What would a Russian empire look like today?

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?
I meant that GDP did not grow beyond 1916 levels until the late 20's, which means a lot of potential for growth was lost.
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).
Increase in GDP per Capita of a country does not necessarily mean that it has become more modern or prosperous. There have been many cases of Countries where GDP per capita increased while productivity decreased. Eg. Venezuela during Chavismo had its productivity decline while GDP per capita increased on the backs of Oil prices. But these are based on shaky grounds and do not contribute to the modernization of a country. In Soviet Russia's case, this was on the backs of severely increased working hours rather than any significant modernization of production techniques.
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.
Well M. Suhara was taking the average of a quarter century worth of economic growth, but for a large portion of this time Russia was in a recession with low growth in the industrial sector. But by 1907 it had began growing rapidly again and continued doing so even into the great war. So the 6.1% figure is somewhat misleading in giving the growth rate.
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.
How can you say that collectivization was not a disaster for Soviet agriculture when it lead to deaths of millions of peasants, destruction of livestock (which did not recover until the 1950s) and indeed decrease in output value compared to private plots?
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.
Schooling rate and literacy rate measure two very things. A country, especially one which only recently emerged out of feudalism like Tsarist Russia, could have very low literacy rate with high schooling rate. However once you have the schooling infrastructure, teachers etc. It is a trivial matter for your literacy rate to grow. Whats important is that Russia had universal schooling.
 
I do not think most of the posters in this thread understand the enormous problems facing Russian development, and this includes Russia's rapidly growing population. Extremely high population growth rates are actually bad for economic prosperity, not good for it, if you extrapolate Tsarist growth rates and assume a consistently high population growth, then Russia ends up looking more like India than China or South Korea. The Soviets historically averted this by two factors, the first being almost 30 years filled with a truly disturbing number of mass casualty events, and the second and probably more important factor was the mass education of women, which rapidly drove down birth rates despite the best efforts of the Soviet regime to make women have more babies.

Next, we have the issue that Russian economic growth before WW1 was unsustainable and mostly driven by a commodity boom which was already dissipating by the time WW1 rolled around, and Russia's economy went into a slump after 1905 that was exacerbated by endemic political unrest. During WW1 the Russian economy suffered a series of shocks that set in motion a slow-moving collapse of its economy, which was greatly accelerated by the twin revolutions of 1917, but even if those revolutions had not occurred, the Russian economy's prospects did not look good. Russia had not even come close to establishing the rule of law that is generally accepted to be necessary for liberal economic development, it did not exist in a global market where a Chinese-esque development program, it did not have major economic support from the United States that countries like South Korea did due to the Cold War, and it seems unlikely to have been able to successfully adopt an "Asian Tiger" development model. Tsarist Russia was not a feudal state like some may have imagined, but it certainly was no economic juggernaut, and it almost certainly would not have succeeded in becoming anywhere near the world's number one economy like some in this thread have claimed.
 
One point: Russia is very unlikely to remain a monarchy.

First, it would be almost impossible for Russia to remain a ruling monarchy. That could happen only if there was a series of Tsars who were highly competent dictators.

Second, I don't think Russia could make the transition to figurehead monarchy. That would also require a cadre of able "statesmen" who manage the country's affairs well (like the genro of Meiji Japan). But more critically, it would require a monarch with a likable public persona (a good-time Charlie like Edward VII, a nice old lady like Victoria or Wilhelmina, a venerable patriarch like Franz Josef) who leaves the business of government entirely to the politicians. Nicholas II wasn't that guy, nor was there any likely successor who could fill that role. Absent a revolution, Nicholas would have reigned for another 20 years. If the Empire survived that, then the sickly Alexei succeeds. He might get some sympathy for his illness, but none of the respect a monarch needs. If Alexei dies, then one of the Grand Dukes succeeds, and none of them look good for it either.

And I don't see any other path.
 
I do not think most of the posters in this thread understand the enormous problems facing Russian development, and this includes Russia's rapidly growing population. Extremely high population growth rates are actually bad for economic prosperity, not good for it, if you extrapolate Tsarist growth rates and assume a consistently high population growth, then Russia ends up looking more like India than China or South Korea. The Soviets historically averted this by two factors, the first being almost 30 years filled with a truly disturbing number of mass casualty events, and the second and probably more important factor was the mass education of women, which rapidly drove down birth rates despite the best efforts of the Soviet regime to make women have more babies.
Why assume that?
 
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.
I dont know, it was protectionism that allowed Britain, germany, USA, and Japan industrialize and more then a few economists counted that to much free trade has hurt not helped Africa.
 
So I'm not entirely sure what would happen, but I doubt Russia by 2020 would be a liberal democracy with a standard of living comparable to Europe. Several people here assume they will simply westernise and modernise. The only problem with that is that Russia is just not western europe, it's an entirely different history and culture.

With no WW1, Russia would continue to industrialize and it's urban proletariat population would continue to grow. In 1913 80% of people were peasants, but soon enough the urban population would become more powerful and influential. Change would happen eventually. With the abysmal conditions of Russian workplaces and living in the cities, strikes and protests would flair up continually. Famines would continue to wreck the countryside every few years, although the loss of life will be less than OTL WW1 and Civil War. Eventually however, I imagine a revolution will bring in a progressive democracy of sorts, with the Tsar kept as a figurehead, and probably not Nicholas as he was so reluctant to give up any power. The promises of 1905 would likely be fulfilled in this world, with the Duma holding power and freedom of speech existing etc. This would happen by 1935 I imagine.

I tend to think moderate socialist parties would win these elections, and like most socialist parties in Europe would actually advocate for a mixed economy. High taxes, nationalization of key industries, universal education, agricultural reform, stronger unions, an 8 hour workday would all likely come from this progressive government.

By 2020, I think Russia might have around 300 million people, including Kazakhstan and Belarus, and maybe parts of central Asia. The rest of the empire likely would have left by then. St Petersburg would become a major international metropolis with 10 million people, likely rivaling London and Paris. As for the actual economy of Russia, frankly I can see them getting stuck in trap that Italy and Spain find themselves in, as mostly developed countries, but also lots of corruption and red tape holding their economy back. However it is worth noting that with a GDP per capita of $34,000, on par with Italy, they would have a crazy GDP of $10 trillion, making them the worlds 3rd largest economy in all likelihood. Russian films, technology and companies would be major world players, and Russia would definitely be a superpower.
 
I dont know, it was protectionism that allowed Britain, germany, USA, and Japan industrialize and more then a few economists counted that to much free trade has hurt not helped Africa.
Britain was a champion of free trade, since as the most advanced economy in the world, it was in British interests.
In Russia's case free trade would definitely have helped.
As a backward inefficient economy, it would be a great way to boost the economies of more efficient industries like Germany and Austria Hungary.
 
I'm not saying this is an accurate model of Russian growth, this was my response to people talking about how Tsarist Russia would be more populous and thus more prosperous.
Russia was depopulated IOTL. Now there aren't enough workforce for economy to grow or even to function properly. 100 mils + would be normal for the country this size, not overpopulated.
 
As a backward inefficient economy, it would be a great way to boost the economies of more efficient industries like Germany and Austria Hungary.
Actually the tarrifs gave negative protection for Russian industries. They mainly protected the resource extraction sector (i.e capital inputs). Frequently the raw materials would be protected more than the finished product. This was a great weakness for industry not its strength. The tsar preffered protecting resource extraction for political reasons (favouring the aristocrats vs the capitalists).
Indeed, many industries received no protection whatsoever, while raw material costs increasingly ate up their capital.
 
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RexHiberiae

Banned
I dont see why a russian empire couldn't be as developed as the rest of northern Europe or at least Italy and Spain by the modern day. Being integrated into the world economy for 100 years instead of the horrifying experiment of OTL, would surely do wonders for developement. It would remain a very socially conservative country, with its peasant roots still strong, for better or for worse.

If it were to survive to this day, i would say it would have a slightly lower GDP than US, but a slightly higher population, maybe 375 - 400 million. Ukraine and Belarus wouldnt exist. Ukrainian nationalism basically only existed as a force to be reckoned with because of Austrian and German funding pre wwI funding, and Ukrainians were happily part of the empire, until WW1. Ukraine would have a massive population, more or equal to Germany. Kazakhstan would likely be majority ethnic Russian, with the Kazakh language under threat of disuse. If the Empire still exists, and had lost no major European wars, then poland would be tiny, and germany would still have more/less 1920 borders. I wouldn't be surprised if Latvia and Estonia would be majority russian, probably not Lithuania though. I would say the Baltics would remain in the empire. Transcaucasia would brake away, but north caucasus would be majority Russian. Unfriendly relations with giorgia and Azerbaijan, but allied with mega armenia which would have absorbed massive chunks of Anatolia during Turkish war after ww1. The straits would remain russian until maybe 1970s when they would be transferred to a Greece in possession of the whole Aegean coastline. Rump Turkey with no friends, which most likely embraced some sort of fascism in 20th century.

European countries would be 10x friendlier with russia than OTL, having stronger bonds and cultural links than with the US. China would be the largest economy, having surpassed US and Russia in 1990's. Russia wouldn't be a liberal domocracy. There is a reason the vast majority of russians accepted autocracy until 1917 and again until end of soviet union, and then so readily accepted Putin. Patrimonialism is highly embedded into the russian psyche, its roots in the Muscovite traditions which lasted centuries. I would guess it would be a very illiberal democracy, much like Hungary today, with a strongman priminister running the country, with help and legitimacy from a supportive Tsar. Orthodox Church would be hugely influential, Catholic faith would be bigger than OTL in Russia.

Siberia ITTL would be way more heavily populated than OTL, with a 'wheatbelt' streatching from urals to the transbaikal region. Russia would be wholly self sufficient in almost every manner, including oil, gas and foodstuffs. Major cities would dot siberia, Maybe Novonikolaevsk or Irktusk would have 3 million plus population. Moscow would be the biggest city and industrial centre, while St. Petersburg would be the political and financial centre.

Architecture and art would be much better than OTL, without repressive government and WW2 destruction. Stalinist and brutalist architecture, thing vast grey apartment blocks, wouldn't exist.
Science, rather than just excelling in highly niche miliary and space areas like physics, would be much more diversified like the US and Europe. They may or may not have a space program equivalent to OTL, although if they did, it would happen much later than OTL due to no cold war.
 
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A lot depends on who is Czar and what happens. Nicholas II was perhaps the worst possible Czar at the worst possible time; completely devoted to "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality" at a time when the people wanted more say in their government, yet not bright enough to actually run the nation well as supreme autocrat. Even if Imperial Russia survives WW1, the stresses building up from the Czar's mismanagement and stubbornness to reform anything were long due to boil over. It's hard to see Imperial Russia surviving without a POD before the Russo-Japanese war, but there's basically two paths; either down the line a Czar breaks and lets things reform into a more constitutional monarchy, or continues to hold on and violently suppress the lower classes. In the former I'd expect Russia to look something like Italy or Spain; reasonably well off though plagued by corruption and seccesionist movements as well as fallout from old political strife. The latter would probably more resemble North Korea with a body count rivaling OTL's USSR.
 

RexHiberiae

Banned
A lot depends on who is Czar and what happens. Nicholas II was perhaps the worst possible Czar at the worst possible time; completely devoted to "Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality" at a time when the people wanted more say in their government, yet not bright enough to actually run the nation well as supreme autocrat. Even if Imperial Russia survives WW1, the stresses building up from the Czar's mismanagement and stubbornness to reform anything were long due to boil over. It's hard to see Imperial Russia surviving without a POD before the Russo-Japanese war, but there's basically two paths; either down the line a Czar breaks and lets things reform into a more constitutional monarchy, or continues to hold on and violently suppress the lower classes. In the former I'd expect Russia to look something like Italy or Spain; reasonably well off though plagued by corruption and seccesionist movements as well as fallout from old political strife. The latter would probably more resemble North Korea with a body count rivaling OTL's USSR.
How in the world would a Monarchy result in a body count in the tens of millions? You need an ideology to justify mass murder on this scale, and I dont think patrimonial christianity would result in this. Seriously, this is just silly accusations not based on anything.
 
How in the world would a Monarchy result in a body count in the tens of millions? You need an ideology to justify mass murder on this scale, and I dont think patrimonial christianity would result in this. Seriously, this is just silly accusations not based on anything.
Famine, Disease, and civil War. Not to mention the virulent racism and antisemitism of Nicholas's regime. Maintaining a total autocracy would likely involve quashing a revolution or three, with accompanying disruptions to the fragile economy and food supply of the nation. Imagine the Russian Revolution but with the monarchists coming out on top. Massive casualties in or near the millions are possible without fascism or communism; just look at the history of Imperial China or the US Civil War.
 

RexHiberiae

Banned
Famine, Disease, and civil War. Not to mention the virulent racism and antisemitism of Nicholas's regime. Maintaining a total autocracy would likely involve quashing a revolution or three, with accompanying disruptions to the fragile economy and food supply of the nation. Imagine the Russian Revolution but with the monarchists coming out on top. Massive casualties in or near the millions are possible without fascism or communism; just look at the history of Imperial China or the US Civil War.
Why would there be famine, if 1. They would accept international aid unlike OTL, and 2. Collectivization and dekulakization don't occur. There wouldnt be a famine, I dont get how being victorious in wwi would mean famines everywhere wut? The soviet union was an autocracy, and despite murdering millions and treating their citizens like meat, there wasnt "three revolutions". I dont see how a prosperous and victorious russian empire would face these challenges, especiall with the army at hand. It took the laughably weak PG for revolution to occur IOTL. Same with civil war. Your analogies with china and US assume a civil war. I dont see any evidence to suggest a victorious imperial regime would face a civil war, when again, it took the idiot kerensky and the weak PG to trigger IOTL. What you are suggesting is baseless speculation.
 
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