What would a Russian empire look like today?

It's an illiberal democratic dominant party system controlled by the intelligence services in a rivalry with the United States.
 
It's an illiberal democratic dominant party system controlled by the intelligence services in a rivalry with the United States.
Why? What reason would the Russians have to be in a cold war with the United States? This just sounds like you spend too much time in the chat section on this site with its endless obsession with Russia and assume that because Russia is an illiberal democratic dominant party system controlled by the intelligence services right now, then if it has these same characteristics then it must be similarly in a rivalry with the United States. Russia, up until 1917 - and arguably up until 1946/1947 since the US intervention in the Russian Civil War is imo much more credibly assigned to other reasons than just opposition to the Bolsheviks, and there were many elements of cooperation in the Interwar about Japan and economic ties between the USSR and USA, not even mentioning the Grand Alliance during WW2 - never had any significantly rivalry with the United States. If anything Russia could be counted as one of the USA's closer partners in Europe, since Russia and the USA tended to have a commonality of interests when it came to rival nations in between them, particularly England and Japan, and had no real strategic disagreements, with only US outrage over Russia's treatment of its Jewish minority souring the picture. But this never led to any real action in terms of actual US policy towards Russia.

Now, Russia's opposition to the United States in the present day is due to Russia wishing to either continue to exert influence or regain influence or territory in the territories which it lost during the fall of the USSR, such as Ukraine or Georgia, and that Russia perceives itself as being excluded by a world system dominated by the United States where it has been ill treated, and with a card of struggling against the US-dominated international order which plays extremely well in Russia. This isn't necessarily true of course - but it makes a great deal of sense to Russians in the context of their 1990s experience and in the historical light of the Cold War.

But there's no reason why this would exist in an alternate world where the Russian Empire is victorious in WW1. Even if we assume that somehow the border regions of Russia break away - which in my opinion is profoundly unlikely, as history shows that large territorial empires do not tend to break up in the modern world except under situations of tremendous stress such as those produced by the First World War or by the Fall of Communism - it is even more unlikely that history would have had the equivalent of a Second World War without a defeated Russian Empire producing such a massive destabilization and power vacuum in European politics which enabled the Second World War and its immense destruction to happen. So if those break away territories somehow come into existence, the United States is very unlikely to be the nation to be guaranteeing them, since it is very unlikely that in the context of a Russian Empire winning in WW1 that historical events would come to pass enabling the US to have its same OTL hegemonic security position in Europe which impinges on what the Russians see as their sphere of influence.

It is just as unlikely that internal Russian politics would lead to a favorable constellation for opposition to the United States, since without Communism there is absolutely no reason for an ideologically fueled war between the United States and Russia like the OTL Cold War, and the profoundly shaking events of the 1990s which led to a widespread suspicion and discrediting of the West in Russia wouldn't happen. It may be possible that Russia has a general cultural opposition and suspicion of the "West" and has fully adopted a sort of Eurasianistic ideology which sees the West and Russia as diametrically opposed - but without the OTL events of WW2, the United States as the leader of the West, and more importantly as a tangible enemy to compete with, isn't at all likely - the US would be isolationist, neutral, and sticking to its own hemisphere, not engaged in a rivalry with the Russians. The United States would just be one power of many among the broad grouping of Western nations that the Russians are suspicious and fearful of, and there's no reason for any particular US-Russia rivalry.

I'd much more likely see, in the event that Russia is like the nation you imagine in this scenario, the US and Russia be mostly disinterested in each other, it would be like say, relations between maybe Iran and France - riven by ideological differences but neither one having any serious immediate conflicts of interest, and without much historical baggage. Of course, Russia is much larger and more important than Iran, so by definition it would be more serious, but it would be hard to declare that Iran has a serious rivalry with France, even if may be suspicious of the Western universalist culture which France promotes! And in general I think that without WW2 and US power and hegemony coming to the forefront, international relations would be much less based on ideology and much more on commonality of interests anyway, so the scenario would be much more akin to the United States and Russia's relationship from 1776 to 1917 - without a single massive hegemonic power like the US, there is much less of the luxury for an idealistic foreign policy.
 
Thucydides Trap.
I don't see any reason for this theory to apply to the Russian situation, since that seems to be just a new name for the idea of a preventative war by a stronger power against a weaker but quickly rising state, but the idea is patently absurd since Russia are so far apart and have such difficulties actually fighting against each other, and the US is unlikely to be a dominant hegemonic power in the event of a Russian WW1 victory - and nor would the Russians.
 

Ulyanovsk

Donor
Everyone is assuming the United States follows an essentially identical path internationally, but honestly, I think with a surviving Imperial Russia post-World War the US might have a lesser role than OTL. Germany will be under the heel and Anti-Communism and Red Scares are butterflied. An alt-WW2 would very likely not resemble OTL at all and it's unlikely it reaches the pitch that we saw where fascism dominates the European continent and the old Entente is on the brink or something like that. America has less reasons to make itself a global power in its own right or get seriously involved in European affairs. It won't be involved in the First World War in all probability and it's fairly likely the isolationist line continues for a bit with the US kinda doing it's own thing. Not to say America won't be an economic heavyweight, but the whole "US and Russia Cold War, but swap your Red Tsar for a White one" seems odd to me given that the Cold War was a fairly historically unique position.

Without the devastation of the OTL Second World War (and apparently a cleaner first one since Russia is victorious), the world will be multi-polar, not bi-polar.
 
I don't see any reason for this theory to apply to the Russian situation, since that seems to be just a new name for the idea of a preventative war by a stronger power against a weaker but quickly rising state, but the idea is patently absurd since Russia are so far apart and have such difficulties actually fighting against each other, and the US is unlikely to be a dominant hegemonic power in the event of a Russian WW1 victory - and nor would the Russians.
You're right about actual war being implausible, but tensions, economic competition, and jockeying for influence between the worlds first and second foremost economies seems inevitable. That said I think it'd resemble 19th century Great Power politics rather than OTL's Cold War (both because the world would remain multi-polar, and because "the looming spectre of not-quite-absolute-but-the-constitution-is-kinda-weak Monarchy" just doesn't have the same ring to it that "the red menace" does)
 
I would be more willing to entertain the notion that international power dynamics and Russian internal politics could be vastly different were we not constrained by so late a POD. If there's anything like the First World War, then the Western European powers are done in the medium to long term. That leaves the world with two land powers controlling ample natural resources and large-scale natural population growth. The reasons for the failures of liberalism in Russia historically are going to magically disappear.
 
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That's quite the range.
I was thinking one of the less functional ones. Think more central america for level of prosperity/stability, although I could also accept a Russia as developed as say Mexico. That is to say roughly OTL Russia, but with development held back due to over the top protectionism as opposed to shooting itself in the food with bolshevism.
 
If there's anything like the First World War, then the Western European powers are done in the medium to long term.
Eh I think that would depend an awful lot on how Russia wins WWI. There's quite the wide range of possibilities between a better prepared Russia overrunning Silesia in August of 1914 and a somewhat luckier Russia simply not collapsing before Germany runs out of fumes in 1918.

If the war is shortened by as much as a year then the post war finances for western Europe are a lot better than iOTL.
 
I don't see how Russia could have a poorer economy. Without communism, they wouldn't have killed off the Kulaks or degraded their economy. They would have westernized.
 
I was thinking one of the less functional ones. Think more central america for level of prosperity/stability, although I could also accept a Russia as developed as say Mexico. That is to say roughly OTL Russia, but with development held back due to over the top protectionism as opposed to shooting itself in the food with bolshevism.
Russia would have to revert back to the Time of Troubles to have Central American levels of disfunction.
 
You're right about actual war being implausible, but tensions, economic competition, and jockeying for influence between the worlds first and second foremost economies seems inevitable. That said I think it'd resemble 19th century Great Power politics rather than OTL's Cold War (both because the world would remain multi-polar, and because "the looming spectre of not-quite-absolute-but-the-constitution-is-kinda-weak Monarchy" just doesn't have the same ring to it that "the red menace" does)
Tensions and dislikes yes - but history shows us that the fear of economic overtaking does not necessarily lead to war. The United States didn't fight with Britain. Japan was feared to be on the verge of overtaking the US economically, and yet the US and Japan were allied. So far the US and China haven't engaged in war - and this despite severe strategic disagreements about Taiwan, Korea, and the South China Sea. Russia and the United States are so far apart that i just don't see how significant tensions constituting a real rivalry could develop in the context of the multipolar politics of this alternate world.
 
Err no. Russia had the fastest growing economy in the world and was already the fifth largest industrial power on the eve of the great war.
*cough* arguably Austria-Hungary on both counts, but a points decision either way - otherwise, I concur
Eh I think that would depend an awful lot on how Russia wins WWI. There's quite the wide range of possibilities between a better prepared Russia overrunning Silesia in August of 1914 and a somewhat luckier Russia simply not collapsing before Germany runs out of fumes in 1918.
The better scenario is not fighting ww1 at all, or losing rapidly before Nicky can be blamed for the military performance and/or unreasonable war goals imposed. Those scenarios both avoid having to contend with victory disease and keep potentially sympathetic CP monarchies to the west intact.
 
Err no. Russia had the fastest growing economy in the world and was already the fifth largest industrial power on the eve of the great war. Between 1888 and 1913, Russia's industrial economy was growing at an average of 6.1%, as fast as during Soviet times
This is simply not true. Manabu Suhara's "Russian Industrial Growth: An Estimation of a Production Index, 1860-1913" (the very source you cited) states that Russia's industry had an average annual growth of 6.1% between 1888 and 1913.

On the other hand, according to "Soviet Industrialization Reconsidered: Some Preliminary Conclusions about Economic Development between 1926 and 1941" by
S. G. Wheatcroft, R.W. Davis and J.M. Cooper, the USSR's industrial production in the period 1928–1937 increased 2.5–3.5 times, that is, 10.5–16% per year.

In 1913, Russia had the fifth largest industry in the world. In the late 30s, after the Second Five-Year Plan, the USSR had the second largest industry in the world, second only to the United States (according to Vitaly Lelchuk's "Industrialisation").

Also, the October Revolution put the country far behind what it could have achieved, and growth did not resume till the late 20's.
This is obviously wrong. According to Wheatcroft, Davis and Cooper the level of production had fallen ninefold by 1920, compared to 1916 (due to the destruction caused by WW1 and the civil war). By 1928 the USSR's GDP had recovered to pre-war levels (depite the loss of Poland, the Baltics, Finland, Moldova, Western Ukriane and Western Belarus. GDP per capita was actually higher in 1930 than it had been in 1913). How can you claim that GDP didn't grew between the end of the civil war and the late 20s?

In addition, while GNP per capita of the USSR increased, productivity actually decreased. So a lot of the growth that the Soviet Union achieved only compensated for the loss from the civil war and October revolution.
Really? So untill the late 30s, most of the USSR's economic growth was just recovery from the civil war? GDP per capita had allmost doubled in 1939, compared to 1913 (despite war and civil war).

Plus, growth in Tsarist Russia was accelerating. From the end of Serfdom to around the turn of the century, Russian industry was growing at double digit rates. Subsequently, until around 1906, it entered a recession of 4-5% growth. However, after this, even during the first world war (but without the October revolution), Russian industry was growing at double digit rates again, even outpacing the growth during the height of the Soviet industrialization.
May I see a source for that? Because again, according to Manabu Suhara (your source), Tsarist Russia's industry grew by 6.1% a year between 1888 and 1913.

Agricultural production would likely have slowed down due to collapse in demand following the great war, but it wouldn't have been completely devastated. Urbanization might actually have been slower without collectivization, but it would have occurred nonetheless.
In 1913, the Russian Empire's grain harvest amounted to 86 million tons (according to "Russian Agricultural Statistics" by Manabu Suhara). According to "low" western estimates, the USSR's grain harvest amounted to 97 million tons in 1937 (Stephen Wheatcroft, "The Economic Transformationof the Soviet Union"). And, again, the Russian empire controlled Poland, Finland, the Baltics, Moldova, Western Ukraine and Western Belarus, while the USSR didn't. Taking this, and the fact that the economy all but collapsed during the civil war, into account, the increase in grain production is even more impressive.

In truth, by 1913 Russia had universal (male) schooling
In 1913 Russia had a literacy rate of 38%, and the number actually decreased during the war (reaching 32% in 1920). However, in 1926, literacy had grown to 55% (thanks to "Libkez", the USSR's anti-illiteracy campaign). So the USSR archieved in just a few years, what the Autocracy failed to do in decades.

This is just wrong. Russia's fertility rates, which were one of the highest in the world, collapsed following the October Revolution and fell deeper as collectivization proceeded. Russia's population in such a world would have been twice or thrice the population of OTL. Remember, even if Stalin did not necessarily accelerate industrialization or economic growth, he did accelerate urbanization, which decreases fertility rates.
Yeah, I was wrong on this one. I compared the population growth of Tsarist Russia between 1900 and 1914 to that of the USSR between 1926 and 1941. What I forgot to take into account is that the USSR gained sizable territories during this timespan. Stupid mistake. Societal developement and urbanization were going on in a rapid pace, so this decline in birthrates is not surprising. This TL's Russia would be more populous (obviously if they keep control of their 1914 borders, but also because of slower societal developement and urbanization). On the claim that the economy didn't grow faster than under the Tsars, well I've talked about industrial growth allready and I will cover overall economic growth in a sec

This is at least the third time you've reposted this. No problem with that, it's a reasonably good post, but I don't think it quite works in this context.
I think it fitted even better in this context, since I compared the economic developement of Tsarist Russia to that of the USSR. Orriginally I used the example of Tsarist Russia to compare the estimated economic developement of Russia after a white victory in the civil war to that of the OTL USSR. However, in the context of a surviving Tsarist Russia the comparision is actually more accurate.

Ah yes, the bomber gap folks. Well known for never overestimating America's adversaries.
The 6.1% number is supported by Vadim Rogovin's "World Revolution and World War", too. However, according to Vitaly Melyantsev's book "Russia for Three Centuries: Economic Growth in the Global Context" the the USSR's GDP grew by an annual average of 4.6% between 1928 and 1940. According to the same source, Tsarist Russia had an average annual growth of 3.2% between 1900 and 1913.

Either way, the USSR's economy grew faster than that of Tsarist Russia.

Here's the thing though, no civil war and no loss of territory. So, assuming 1913 values in 1918, resuming 3.3% per year gets you 459,463 million 1990s USD in 1939. Which is higher than the historic values for the USSR.

Now one could argue that this is an optimistic projection which assumes minimal economic loss in WWI, a quick recovery to pre-war growth rates, and no severe effects from the great depression (although on the other hand it also assumes no Roaring 20s for Russia, nor have I accounted for the Tsar's education programs eventually paying dividends). However, in any case, in 1939 Russia is unlikely to be remarkably worse off than the USSR was.
I never said that the GDP of Tsarist Russia could not be higher than that of the USSR, especially if they manage to secure their 1914 borders (plus maybe Galicia, Poznan and Istanbul) assuming they are victorious in WW1). However, GDP per capita and the overall economic growth would definetly be lower.

See this is the problem with whole sale reposting things without any edits for the context of the conversation. You'd have a point if the discussion was about a white regime which could be expected to lose at least that much territory as well, but an intact Russian Empire doesn't have this issue.
How? I compared the economic developement of Tsarist Russia to that of the USSR, and pointed out that many of the most industrialized regions of Tsarist Russia were not part of the USSR (making the USSR's archievements all the more impressive).

Which is basically what Imperial Russia's railroad building and military modernization schemes were.
Yeah, but look at the scale and the results.

Hitler gets bent over a table by France if he goes east and bent over a table by Russia if he goes west.
That really depends on how alliances shift in the aftermath of the war. And this TL's Russia would, in pure geopollitical terms, be a lot more frightening for France and Britain (stretching from Valdivostok to Poznan and from Helsinki to Constantinople). It would be a lot more frightening for Japan aswell.

Again, this is a fine point for discussing White Russia, it doesn't work for a victorious Russian Empire.

The German right can't claim to have won in the east and been "stabbed in the back" before they could finish off the west if they've lost on both fronts. Militarism and German supremacy would be at least somewhat discredited by a defeat at the hands of "weak and backwards" Russia.
There'd still be revanchism which a far right movement could capitalise upon. Especially if the peace treaty is particularly harsh.
 
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I don't see any realistic way that Imperial Russia is any worse than Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. I'm going to assume that the government is either as authoritarian as Russia was immediately before WW1 or some sort of constitutional monarchy (or somewhere between). I'm not going to worry about its borders or what territories it keeps/loses.

First, there's a huge butterfly if the Communists never take over: that changes everywhere else in the world. Can the Nazis come to power in Germany without the boogey man of the Soviets? I'm not sure. Can Mao come to power in China without the support of the Soviets (yes, they were playing both Mao and Chiang off each other)? Almost certainly not. So, right there, any analogue to WW2 is going to be drastically different. Given how badly WW2 mauled Russia, this can only be a good thing for Russia. Yes, if we tried to, we could come up with an alt-WW2 whereby Imperial Russia is hurt more than WW2 hurt Soviet Russia, but that would be far less likely than the various scenarios in which this alt-WW2 hurts Russia less.

Next, without the ideological divide between Russia and the rich European and American economies, Russia can maintain healthy trade relations with the West. That is incalculably valuable - all the moreso if they're a Constitutional Monarchy that the Western populations think is acceptable, but still workable just fine if they're not.

The 20th century was a series of system shocks to Russia's economy, demographics, military, pretty much every single aspect of a nation, that hobbled it over and over and over. WW1 followed by the Russian Civil War followed by WW2 followed by guns over butter for several decades followed by losing their buffer states and collapsing as a unified government... Even if Imperial Russia just is a mid-tier country through the whole century, as long as its stable, it'll do far better than what actually happened. If you look at a population pyramid for Russia, you can still see the aftershocks of the period from WW1-WW2, with huge dips in the population from those years, and then almost as large dips when those generations were supposed to have kids, but were too decimated to do so.
 

RexHiberiae

Banned
This is simply not true. Manabu Suhara's "Russian Industrial Growth: An Estimation of a Production Index, 1860-1913" (the very source you cited) states that Russia's industry had an average annual growth of 6.1% between 1888 and 1913.

On the other hand, according to "Soviet Industrialization Reconsidered: Some Preliminary Conclusions about Economic Development between 1926 and 1941" by
S. G. Wheatcroft, R.W. Davis and J.M. Cooper, the USSR's industrial production in the period 1928–1937 increased 2.5–3.5 times, that is, 10.5–16% per year.

In 1913, Russia had the fifth largest industry in the world. In 1937, after the Second Five-Year Plan, the USSR had the second largest industry in the world, second only to the United States (according to Vitaly Lelchuk's "Industrialisation").
There is no reason a victorious Russian Empire fully integrated with the european and world economies and with a much higher population, due to no civil war and no decrease in birth rates, would somehow lag behind in industrial growth. Even if their push for industrialisation is less, simply because they dont care solely about the cities as the SU did, they would still have vastly bigger markets and material resources to work with. Your claim that Russia needed communism to induatrialise is stupid considering pre war trends. This is not to mention the vast investment that would flood in from the entente powers.
In 1913, the Russian Empire's grain harvest amounted to 86 million tons (according to "Russian Agricultural Statistics" by Manabu Suhara). According to "low" western estimates, the USSR's grain harvest amounted to 97 million tons in 1937 (Stephen Wheatcroft, "The Economic Transformationof the Soviet Union"). And, again, the Russian empire controlled Poland, Finland, the Baltics, Moldova, Western Ukraine and Western Belarus, while the USSR didn't. Taking this, and the fact that the economy all but collapsed during the civil war, into account, the increase in grain production is even more impressive.
If Stolypin's reforms had continued their effects apace as had been happening pre war, private land ownership would have skyrocketed post war. This and the fact that there would havebeen no famines, as well as the factor of a rapidly increasing population amoung the peasantry, would mean VASTLY greater crop and grain yields. No collectivization would do wonders for Russian agriculture. This is ignoring the tremendous human cost of the slave labour the SU used, which would be non existent in a tsarist Russia
In 1913 Russia had a literacy rate of 38%, and the number actually decreased during the war (reaching 32% in 1920). However, in 1926, literacy had grown to 55% (thanks to "Libkez", the USSR's anti-illiteracy campaign). So the USSR archieved in just a few years, what the Autocracy failed to do in decades.
The literacy measurements you are citing accept those who can read individual letters one by one as being literate(Richard Pipes). The Libkez program has been hailed as doing wonders, but it was mostly propaganda. Aside from this, why would the imperial russian government have any incentive to keep russians illiterate? This is just nonsense.
I never said that the GDP of Tsarist Russia could not be higher than that of the USSR, especially if they manage to secure their 1914 borders (plus maybe Galicia, Poznan and Istanbul) assuming they are victorious in WW1). However, GDP per capita and the overall economic growth would definetly be lower.
Gdp per capita would be HIGHER. Access to markets of europe and world, free trade economy and no collectivization would produce much greater economic growth. Uou do realise the SU economic growth was literally achieved through slave labour. Im sure you would agree that no slave labour would certainly be a positive of Imperial russia.
There'd still be revanchism which a far right movement could capitalise upon. Especially if the peace treaty is particularly harsh.
France would ITTL keep their alliance with Russia. What reason do either party have to ditch it? France had to resort the the pathetic alliance of poland and romania and Yugoslavia IOTL,which was wholly inadequate. ITTL germany would have to start a two front war if it wants to make war again. This is an extremely unrealistically scenario, as no elected government would be crazy enough to basically commit national suicide like that.
 
I think it fitted even better in this context, since I compared the economic developement of Tsarist Russia to that of the USSR. Orriginally I used the example of Tsarist Russia to compare the estimated economic developement of Russia after a white victory in the civil war to that of the OTL USSR. However, in the context of a surviving Tsarist Russia the comparision is actually more accurate.
I disagree, a lot of it only works with the context of the not-Bolsheviks having to deal with the same stuff the Bolsheviks did.

The 6.1% number is supported by Vadim Rogovin's "World Revolution and World War", too. However, according to Vitaly Melyantsev's book "Russia for Three Centuries: Economic Growth in the Global Context" the the USSR's GDP grew by an annual average of 4.6% between 1928 and 1940. According to the same source, Tsarist Russia had an average annual growth of 3.2% between 1900 and 1913.

Either way, the USSR's economy grew faster than that of Tsarist Russia.
Yes, but removing the decade of lost time that the USSR had to contend with evaporates any benefit that faster rate yields. Also, this relies pretty heavily on the assumption that the Russian Empire couldn't exceed 3.3% per year. I don't see any reason why demand for grain would be lower iTTL (in fact, without the civil war and period of economic isolation Russia probably loses less market share to Canada and America).

I never said that the GDP of Tsarist Russia could not be higher than that of the USSR, especially if they manage to secure their 1914 borders (plus maybe Galicia, Poznan and Istanbul) assuming they are victorious in WW1). However, GDP per capita and the overall economic growth would definetly be lower.
Not by all that much.

How? I compared the economic developement of Tsarist Russia to that of the USSR, and pointed out that many of the most industrialized regions of Tsarist Russia were not part of the USSR (making the USSR's archievements all the more impressive).
Impressive yes, but irrelevant in a direct comparison. What is the actual take away from that? "Congratulations on your handicap! Maybe if your race car didn't have square wheels you might have won the race!"

Yeah, but look at the scale and the results.
Fastest growing economy on the continent, set to over take Imperial Germany (ie with Alsace-Loraine and the whole of Silesia) by the 1930s in industrial output, a large and modern ship building industry (something the USSR took a very long time to regain, and in some specific capacities outright never did), and over 81 thousand km of rail.

Really quite good bang for the Tsar's buck.

That really depends on how alliances shift in the aftermath of the war. And this TL's Russia would, in pure geopollitical terms, be a lot more frightening for France and Britain (stretching from Valdivostok to Poznan and from Helsinki to Constantinople).
Britain and Russia drifting apart is very possible. France and Russia is a bit less so. Germany is going to remain their primary concern and the economic relationship between them is likely to continue, at least until the Russians pay off their debts (which will be a matter of decades).

It would be a lot more frightening for Japan aswell.
Given Japan's anti-Soviet hysteria, that'd be quite the feat. Additionally, I've heard other opinions about the likelihood of a second Russo-Japanese War.

There'd still be revanchism which a far right movement could capitalise upon. Especially if the peace treaty is particularly harsh.
Revanchism alone does not guarantee a far right takeover, as France and Denmark show. Additionally, domestic developments in the German left may happen differently without the inspiration of the Soviets and the manipulations of Moscow (I'm thinking less organized over all but also less polarized).
 
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