Bankers and Bolsheviks

Bankers and Bolsheviks

Hassan Malik

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780691170169

Publisher: Princeton University Press


Following an unprecedented economic boom fed by foreign investment, the Russian Revolution triggered the worst sovereign default in history. This book tells the dramatic story of this boom and bust, chronicling the forgotten experiences of leading financiers of the age. Shedding critical new light on the decision making of the powerful personalities who acted as the gatekeepers of international finance, the book explains how they channeled foreign capital into Russia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While economists have long relied on quantitative analysis to grapple with questions relating to the drivers of cross-border capital flows, this book adopts an historical approach, drawing on banking and government archives in four countries. It provides rare insights into the thinking of influential figures in world finance as they sought to navigate one of the most challenging and lucrative markets of the first modern age of globalization. The book reveals how a complex web of factors—from government interventions to competitive dynamics and cultural influences—drove a large inflow of capital during this tumultuous period in world history. The book demonstrates how the realms of finance and politics—of bankers and Bolsheviks—grew increasingly intertwined, and how investing in Russia became a political act with unforeseen repercussions.