Financial Reforms of the 1860s

Financial Reforms of the 1860’s

 

the bourgeois reforms in Russia aimed at adapting the country’s financial system to the development of capitalism. The preparation and implementation of the Peasant Reform of 1861 necessitated the establishment of the State Bank and the formation of the Central Administration for Redemption in the Ministry of Finance for carrying out the redemption operation (1862). V. A. Tatarinov, state comptroller from 1863 to 1871, initiated most of the reforms that were carried out under Finance Minister M. Kh. Reitern (1862–78).

May 22, 1862, was the date for the introduction of the Rules Governing the Compilation, Evaluation, and Execution of the Schedule of State Revenues and Expenditures and the Financial Estimates of Ministries and Main Administrations. The state budget was compiled by the Ministry of Finance, and after being ratified by the State Council and the emperor it became law. The practice of publishing the amounts of the budget began in 1862. Between 1864 and 1868, all revenues were centralized in the state treasury, in the Ministry of Finance. All expenditures were made in accordance with budget estimates and authorizations. Internal audits grew in importance; they were used to ensure the legality of the draft of the state budget each year prior to the consideration of the budget by the State Council. Audits were also used in preparing reports to the council on the extent to which the financial estimates of the previous year had been adhered to. Provincial auditing bodies were established in 1865. Liquor leases were replaced in the early 1860’s by an excise on alcohol production, and in 1866 an excise on tobacco production was introduced. Tax bureaus were set up on the province and district level. In 1863 the Department of Miscellaneous Assessments and Imposts of the Ministry of Finance was divided into the Department of Indirect Taxes and the Department of Direct Taxes.

Like all bourgeois reforms instituted under tsarism in the 1860’s, the financial reforms were inconsistent. The poll tax, the basic tax of the Russian feudal state, was retained as a part of the system of direct taxation. Moreover, certain government departments were not subjected to audits. The currency reform of 1862, which foresaw the replacement of paper money by gold and silver, could not be realized because of a shortage of these metals. The system created by the financial reforms, with certain modifications in the 1880’s and 1890’s (seeCURRENCY REFORM OF 1895–97), survived until 1917.

REFERENCES

Polnoe sobranie zakonov Rossiiskoi imperii, 2nd ed., vol. 37. St. Petersburg, 1865. Number 38309.
Pogrebinskii, A. P. “Finansovaia reforma nachala 60-kh gg. XIX v. v Rossii.” Voprosy istorii, 1951, no. 10.

N. P. EROSHKIN

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