into question scientific character of a concept economic security or as a last resort belonging of this concept to economic science.

It is enough to tell that even determination of EB has several approaches. For example, the 1st approach to determination of EB assumes "interests" (national, state, public); the 2nd

— assumes to define EB through "stability" of national economy, economic development, a social and economic system; the 3rd approach assumes to define EB through "independence" of economy and economic development.

Generally, economists argue, but nevertheless a certain working option of determination of economic security is also it very simple, namely — the concept "economic security" includes the system of the measures directed to protection of economic interests in this case to Russia. Protection is provided with different means and methods: collection of information, studying partners, competitors, identification of possible sources of external threats, etc. However according to most of experts, the major role in fight for safety and leadership in the field of economy is played by the intelligence agencies which are engaged in economic intelligence and economic counterintelligence. Problems of an economi-BESPyatOV chesky investigation are extraordinary wide: from identification of an otritsatelyelen ny economic trends before supply prospecting

Borisovna- information of the military-political country leaders for

to. and. N, the associate professor adoptions of tactical and strategic decisions (for example, in

departments of history In the 1990s 40% were allocated to the USA for economic intelligence

Moscow resources of all intelligence agencies of the USA).

state In this plan the problem of studying the istorichesuniversitet whom experience of Russia in ensuring economic security is interesting and relevant

instrument making means of economic intelligence. It would seem, the task is clear and

and the computer science does not need comments. However the majority sovremen (MGUPI) ny authors is claimed that only modern system

crisis of the Russian economy put development of the concept of economic security on the agenda, including economic intelligence. It is represented to us that development of the concept of economic security, let in the imperichesky way, began not today and not in Soviet period, and at the beginning of the 20th century. And the motivation of its development consisted not in economic reforms (for example S.Yu. Witte), and in threat of natsionalnogosudarstvenny safety, real in days of World War I.

From told already clear that it will be a question of World War I, that is of the period when the threat of national security brought to life development and the organization of a system of economic intelligence as means of achievement of economic and national security.

The period of World War I was heartrending experience for the Russian economy: decline in production, destabilization of the financial market, sharp decrease in the standard of living of overwhelming number of the population — all this posed a real threat of national security and to national sovereignty. Overdue definition by the military-political country leaders — the General Staff and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the main strategic opponent acting through Germany was one of the reasons of prolonged war. Orientation of the General Staff of Russia to the short-term nature of the forthcoming war was other not less important cause. These circumstances did not allow the Russian intelligence to get in due time the maximum and full data on the economic and military capacity of Germany and its allies. During static war, considerable military, the food and raw material resources which are saved up during the pre-war period were spent. Thus, the economic component became the most important part of new military strategy.

Today is obvious that among the paramount actions designed to provide the strong back and sustainable economic development the task of the organization of economic intelligence including was the major: a) collection of information about the directions of economic development of the foreign states — military opponents; b) collection of information about energy and raw material resources; c) collection of information about a condition of industries of dual-use; d) financial analysis and financial systems of the states of military opponents; e) suppression of attempts of the foreign intelligence agencies and organizations directed to blasting the Russian economy.

In a broad sense the economic intelligence is directed to protection of national economy and ensuring national security. However understanding of importance of information on an economic situation of the countries which were at war with the Entente for strategic planning became obvious to the military-political country leaders not at once. Based on the researches devoted to the history of military intelligence of the period of World War I it is possible to state with confidence — by August, 1914 the Russian military intelligence could not give vital information on the main military opponents. The mobilization plan of investigation developed in pre-war time did not answer conditions of fighting large-scale actions, that is neither character, nor content of big war. Fully it belongs also to information on an economic situation of the alleged opponent. In the "Report on Head department of the General Staff" of June 1, 1917 prepared by prospecting office-work of department of the general quartermaster (Ogenkvar) it was noted: "... forces and means of the opponent before war were not correctly considered that led to absolutely wrong conclusions concerning war duration." 1 "Give, for God's sake — the general quartermaster of the Southwest front M. Pustovoytenko in the first days of war wrote to the headquarters of the Northwest front,

— everything that you are not sorry for, about armed forces of Germany, At us is not present line! We as without hands..." 2

The Charters of field service and the Front cavalry charter approved in 1912 existing in the Russian army

1 M. Alekseev. Military intelligence of Russia. World War I. Book III, Part 2. M, 2001, p. 25 — 26
2 In the same place, p. 167

contained already outdated guidelines for the organization of investigation. According to these documents as the main were considered: artillery reconnaissance, engineer reconnaissance, foreign secret-service investigation, air reconnaissance, radioprospecting, patrol and "prospecting" services of forces of the fleet. Thus, the problem of "opening of intentions of the opponent" did not include the economic intelligence designed to provide receipt of information on a financial and economic situation of the main military opponents. The problem of definition of possible threats to security to economic objects from intelligence agencies of military opponents was for the first time formulated in 1911 in the Provision on counterprospecting offices and the Instruction to chiefs of the counterprospecting offices signed by the Minister of War V.A. Sukhomlinov.

The instruction defined the regulatory and operational base of counterintelligence. Treating peace time, it contained a list of the data which are of interest to military intelligence of the foreign states in Russia. Among data data on the economic objects having military value (roads, bridges, railway constructions, fuel warehouses, phone and cable lines) were mentioned. However despite the begun development of measures for safety of economic objects, in real practice "the counterprospecting office did not give during war of the material which is a little stopping attention". Such sad conclusion was drawn in 1916 by the major general Dukhonin in the Conclusion about activity of counterprospecting office by results of check of office-work and an order of service in one of the counterprospecting offices located in the area fronta1.

Deplorable results of the first experience of activity of the Russian counterintelligence were a consequence of a number of the reasons of an organizational, personnel and financial order. Such as absence

1 From the history of creation of counterintelligence in pre-revolutionary Russia. S.N. Galvazin. Security structures of the Russian Empire. Formation of the device, analysis of expeditious practice. M, 2001, p. 39 — 78

of understanding of exclusiveness of obligations of counterprospecting office and encumbrance by its police duties or an acute shortage of the prepared shots, agents, informers.

Summer of 1917 in the report of prospecting office-work addressed to the chief of the General Staff the problem of expediency of collecting data on an economic situation of the states which are at war with Russia was for the first time formulated. Interest in information on an economic and financial position of opponents was in many respects connected with activity of Interallied bureau.

Due to the planned joint simultaneous approach of armies, allied on the Entente, in the spring of 1916 and at the initiative of France and England in December, 1915 in Paris it was founded and the Interallied bureau is organizationally registered (further SME). The main objective of SME were association and coordination of prospecting and counterprospecting efforts of allies against the military block of opponents. From six missions (offices) of authorized investigations (French, English, Italian, Russian, Belgian, Serbian) (5 employees) and English (4 employees) missions were the most representative French, and the English mission had even the specialist in economic problems.

Despite the military nature of prospecting data, their important component information of especially economic character represented: an economic situation of Germany, military opportunities of its industry, a condition of the German steel works, production of weapon and shells in Germany, the German decrees about the tea, cocoa exporting supply of Germany, data on the Danish firms for Germany data of the German export from Holland, etc. 2 Being the center of association and coordination of prospecting and counterprospecting efforts of allies, the SME was the first international experience of collecting and processing of prospecting information by experts of various areas, especially it is necessary to allocate activity of the highest

2 M. Alekseev. Decree. soch., p. 310 — 311

military authorities of France on practical use of data of SME and creation of the Fifth bureau of the General Staff in which the important place was taken by the section knowing questions of economic character.

As the problem of this research does not include lighting and the analysis of activity of SME, will stop on the relation of the top military-political management of Russia to the block of information having economic and financial character. The management of the General Staff of Russia from the very beginning watchfully treated participation in activity of SME. So, in structure of the Russian mission only one officer — the military agent at Embassy of Russia in France colonel D.I. Oznobishin originally was authorized. The proposal of Oznobishin and the military agent in France A.A. Ignatyev on inclusion in structure of the Russian mission of the expert expert in economic and financial problems was shelved. The lack of need in the integrated explored allies as, according to Head department of the General Staff (further GUGS), "the data arriving from there concern mainly information work of the press, data on counterintelligence of more or less doubtful origin and economic problems" was the main motive of refusal. The given excerpt from the reference of the chief of the General Staff P. Averyanov clearly demonstrates the relation of the strategic center to data of economic intelligence that in turn is a certain proof of political short-sightedness of the top military authorities of the country. (Further opposition of the Rate and GUGS concerning strategic character did not allow to derive full-fledged benefit from activities of SME for data collection of military-economic character.)

Only after a question of the organization of activity the Russian of a mission in SME at the initiative of the chief of staff at the Rate Supreme Commander general M. Alekseev and at the request of the Minister of War was engaged in M. Pustovoytenko, in August, 1916 GUGS promised to send to Paris the councilor of state A. Shebunin as the specialist in economic problems. However in October, 1916 the Russian mission of SME placed under authority of the Rate of VGK did not receive the specialist in econo-micheskimvoprosa. Shtatrusskoymissiya consisted of five people and included the following rates: chief of office (general-staff officer), assistant to the chief of office (staff officer), two translators and one clerk. To the position of the chief of the Russian mission (Russian office of SME) M. Alekseev appointed P.A. Ignatyev, the brother of the colonel A.A. Ignatyev. By the beginning of 1917 P.A. Ignatyev managed to recruit staff of the Russian office of SME necessary number of employees.

The manager of economic department made reports on economic problems for the headquarters of VGK and kept in contact with Select committee on restriction of supply and trade of the enemy (OKOCTH).

Exchange of intelligence information between allies took place on the basis of reciprocity.

However because of departmental bureaucracy and other reasons Ignatyev could not transfer in due time our prospecting data in exchange for the data obtained from allies. These difficulties affected in particular work of economic department which could not give anything to allies in exchange for the data received from them. The Select committee on restriction of supply and trade of the enemy was guilty in it. Since the end of 1916 the economic department regularly — two-three times a month sent to message OKOCTH, made on the basis of documentary materials. In return the chief of office asked the Chairman of the Committee regularly "to report about measures for economic war with Germany, that is about the actions of the Russian government undertaken for economic constraint of the enemy about measures against illicit trade with it".

However from OKOSTNA in response to Ignatyev and Shebunin's numerous inquiries only one letter in which it was specified what data should be sent and what are not necessary arrived. Neither intervention of the Rate, nor Department of the general quartermaster of GUGS changed situation.

This page of history of World War I is not studied yet and future researchers should make it.

What economic data arrived from the Russian department of Interallied bureau (SME)? It:

— data on an equipment of the German and Austro-Hungarian armies,

— data on a state and opportunities of the German industry,

— data on a situation with finance in Germany,

— data on an economic situation of Austria-Hungary and Turkey, etc.

In general the data received from the Russian office were, undoubtedly, help for the headquarters of VGK and the General Staff in studying the opponent.

In September, 1917. The rate and GUGS interested in information of SME in the special telegram formulated tasks of getting of prospecting data. From other tasks the separate position distinguished tasks of economic intelligence: "It is desirable to continue inspection of economic, financial and political situation in the states of our enemies with total energy, in every possible way using for this purpose Bureau Interallie archives and reporting the data obtained in such way to OGENKVAR (department of the general quartermaster of GUGS) and the Rate." In general data of economic character made about 5% of total number explored, arriving from the Russian department of Interallied bureau.

Among many plots of World War I which are not studied so far obscure still are actions and actions of the Provisional government which created the special Commission for check of intelligence activities of the Russian department at SME. According to the candidate of historical sciences Andrey Ganin, the interest of Provisional government in activity of the Russian counterintelligence in France is connected with numerous financial frauds in which suspected the military agent of Russia in France of A.A. Ignatyev and his younger brother P.A. Ignatyev heading the Russian counterintelligence in France.

Strikes difference in conclusions and recommendations of the commission and the conclusion of the Rate. The rate recognized work of bureau as satisfactory and necessary. The commission — unsatisfactory, useless and even harmful. What was behind such opposition — too it is necessary to find out.

In general the condition of all Armed forces and the fleet by October, 1917 was absolutely depressing. Report of the commander of the 12th army: "The army is huge, tired, badly dressed, hardly the prokarmlivayemy, embittered crowd of people united by thirst of the world and general disappointment".

Of course, in such situation prospecting information neither anticipatory, nor opening plans of the opponent, was simply not necessary, but other conclusion is important for us:

1. It were the first steps on the organization of economic intelligence in close connection with ensuring national-state safety.
2. These steps are the system of political, diplomatic and military measures.
3. A situation with development of the concept of economic security including means of economic intelligence, again confirms "bad" Russian tradition of overdue awareness of need of preventive measures when the critical situation connected with external danger reaches the highest point.

And it both scientific, and practical interest as public policy before danger from the outside represents.

James Morris
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