finance such high rates of economic growth? This period of rapid economic growth and fast-developed and related financial changes are much less studied and documented, perhaps because it occurred very recently and had been somewhat unexpected. One of the most informative studies is a recent report by the
The international regimes that seek to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable landscapes management, and the detailed rules which govern international finance and investment, were not crafted as opposing poles. In the context of poverty eradication and
Islamic finance and banking has been developing steadily since the early 1970s. This growth has been concentrated in the Arab states and in Muslim southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia. Global financial centers like London proved exceptional to this rule and serve as
Banking and Finance in Russia The Financial Credit Institutions of Russia from the 1860s to the 1920s
This microfiche collection is based on an exhibition about the history of the financial and credit system in Russia, prepared by the State Historical Public Library in Moscow. It presents publications with unique data concerning the formation and functioning of the financial system in Imperial Russia before the revolution in 1917. It also covers the period of the “New Economic Policy” (NEP) in the 1920's. The exhibition brought to light dozens of rare books, unknown even to specialists. However, interest in the history of banking and finance in Russia is by no means restricted to scholars. The “banking boom” which is currently taking place is reviving interest, within state circles and the business world, in the lessons of the past.
Before the abolition of serfdom in 1861, only state banks existed within Imperial Russia. Their role was to provide services to the state treasury and to landlords. The reforms of the 1860's transformed Russia's economic, administrative, legal and military systems. One result of the modernization of Russian society during the second part of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth century was the formation of a modern financial system. In 1860, the State Bank of Russia came into existence. The ensuing decades saw the development of a ramified credit and banking system consisting of state and private banks, joint-stock companies, as well as municipal and corporate credit institutions.
The State Bank became the core of the new financial and credit system, carrying out both commercial and emissive operations. By 1914, it had a total of 136 departments. Falling under the direct control of the Minister of Finance, it financed many branches of the Russian economy (e.g. the grain trade). Following the S.Iu. Vitte monetary reform of 1895-1897, the State Bank's role expanded still further. At that time, paper money could be easily exchanged for gold coins, making the rouble one of the hardest currencies in the world.
The first private banks appeared between 1860 and 1870, and by the turn of the century there were more than 50 banks with 778 departments. These banks were the principal sources of credit for trade and industry. Mutual credit societies mainly dealt with small and medium-sized enterprises. By the year 1914, there were more than 1,000 such societies, with more than 600,000 members. In 1909, the Central Bank of Societies of Mutual Credit was set up.
Stolypin's reform provided the stimulus for the development of credit cooperatives in Russia. By the outbreak of the First World War, more than 8 million heads of households were united in credit and loan associations. The central organ of the credit cooperatives was the Moscow People's Bank, founded in 1912. Assurance companies and hypothecary (land) banks also played an important role in the Russian financial system of the time.
The financial and credit system of Imperial Russia was completely destroyed in 1917, during the period of the revolution and civil war. It was partially restored in the period of the “New Economic Policy” (NEP) in the 1920's. The State Bank was reconstituted in 1921 and a successful monetary reform was carried out from 1922 to 1924. After a period of enormous inflation, monetary circulation was stabilized. Other state and cooperative banks were founded. During this period, however, the position of private capital was very weak and most of the credit system was controlled by the state. The state also controlled the relations between banks and their clients. The market principles of the financial system were finally undermined by the credit reform of 1930-1932. Banks and other financial and credit institutions lost their power to regulate market relations and became organs of directed planning. The credit system of Imperial Russia/NEP Russia, with its state and private institutions, was replaced by a complete state monopoly.
Only during “perestroika” were private initiatives once again permitted within the world of banking and finance. Contemporary economic reforms in Russia have also stimulated the emergence of numerous banks and financial organizations. As a result, we are witnessing a real 'banking boom' in Russia today.
Dr Yurii A. Petrov, Institute of Russian History, Moscow