Rosa Luxemburg
The Industrial Development of Poland

Part 2:
Russia’s Economic Policy in Poland

2.3 The Economic Ties
Between Poland and Russia

After the foregoing, it is clear that – were only free competition to be decisive in the battle between Polish and Russian industry – the future of the former would be assured, at least to the degree that the capitalist development of the Russian Empire is granted a shorter or longer term by the general fate of the world economy.

However, we have already mentioned the other important factor that is of the greatest significance for the future of Polish capitalism: we mean the economic policy of the Russian government. It is all the more necessary to throw some light on precisely this factor, since the question (as is well known) stirred up so much dust a few years ago and one even comes across the notion that since the middle of the 1880s a real “era of persecution” has dawned for Polish industry.

Actually there are grounds enough to regard all assertions of this sort a priori as baseless. The best and last touchstone for all relevant government economic measures – the growth of industry in Poland up to the present moment, and still at the same impetuous tempo – sufficiently proves (it should seem) that all the uproar about Polish industry’s approaching end was wrong. This growth is shown in the following striking table:

1871 1885 1886 1887
*Output of total industry   44.4 134.8 137.8 164.5
(branches not levied with excise)
*Total output of textile industry   18.1   66.7   81.4   88.9
**Raw iron     1.4     2.5     2.8     3.7
**Iron     0.9     4.2     4.6     3.8
**Steel     2.4     3.1     3.0
**Coal   12.6 109.3 120.0 121.1

1888 1889 1890 1891
*Output of total industry 162.3 168.3 174.2 188.3
(branches not levied with excise)
*Total output of textile industry   89.9   96.6   88.4 100.8
**Raw iron     4.8     5.4     7.4     7.5
**Iron     3.2     4.0     4.1     4.4
**Steel     3.1     2.4     3.4     3.0
**Coal 147.3 151.1 150.8 158.8

1892 1893 1894 1895
*Output of total industry 228.3
(branches not levied with excise)
*Total output of textile industry 113.4
**Raw iron     9.0     9.9   10.7   11.3
**Iron     3.7     3.5     3.8     3.6
**Steel     4.0     5.4     6.2     7.9
**Coal 176.0 192.1 202.4 221.8

* in millions of rubles
** in millions of poods

As can be seen from the above table, the growth in the seven-year period 1885-92 amounted to: 69 per cent in industry as a whole, 70 per cent in the textile industry (specifically, 40 per cent in cotton spinning and weaving, 77 per cent in the wool and cloth industry, 101 per cent in all other branches); in mining over the ten-year period 1885-95: 352 per cent for raw iron, 229 per cent for steel, 103 per cent for coal; only in the production of iron do we see a decline, of 14 per cent, as in recent times a vigorous development of steel production at the expense of iron production becomes observable in Poland and the South Russian district. Still more interesting than the growth during the latest period (1885-95) is the comparison of this decade with the previous period (1871-85), which is held to be the time of Poland’s greatest economic prosperity. The increase, in absolute numbers, amounted to:

Branches not levied with excise   Textile
  Iron Steel Coal
(in millions of rubles) (in millions of poods)
In the 14-year period 1871-1885 90.4 48.6 1.1 5.7   96.7
In the 7-year period 1885-1892 93.5 46.7
In the 10-year period 1885-1895 8.8 4.9 112.5

Thus, in view of the above figures, not only does speculation about the incipient decline of Polish industry rest on complete ignorance of the facts, but it is clear, on the contrary, that industry has grown more in the last seven- to ten-year period than in the preceding 14-year period. This becomes most clear when we calculate the growth in both periods by year. The average yearly growth in the later period was greater than in the preceding one, specifically: 107 per cent in industry as a whole, 90 per cent in the textile industry, 20 per cent in the production of iron and steel, of coal 63 per cent, of raw iron 1,020 per cent.

On the other hand, at the end of the first part of our work we also cited Polish industry’s latest conquests in Russian and Asian markets into the 1890s. The body of Polish capitalism thus seems to exhibit not one symptom that would justify the claim that it is pining away from some internal malady; on the contrary, the much cried-over invalid grows and blooms “as splendidly as on the first day.” But because the question was once raised and for years agitated public opinion in Poland, and also because it is interesting and important enough in itself, it seems appropriate to go into this question more fully and, through a thorough examination of the subject, to derive an explanation of what the situation is and can be with regard to the economic policy of the Russian government in general and toward Poland specifically.

It is characteristic of all the mentioned and quoted statements about the anti-Polish course that they are based exclusively on particular measures and decrees, sometimes in the sphere of customs policy, sometimes that of the railway fare system. But it is obvious that no real understanding of government policy can be reached by this road. For first of all, what is being referred to in the case at hand is a most extremely variable quantity: a tariff imposed today, a railway fare introduced to-day, will be lifted tomorrow. This is, in fact, what happened, for example with the differential tariff on raw cotton, which amounted to 15 kopeks in gold more on the Polish border than at the rest of Russia’s borders. When it was introduced in 1887, a wail of lamentation went up among the Polish cotton-factory owners, and it was said that Polish industry had received its death blow. The differential tariff also played the leading role as proof that the “era of persecution” had begun, and it was denounced at every opportunity. But then this tariff difference was once again lifted in the year 1894, on the grounds of the Russian-German trade agreement, making way for a single tariff on cotton at all Russian borders. The same was the case with the differential tariff on coal and coke at the western border, which was frequently represented as a measure aimed directly against the Polish iron industry. But in 1894 this tariff was likewise reduced by half. In the same way, railway fares were changed in part every year, indeed sometimes even more frequently. Thus the actual tariffs and fares by themselves do not provide a firm foothold from which to get an insight into Russia’s economic policy.

To attain a thorough understanding of this policy, it is necessary to disregard particular measures for the present, to look deeper into the economic relations of Poland and Russia on the one hand and their political interests on the other, and to seek to derive from this the economic policy of the latter. Only by following the guideline thus obtained will it be possible to trace the particular measures of this policy back to their real significance.

First of all, then, what is the nature of the economic ties between Poland and Russia? If one were to form an opinion under the immediate impression of the Lodz-Moscow entrepreneurs’ battle, one would be inclined to assume that the Polish and Russian bourgeoisies form two completely separate camps, whose interests run directly counter to one another at every point and who both battle against each other using all available means. Such a notion would nonetheless be utterly wrong.

What precludes such a sharp difference in interests from the outset is the thoroughgoing division of labor that exists between the industries of these two countries. As we have seen, Poland is for Russia a source of supply for wool yarn, machines, coal, etc., etc., while Russia furnishes Poland with raw wool, raw iron, coke, and cotton.

Such a relationship already presupposes that the interests of some Polish manufacturers cohere with the interests of Russian raw materials producers, and that the interests of some Russian manufacturers cohere with those of Polish producers of half-finished goods. This is confirmed by abundant data. The producers of South Russian wool, the planters of central Asian cotton, exercise pressure on the railway fare system in their own interest to keep transport of their raw product to the Polish manufacturers as cheap as possible. Russian wool-weavers likewise seek to encourage the transport of Polish yarn to Russia as much as possible, etc., etc.

Furthermore, from the fact that the battle between the manufacturers and the producers of raw materials and half-finished goods is fought out in the sphere of the common tariff policy of the two countries, it follows that the battling parties from Poland would often unite with those from Russia in order to march hand-in-hand with the national enemy against their own brothers. The history of Russian-Polish industry provides examples in quantity. In the year 1850, for example, the Russian government, under the pressure of joint petitions by Polish and Russian wool-weavers, reduced the tariff rate on wool yarn. But hardly had this happened when Polish and Russian spinners, in touching accord, besieged the government to again push up the tariff rate on yarn, which happened in 1867. Beginning in 1882 the government was solicited by the machine producers to increase the tariff on foreign machinery. “In this connection the initiative was that of the Riga manufacturers, who were followed by the others in Warsaw, Kiev, Kharkov, and Odessa with great unanimity.” However, when the government had obeyed this wish and increased the tariffs on machinery, a storm of petitions arose from the property owners, again from all over the Empire without differentiation, against the increased price of agricultural machinery.

Just these two examples give us a quite different picture of the relationship between the Polish and Russian bourgeoisies, in their collective just as in their competitive endeavors. Neither of the two national capitalist classes appears from the inside as a closed phalanx, but on the contrary is fissured, torn by conflicts of interest, split by rivalries. Yet, on the other hand, their different groups, unmindful of the national quarrel, reach out their hands to one another in order to deal their own countrymen an opportune blow to the wallet in the glorious prize-fight for profits. Thus it is not national but capitalist parties that are found opposed on the industrial chessboard, not Poles and Russians, but spinners and weavers, machine producers and landowners, and on the flags waving over the combatants one sees not the one-and two-headed eagles, but only the international emblem of capitalism. Finally, the government unexpectedly appears in the strange role of an indulgent mother, who impartially hugs all her profit-making children to her broad bosom, even though they are constantly squabbling with each other, and seeks to appease now the one, now the other, at the expense of the consumers.

The above phenomena recur countless times in the history of Polish and Russian industry, and are of such decisive importance for the question under consideration here that it is well worthwhile to give a few more typical cases as examples. It is, for example, most highly instructive to observe how the two main opponents – the entrepreneurs of the Lodz and Moscow districts, whom one would be inclined to accept as representatives of the interests of, respectively, the Polish and Russian bourgeoisies as a whole – try at every opportunity to trip up the other industrial districts of their own countries. Thus the Lodz cotton manufacturers, in their above-mentioned polemic, seek to turn the jealousy of the Moscow manufacturers away from themselves and toward the old Polish wool industry district of Bialystock. “If one can speak of a competition, then far more dangerous to Moscow is Bialystock and its district,” they assure their adversaries. Meanwhile, these same Lodz entrepreneurs most humbly and obediently denounce their blood-brothers of the Sosnowiec district to the Russian government, pointing to the fact that in the latter a full third of the workforce are German subjects, while in the Lodz district – thank God – only 8 per cent.

No less brotherly sentiment is displayed by the Moscow capitalists when they come to speak of the affairs of their comrades in the other Russian industrial districts. So we hear them bewail the result of a plan for the regulation of waterways worked out by the Ministry of Transport: “The small expenditures, just like those of many millions, are allotted exclusively for Russia’s western and southern zone. The whole central region of Russia has been almost entirely forgotten. This region, this neglected center of Russia, key Russian gubernias, is relatively poor in waterways,” and so forth in the same weepy tone. Here the jealousy of the Moscow capitalists gushes forth with impartiality and true internationalism against all other industrial districts in the Empire without distinction, against Poland and the Volga region, against the Baltic Sea provinces and the Dnieper district.

The following example shows how elastic the notion of national solidarity and the “Fatherland” can be for the Polish capitalists under certain circumstances. In the year 1887 the large Warsaw steel factory was relocated to the Yekaterinoslav Gubernia in South Russia, to be nearer to sources of supply of raw iron and coke. Two years later, its owners – Polish capitalists – together with the English, Belgians, Russians, etc., who hold the South Russian iron district under their dominion, sent a most humble and obedient petition to the government in which they complain about the advantages of the Polish iron industry and the competition from that quarter and beg for an increased railway fare rate on Polish iron for the protection of the “Fatherland’s” – i.e., this time South Russia’s – industry.

Last, a classic example of this situation was provided in recent years by the question of the railway fare rates for grain. In 1889 new, strongly differential rates were introduced for grain as part of the general regulation of the Empire’s fare system, to facilitate exports from the gubernias lying deep in inner Russia to other countries. However, the result was that masses of grain and flour from the inner city regions, particularly the Volga district, were sent to the regions lying near the border, thus bringing on a rapid fall in the price of grain in the southern provinces on the Black Sea, in the Baltic provinces, and finally in Poland. Injured in their most virtuous sentiments, the landowners in all these parts of the Empire cried bloody murder, most of all the Polish landowners who in the beginning tried to take this opportunity to again step forward in the name of all Poland, oppressed by cheap bread. Yet hardly was their national defense crowned by success and the execrated fare partially annulled in the beginning of 1894, when a group of Polish entrepreneurs and merchants entreated the Railway Department in St. Petersburg, by telegram, to maintain the earlier fare rate in order, as they put it, not to make bread more costly for the people. The picture thus shifted from moment to moment, and from a fight between two national parties the grain tariff question turned into a dispute between the landed proprietors and the industrialists in Poland. Here the latter marched together with the Russian landowners of the central gubernias, while the Polish landowners took the field jointly with the Russian landowners of all the border districts.

This motley grouping of interests was particularly evident in the deliberations on grain tariffs in St. Petersburg in October 1896. On the one side stood the representatives of the Volga district, whose case, as we have seen, was at the same time that of the Polish industrialists; on the other side, the landed proprietors of Livland, Vitebsk, Odessa, the Polish landowners, and also, what is most interesting, the landowners of the Moscow district. Here Poles and Muscovites appeared on the best of terms, and the Polish landowners and millers declared themselves in full agreement with the program of Prince Shcherbatov, the chairman of the Moscow Agricultural Society. Almost as if to underline the conflict of interests between industry and agriculture in Poland itself, on the other hand, Chairman Maximov of the Polish representatives (among others) objected: If Poland were permitted to sell its factory products in inner Russia unhindered, then it would be highly inconsistent to forbid access to Poland to agricultural products from inner Russia.

May it appear as proven after the above examples, which we do not want to pile too high, that the interests of the Polish and Russian entrepreneur groups absolutely do not contradict each other on all points – that, much more, they continually mesh together. But also, on the whole, Polish industry is tied up with several important sections of the Russian bourgeoisie by a solidarity of interests, above all with the two most important factors of economic life: the institutions of transport and credit and trade. It is obvious that the development of Polish industry and, together with this, of the Polish market in Russia is directly in the interests of the Russian credit, factoring, and railway corporations. To again pull out only two from the abundance of striking examples: the administration of the Russian railway line Rjasan-Ural turned to the Warsaw entrepreneurs in the fall of 1894 with the offer to hand over space in all its stations, free of charge, so that the Polish factory owners could have permanent displays of goods there to encourage Poland’s market in the Volga region. Thus, while the Moscow factory owners wanted to do battle with their Polish competitors over every market in Russia, the Russian railway corporations invited this same Polish competition to forge ahead with its goods as deeply as possible into inner Russia.

Another characteristic case took place recently as a result of the new tariff on cotton. So long as the above-mentioned difference in customs rates was maintained on the western border, the Lodz factory owners, in order to get around the troublesome tariff, got their cotton via Libau and Odessa, i.e., by means of Russian railroads. When the customs difference was annulled in 1894, cotton transport returned to the old land routes: Bremen-Alexandrovo and Triest-Granica, thus to German and Austrian railways. Now the latter used this opportunity to set very low freight rates for cotton and so to monopolize this transport for themselves at the expense of the Odessa-Lodz line. The loss of transport, however, hit the Russian railways hard, and so the St. Petersburg railway department has recently turned to the Lodz factory owners with the question of how much to decrease the freight rates on the Russian lines so that cotton transport would once more go via Odessa. The Lodz factory owners dictated a rate decrease of 30 per cent. Likewise the Russian banks, in their own interest, are promoting Polish sales in Russia whenever possible. Once again national borders clash with capitalist interests, and what the national banner should keep asunder is intimately bound together by capitalist interest.

Finally, there is also another area in which the most touching harmony of interests rules between the whole Polish and the whole Russian bourgeoisie, where they are of one heart and soul: the jealous guarding of the profits sought in the domestic market from foreign competition. One can encounter in one section of the Western European press the view that the Polish entrepreneurs are greater believers in free trade than the Russian. Nothing could be more mistaken. In the deep conviction that Russian and Polish workers were created solely to produce surplus value for them, Polish and Russian consumers to assist the realization of surplus value, the Russian government to fend off any invasion of foreign competition into this holy Empire – in this conviction the Polish entrepreneurs are just as firm and unshakable as the Russians. When it comes to taking a stand in defense of these “fundamental rights” of the capitalist constitution vis-a-vis the government, then the Lodz and Moscow factory owners, still bearing the bruises they just inflicted on each other, go shoulder to shoulder into battle. In 1888, one year after the two adversaries – as was mentioned – had sent a petition to the government in which they most sharply fought each other on the question of domestic competition, the Moscow entrepreneurs submitted a series of “most humble and obedient” petitions in regard to tariff policy: on increasing the entry tariffs for products of the textile industry, on reimbursing tariffs paid on raw materials when exported by manufacturers to foreign countries, etc. – all demands that had also frequently been made now as well as previously by the Lodz manufacturers. With reason, then, the organ of the large Polish industrialists, in discussing this action by the Moscow entrepreneurs, wrote that while much used to be said about the conflict of interests between the two industrial districts, now this petition shows that there is also a community of interests between the two, and indeed on the most important questions.

The same harmony is evident when it comes to defending the monopoly in profits against the “Germans.” The Moscow factory owners – as was shown – saw in the strong representation of German elements in the Polish bourgeoisie a tempting pretext to lend their calico and fustian interests a becomingly patriotic look in the battle against Lodz. When they called the government to a crusade against the Germans on the Vistula river, they believed that they were striking the Polish bourgeoisie right in the heart. When, however, the government issued its well- known ukase in 1887, and when, because of this ukase, there was talk on many sides of an era of persecution against the Polish bourgeoisie, then it turned out that the Polish bourgeoisie expressed their dissatisfaction on quite unexpected grounds: namely, for them the Russian government’s anti-German measures were not nearly energetic and radical enough. For, as they expressed it, “The government’s decree of two years ago concerning language examinations for foreigners brought about an advantageous change, in that it opened up a sphere of action for native forces...Correspondents from Lodz and inhabitants there have already reported a certain improvement in this situation although it is still far from what it could and should be.”

We have reviewed the many-sided coherence of interests between the Polish and Russian bourgeoisies. The picture that emerges is absolutely different from that which might be gotten under the immediate impression of Lodz and Moscow’s battle cries. On countless, extremely important questions, the Polish and the Russian bourgeoisies are bound together in a solidarity of interests, in particular groups as much as on the whole. What has created this community of interests is, first, the division of labor in production, which in many ways unified the two into a single productive mechanism; second, still more important, the common tariff borders, which breed solidarity against the outside and merge the entire Polish-Russian bourgeosie – from from the standpoint of the market – into a “national” capitalist class. Finally, the common market, which bred the important, reciprocal dependency between Polish production on the one side and Russian transport on the other. And, as is generally known, this fusion of Russian and Polish economic interests advances every day. This is also, in part, a direct result of the general direction of current Russian tariff policy, which in effect closes the way into Russia to not only foreign manufactured goods but also foreign raw materials, and creates domestic raw materials production – in which task it does not shy away from the greatest sacrifices out of the pockets of Russian and Polish consumers and taxpayers.

Forced by prohibitive tariffs, Polish industry is changing gradually from the use of German coke and iron ore over to that of Donets, from American and Indian to central Asian cotton, from Saxon and Silesian to South Russian wool. The reciprocal dependency of Polish and Russian production as a whole grows to the same degree, and the interests of ever newer circles of the Russian bourgeoisie become tied to the weal and woe of Polish industry.

Certainly just as much enmity, competition, and rivalry grow out of these same relations between the Polish and Russian bourgeoisies. The same industrial division of labor, the common tariff boundaries, and the common markets turn the most varied groups within the bourgeoisie into enemies, and every particular solidarity of interests corresponds to a conflict of interests. As the examples have shown us, land ownership opposes industry, production opposes transport, and within each of these groups one district opposes the others and every individual capitalist opposes all the others. But what we glimpse here is a typical picture of capitalist economy, as it puts forth its blossoms in every country. It is the fundamental law of this form of production – bellum omnium contra omnes (a war of all against all) – that is expressed here and that has nothing to do with national contradictions and borders, indeed, on the contrary, ceaselessly wipes away these contradictions and borders within the capitalist class.

Certainly if the conflicts of economic interests coincide with national borders within one and the same state, this creates a broad basis, circumstances permitting, for national aspirations. This can only be the case, however, insofar as the enemy nationalities represent different, inherently antagonistic forms of production; if, for example, one country represents small business, the other large industry, one natural economy, the other money economy. In the given case, however, the situation is totally different, since Poland and Russia have gone through a combined development from a natural to a money economy and from small to large industry. Their antagonism, when and where it comes to light, arises not from the dissimilarity but rather the homogeneity of economic structure, and exhibits the characteristics of all capitalist competitive battles within one and the same economic mechanism.

The competitive Lodz-Moscow dispute is nothing but a fragment of this general war. Superficially puffed up to Poland’s national duel with Russia in the economic battlefield, this dispute in its fundamentals reduces itself to an argument between the Lodz fustian barons and the Moscow calico kings. Following international custom, the two capitalist parties sought first to cover over the trivial cotton object of contention with an ideological national cloak and then to bang the drum as loudly as though their very necks were at stake.

Nonetheless, in reality neither one nor the other party represents the interests of the whole Polish and Russian bourgeoisies – on the contrary, both have countless opponents among their own countrymen. Nor is the fiery competitive battle over domestic markets decisive to or characteristic of the relationship of the disputants. Their rivalry over the domestic markets is contradicted by their solidarity of interests on a whole series of other vital capitalist issues.

In the entire capitalist development of Poland and Russia, which proceeds from an ever stronger bond between the production and exchange of the two countries, the Lodz-Moscow cotton dispute plays an infinitesimally tiny role – if one is not led astray by the behavior of the squabbling entrepreneurs and keeps the wider perspective of the whole capitalist chessboard in view.

Only now, from the basis of these material interests, can the economic policy of the Russian government be evaluated and explained. Russia’s main concern since the 1870s, as is well enough known, is the rearing of capitalism. To this end the prohibitive tariff policy is followed, the hot-house atmosphere of monopoly prices and profits created in the Empire, the costly means of transport built, subsidies and premiums awarded to “needy” capitalists, etc., etc. From this standpoint, the development of capitalism in Poland (just as in other parts of the Empire) appears as partial realization of the government’s own program, its retrogression as a thwarting of this program. But still more important than the Russian government’s own economic designs are the objective tendencies of the Russian economy. The bourgeoisie, reared by the government, already plays a significant role in Russia. The government must now seriously reckon with the bourgeoisie’s interests, but also wants to carry through its own. The interests of the Russian bourgeoisie, however, are – as was shown – interwoven with those of the Polish bourgeoisie in the most diverse ways. There is no point at which Polish industry could be dealt a serious and lasting body blow without at the same time grievously wounding the vital interests of this or that group of the Russian bourgeoisie.

The notion that Russia is destroying or could destroy Polish capitalism assumes that Russian economic policy could be made the exclusive tool of the interests of the handful of Moscow calico manufacturers, an assumption based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the bourgeoisie just as much as of the nature of a capitalist government. Given the splits and contradiction of interests within the capitalist class, the government can represent the interests of the latter only as a whole; it cannot continually take the standpoint of any particular group of the bourgeoisie without being forced away from this standpoint again by the opposition of the other groups. Even the Russian government – although absolute – isno exception to this rule. For even in Russia the bourgeoisie is a political tool of the government only to the extent that the government is the tool of the bourgeoisie’s economic interests. Were the absolutist Russian government to make itself exclusively the lawyer for the Moscow cotton interests and trample on Polish and therefore Russian capitalist interests for this purpose, then it could not help but call forth strong bourgeois opposition to the government in Russia itself. The end result of such a policy could even be efforts by the Russian and Polish bourgeoisies for a reform government that would know how to safeguard their interests as a whole better than the existing regime. Thus, from this side, the question of the future of Polish capitalism is decided: were it to be injured by the Russian government, the government’s efforts would fall to pieces through the violent opposition of the bourgeoisie in Russia and Poland.

From this standpoint we can also reduce the whole question of the alleged persecution of Polish industry to its true value. All the measures that are usually introduced as proof of Russian anti-Polish economic policy have one common characteristic: namely, they are all directed to keeping Polish industry from the use of foreign raw materials and to the purchase of Russian raw materials. This was the case with the differential tariffs on cotton, on coal, on raw iron. All these measures were proclaimed not for the advantage of Russian industries competing with Poland and not with the purpose of destroying Polish industry, but to the advantage of the Russian raw materials production tied to Polish industry and with the purpose of achieving a particular configuration of Polish industry. Precisely the same Russian interests that called forth these measures would form the greatest obstacle to a government policy directed at the destruction of Polish industry.

Yet from the same necessity of satisfying all the so very contradictory interests of the different groups of the bourgeoisie, there arises for the government the necessity of moving in an increasing zig-zag course in its economic policy. All laws of the capitalist method of production are merely “laws of gravity,” i.e., laws that do not move in a straight line on the shortest route, but on the contrary proceed with constant deflections in contrary directions. The government’s general policy of promoting capitalism, correspondingly, can only be realized as it favors now this capitalist faction, now that. The examples of Russian customs and railway policy given above showed crudely the zig-zag course of the Russian government, which at one time protects manufacture at the expense of semi-finished manufacture, at another time takes care of the latter at the expense of the former, at one time patronizes coal mining over iron works, at another time patronizes the iron works at the “coal interests’” expense, favoring sometimes the landowners, sometimes the industrialists. This characteristic of the government’s economic policy also means that it can temporarily and on various questions deeply offend one or another Polish capitalist group; this is not only not impossible, but follows directly, necessarily, from the nature of the situation. The differential railway tariff for grain, etc., was of this type.

However, if all these temporary and one-sided phenomena were torn out of their complicated economic context and puffed up into a doctrine of Russia’s anti-Polish economic conspiracy, then what is involved is a complete lack of perspective and overview of the totality of this policy. In the same way, the exaggeration of the skirmish between Lodz fustian and Moscow calico into a deep gulf between the interests of Polish and Russian capitalism reveals the lack of an overview of the totality of the capitalist community of interest. There can be no doubt that the Moscow district, more than any other, has up until now enjoyed particularly loving care from the government, expressed in gifts of every sort. This policy, however, is merely the concrete expression of the encouragement of Russian capitalism in general, since the central district (where nearly a third of the Empire’s industry and approximately two-thirds the textile industry, by value, is concentrated) forms its main branch. The cost of this favoritism toward the Muscovites has not, however, been borne so much by the other industrial districts of the Empire, which in most cases (for example, the customs policy), on the contrary, also benefit, but much more by the other branches of the economy, above all agriculture. In fact, the enmity between the Russian landowners and the Moscow industrialists is much more lasting and bitter than that between Moscow and Lodz. An interesting spotlight on the alleged “national” policy of the Russian government, on the other hand, is thrown by the well-known fact that the southern coal and iron region which is most coddled and absolutely overwhelmed with patronage – at the expense of the Russian metal industry in the Urals as well as the Moscow industrial interests – is a region whose exploitation is in the main in foreign hands: Belgian and English capitalists.

It is as superficial as it is erroneous to ascribe a national (in the ethnographic sense) “Great Russian” economic policy to the Russian government. Such a policy exists only in the imagination of the reporter led astray by external appearances. In fact, the Czarist government – just as any other in the present day – maintains not a national but a class policy; it differentiates not between Polish and Russian enterprises, but only between those that “establish” or “own” and those that labor.

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Last updated on: 28.11.2008