Reitern, Mikhail Khristoforovich
Born Sept. 12 (24), 1820, in the city of Porech’e, now the city of Demidov, Smolensk Oblast; died Aug. 11 (23), 1890, in Tsarskoe Selo, now the city of Pushkin. Russian statesman; count (1890). Son of a general.
Reitern graduated from the Tsarskoe Selo Lycée in 1839. As minister of finances from 1862 to 1878, he instituted many bourgeois financial reforms. He advocated the rapid development of a capitalist credit system, railroads, and new branches of heavy industry. Reitern tried to reduce the chronic deficit in the national budget through a sharp increase in direct and indirect taxes and a reduction of the budgets of the war department and, especially, the navy department. As part of this effort, he also had the government take some steps which, however, did not achieve his goal—for example, the sale of Alaska to the USA in 1867 and the sale of the Nicholas Railroad to a private company in 1868. It was not until 1874 that he succeeded in eliminating the deficit in Russia’s budget.
Reitern was chairman of the Committee of Ministers from 1881 to 1886. From 1862 he was a member of the State Council.
REFERENCESMinisterstvo finansov 1802–1902, parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1902.
M. Kh. Reitern: Biograficheskii ocherk. St. Petersburg, 1910.
Pogrebinskii, A. P. Ocherki istorii finansov dorevoliutsionnoi Rossii (XIX-XX vv.). Moscow, 1954.