Congress Boards of Entrepreneurs

Congress Boards of Entrepreneurs

 

in Russia, permanent executive bodies made up of the representative organizations of the Russian bourgeoisie—the all-Russian, regional, and branch congresses held during the last quarter of the 19th through the early 20th century. V. I. Lenin pointed out: “All those ’congress boards’ of representatives of industry in general—mine owners, oil industrialists, and so on and so forth—are a product chiefly of the period of revolution and counterrevolution” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 21, p. 290). The congress boards of entrepreneurs, the representative bodies of large-scale capital, were elected at congresses of entrepreneurs and regulated by government-approved charters. They maintained close ties with the state apparatus. Headed by members of the business-oriented bourgeois intelligentsia, the congress boards of entrepreneurs advocated a decisive struggle with the working-class movement.

The congress boards of entrepreneurs became more important during World War I (1914–18), when they initiated the mobilization of industry, and especially after the February Revolution of 1917, under the bourgeois Provisional Government. Because there were two, competing groupings of the big bourgeoisie in Petrograd and Moscow, it was not possible to establish a united entrepreneurs’ organization on the eve of the October Revolution of 1917.

In 1917 there were more than 30 congress boards of entrepreneurs, including three all-Russian organizations: the Congress Board of the Representatives of Industry and Trade, the Congress Board of the Representatives of the Stock Exchange and Agriculture, and the Congress Board of the Representatives of Joint-stock Commercial Banks.

Established in 1906, the Congress Board of the Representatives of Industry and Trade had, by 1917, 70 active members (the largest regional and branch entrepreneurial organizations) and 350 advisory members (large commercial banks and companies). Claiming to unite all of Russia’s entrepreneurial organizations, it was dominated by the St. Petersburg Association of Factory and Plant Owners. V. I. Timiriazev (1906), N. S. Avdakov (1907–15), and N. N. Kutler (1917) served as chairmen. A six-to eight-member committee created by the congress board played a decisive role in the organization. From 1908 the Congress Board of the Representatives of Industry and Trade published the journal Promyshlennost’ i torgovlia (Industry and Trade). The organization ceased to function in 1918.

In 1917 the Congress Board of the Representatives of the Stock Exchange and Agriculture (1905–18) united more than 100 stock-exchange and regional congress boards, as well as more than 20 advisory members (banks and insurance companies). V. I. Timiriazev served as chairman from 1914.

The Congress Board of the Representatives of Joint-stock Commercial Banks (1873–1918; until 1916 designated a committee) had 43 active members in 1917 and a network of local organizations (53 bank committees). Ia. I. Utkin and A. I. Vyshnegrad-skii (1917) served as chairmen.

Among the most influential regional and branch congress boards was the Congress Board of Mining Industrialists of Southern Russia (1874–1918), located in Kharkov. It played an important role in the creation of syndicates in the metallurgical and coal industries, as well as in the establishment of the Prodamet and Produgol’ syndicates. N. S. Avdakov (1900–05) and N. F. fon-Ditmar (1905–18) served as chairmen. The organization published the journals Gornozavodskii listok (Mine Leaflet; 1888 to 1909) and Gornozavodskoe delo (Mining; from 1910).

Located in Baku, the Congress Board of Petroleum Industrialists was also among the most influential regional and branch congress boards. A. O. Gukasov served as chairman of the organization, which maintained a special police apparatus and cossack detachments at the oil fields. The organ of the congress board, Neftianoe delo (Petroleum Industry), was published from 1899. The Congress Board of Petroleum Industrialists was abolished when Soviet power was established in Azerbaijan.

Another highly influential regional organization, the Congress Board of Mining Industrialists of the Urals (1898–1917), was located in Ekaterinburg and from 1905 in St. Petersburg. It participated in the formation of the Krovlia syndicate. N. N. Kutler served as chairman. During the October Revolution of 1917, the Congress Board of Mining Industrialists of the Urals was the organizational center for the bourgeoisie’s sabotage in that region.

Also among the most influential regional organizations was the Congress Board of the Representatives of the Metalworking Industry (1916–18), which was located in Petrograd. Its 27 members included A. D. Protopopov (chairman), A. I. Putilov, A. P. Meshcherskii, and A. I. Vyshnegradskii.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “Anketa ob organizatsiiakh krupnogo kapitala.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 21.
Lenin, V. I. “Kupetskie raschety.” Ibid., vol. 23.
Livshin, Ia. I. “’Predstavitel’nye’ organizatsii krupnoi burzhuazii v Rossii v kontse XIX-nachale XX vv.” Istoriia SSSR, no. 2,1959.
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