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Bankers and Bolsheviks$
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Hassan Malik

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691170169

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691170169.001.0001

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The Loan That Saved Russia?

The Loan That Saved Russia?

Reassessing the 5 Percent Russian Government Loan of 1906

(p.55) 2 The Loan That Saved Russia?
Bankers and Bolsheviks

Hassan Malik

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the 1905 Revolution, underscoring the price Russia paid for the strategic errors discussed in the previous chapter, and stressing the important financial-historical legacy of this period within the broader story of the revolution. It shows that, given the precarious state in which the Tsarist government found itself at the time and the massive size of the Russian Government Loan of 1906, some began to refer to the deal as “the loan that saved Russia.” However, an examination of business and government documents from both the Russian and Western sides suggests that such an interpretation is overly generous. Based on materials in European banking archives as well as Russian sources, there is reason to question the idea that the 1906 loan played a stabilizing role, and to think of it instead as a deal that played a destabilizing role in Russia and even abroad in the long run. The loan did not just fail to resolve domestic political tensions, it in fact exacerbated them, exposed the regime to attacks from its enemies abroad, and likely contributed to the roots of the Panic of 1907—a seminal event in the financial history of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   Russian Government Loan of 1906, 1906 loan, domestic tensions, political tensions, 1905 Revolution, strategic errors, Panic of 1907

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