Bread upon the Waters
The St. Petersburg Grain Trade and the Russian Economy, 1703–1811
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Preface, Note on Usage, Units of Weight and Measure
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This book has been a long time in the making. It began as a continuation of my published research on the provinces of northeastern Russia that, while serving as a natural barrier, also connected St. Petersburg with the rest of a vast empire that extended to the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. ...
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The primary subject of this book is the provisioning of eighteenth-century St. Petersburg, a new and rapidly growing city created by fiat in an infertile region on the periphery of the Russian Empire. The book begins with Peter the Great’s founding of St. Petersburg in 1703 and his first efforts to provide its inhabitants with food at prices they could afford. ...
Chapter 1. Founding and Feeding an Imperial City
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The creation of St. Petersburg as a seaport, capital, and metropolis marks a major turning point in Russian history. It proclaimed Tsar Peter I’s break with Muscovite Russia and ushered in the new, imperial period of Russian history, which would last until 1917.1 ...
Chapter 2. Selling Flour in St. Petersburg
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Provisioning eighteenth-century St. Petersburg presented the imperial government with two distinct but closely connected worries: bringing or attracting a sufficient quantity of cereals to the city and ensuring that consumers could afford to buy them. The first goal argued for high food prices, while the second argued against them. ...
Chapter 3. Sources of Supply
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Because cities do not produce food, they need to acquire it from places that produce more than enough to satisfy local demand. Paris, for example, ate cereals from Champagne and other surplus-producing provinces within France. Amsterdam brought Polish and Livonian grain from Danzig and Riga. Stockholm relied on grain from Estland and Lifland. ...
Chapter 4. Production
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Although Catherine II was reluctant to treat grain as a mere commodity, like flax or wool, that was how grain traded on the market, and although her instruction to the Legislative Commission of 1767 identified money making and economic self-interest with merchants, those phenomena equally applied to the peasants and noble landowners ...
Chapter 5. Commerce
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The transfer of ownership as cereals passed from barns and threshing floors in the south to market stalls and shops in the north was an important, indeed essential, component of the eighteenth-century Russian economy but one that has received little attention from historians. ...
Chapter 6. Transportation
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Throughout the eighteenth century, the Russian imperial government worked to improve transportation from provincial Russia to St. Petersburg. Then, in the early nineteenth century, it expanded and intensified its undertakings by creating new routes and adding other ports to its list of destinations. ...
Chapter 7. Exports
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Peter’s primary motive for seizing and holding the delta of the Neva was to open a path through which Russia’s abundant and relatively inexpensive commodities could enter the European and world markets. For most commodities, his plan succeeded, but for cereals, Russia’s most abundant and relatively inexpensive commodity, it failed. ...
Chapter 8. Resolution
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Throughout the eighteenth century Russia’s rulers struggled to cope with a fundamental problem of economic geography: its best farmland, capable of producing a great surplus of grain, lay in the steppes to the south and southeast of the central and northern provinces where the great majority of Russians lived and far from Russia’s imperial capital ...
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The creation of the Mariinskii Canal and the port of Odessa closed a chapter in Russian history that had begun with the siege of Azov in 1695 and the founding of St. Petersburg eight years later. Together they finished essential components of Peter the Great’s agenda for making Russia a major European power. ...
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Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 4 line drawings
Publication Year: 2013