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Big Business in Russia: The Putilov Company in Late Imperial Russia, 1868-1917 (Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies) Hardcover – October 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


"Grant's case study tests and challenges accepted ideas about Russian capitalism at the end of the Old Regime. The Russian company described here had much in common with West European giants such as Krupp and Vickers, and Grant's book should be read by anyone interested in the question of Russian uniqueness." -- Susan McCaffray, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

"This account offers a valuable examination of the company's industrial strategy as it moved from rail and locomotive production into the manufacture of armaments and warships. Grant's bold thesis that the Pulitov enterprise's strategy resembled that of the leading European arms producers-Vickers, Creusot, Skoda, and Krupp-adds a new and welcome dimension to the lively debate over the nature of Russian capitalism under autocracy." -- Thomas C. Owen, Louisiana State University

About the Author

Jonathan Grant is assistant professor of modern Russian history at Florida State University, Tallahassee, and is the author of numerous articles, most recently "Banks, Boards, and the Question of Bank Dominance in Late Imperial Russia: The Case of the Putilov Company, 1907-1914" published in Essays in Economic and Business History, and seven articles about the relationship between tsarist Russia and Eastern Europe in the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Modern East Europe, 1815-1989. He lives in Tallahassee, FL.

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Product Details

  • Series: Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822941104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822941101
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,907,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on May 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Since most studies of Russian industrialization tend to examine the capitalist system as a whole and downplay the role of individual firms, Jonathan Grant's Big Business in Russia fills an important niche. Originating from his Ph.D. dissertation (University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1995), this in-depth study of the St. Petersburg-based Putilov Company, Imperial Russia's largest arms manufacturer, advances our understanding of Russian industrial history at the micro level. The few specialists who have explored business activity in Imperial Russia have focused either on firms established by foreigners or non-industrial firms (e.g. banking, publishing, or insurance). Grant, now an assistant professor of modern Russian history at Florida State University in Tallahassee, poses the question: "Did Russian businessmen conduct their affairs in a unique way based on an essentially different understanding of the market and state, or did they pursue strategies for growth that would have been intelligible to their contemporaries in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States?" (p. 1). Grant concludes that Putilov's market behavior did not differ from that of the key Western arms manufacturers such as Krupp, Skoda, Vickers, and Scneider-Creusot. Thus, Grant maintains, Russian business behavior was not "deviant." The board of directors at the Putilov Company followed expansionist strategies as aggressive as any of its Western counterparts, hesitating neither to jettison old product lines, nor to invent new ones based on market forecasts. Hence Grant's study shows that the state's role in the Putilov Company-still extant today as the Kirovsky Zavod--has been exaggerated.
The book is divided into seven chronological chapters: 1) "The Rise and Fall of a Rail Manufacturing Giant: N. I.
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