Economic problems

From the start of the war, Russia's economic problems grew steadily worse. By the beginning of 1917, the country was facing virtual economic collapse.


Russian industry moved into crisis during the war. Vital raw materials from overseas could no longer reach Russia. This resulted in shortages of raw materials and finished goods. The army faced major shortages of supplies and weapons.


Russia had an underdeveloped railway system. This was taken over by the government to be used primarily for the war effort. It had to cope with the pressures of moving large quantities of troops and supplies to the battlefronts. This made it more difficult to keep the cities supplied with food.


Agricultural methods remained backward and still relied on many peasants being able to work the land. Millions of peasant farmers were conscripted into the army. This led to a major shortage of manpower on the farms and a corresponding fall in production.

There were serious shortages of food in the city shops. The price of even the most basic foods was rising steeply.

By 1916, inflation had reached 200 per cent, the value of the rouble had fallen substantially and the price of goods was soaring. This made life increasingly difficult, particularly for poorer people.