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Constructing in Russia in XX Century

Fedorenko N.P.

Simtchera V.M.



During 1900-2000 Russia has carried out the most grandiose program of capital construction. The fixed assets, constructed during these 100 years, in 69 times exceeded those existed in Russia in the beginning of the 20th century. Capital investments in the economy during 20th century (in prices of 2000 year) have increased more than 100 fold: from 11,6 to 1165,2 billion rubles (i.e. from 0,4 to 38,4 billion US dollars respectively). The initial burst of this growth was replaced by a drastic reduction during the years of Revolution and Civil war 1917-1922, than by a significant increase during 1929-1941 and 1946-1985 and especially strong reduction due to collapse of the Soviet Union during 1991-2000. In general, capitals decreased more than threefold for the past decade, including: fixed assets - on 80%, gross accumulation of capital - on 78% and investments - on 74%. In monetary equivalent, a drop in investments was 3316,3 billion rubles (100 billion US dollars).

During the past century in Russia, more than 60 000 large industrial enterprises were either built from scratch or restored, more than 3,5 billion square meters of apartment buildings and more than 14,5 billion square meters of industrial areas were constructed. During the same period, the amount of primary contract construction agencies has increased more than 14 fold (from 1,3 to 18,5 thousands), the number of construction workers has increased more than 16 fold (from about 0,6 to 9,0 in 1990 and 5,0 in 2000, in mln people).

In the beginning of the 20th century the relative proportion of the construction works not exceeded 1,5% in Russian economy. At the end of the century this reading reached 10 %. The share of constructing in gross internal revenue was 8,5% in 1995 and 8,2% - in 2000, in numbers of employed people - 9,3% and 7,9%; in fixed assets - 3,6% and 1,8% and in investments - 2,5% and 3 % respectively.

Among the particulars constructed in Russia during the past century - are the building sites in the world. The following were built before the October Revolution: Baikal Railroad (1900), East-Chinese Railroad (1903), Tzaritzin's steel-works (currently Volgograd's "Red October" plant) and electric-mechanical plant producing dynamos and engines in Kronshtadt (began to operate in 1902), first oil factory in Ukhta (1913), Voronezh excavator plant (1915), Moscow automobile plant, Trans-Siberian railroad and the largest bridge in the world "Amur's Miracle" (all built in 1916), ice-breaker "Svyatogor" which displacement volume was 10800 tons etc. During WWI a railroad from Petrozavodsk to Murmansk was constructed for a single year. This allowed exploration of rich mineral resources of Kola Peninsula.

During 20th century, more than 250 new cities were built, including such a large ones as: Kemerovo, Dzerzhinsk, Magnitogorsk, Komsomolsk-na-Amure, Magadan, Norilsk and others.

The number of contract construction agencies was gradually increasing till 1990. At the beginning of 20th century, there were only 2560 of such agencies in Russia, more than 12500 in the middle of the century and 19200 in 1990. During the last decade, the number of such agencies has increased tenfold - 118 200 in 2000, excluding 135 900 of so called small constructing and project-exploratory businesses with average number of workers up to 10 people. The amount of large-scale businesses, with more than 200 workers was only 2 700 (comparing to former 10 500). The amount of actual state owned construction businesses was only 4 800 comparing to former 17 300, including 414 large enterprises.

In the beginning of 20th century, less than 25 % of the total amount of construction works was performed by contract business enterprises, in the middle of the century (1950-1960) the proportion of such works reached 85 %, and exceeded 95 % at the end of the century.

During the last decade of the 20th century (1991-2000) the construction business deteriorated, mainly due to collapse of the Soviet Union. The construction of the fixed assets decreased more than 80 %, capital investment decreased on 74 %, the amount of construction works - on 78 %. No large construction projects, comparable to those seen in Russia during the socialism period, were developed. The construction of more than 25000 industrial and other large enterprises were frozen, with many of them totally destroyed or barely functioning, with work output of only 5-7% of their highest levels. Military-industrial enterprises, which have formed the basis of Russia's high technologies were destroyed on the premise of disarmament and transition to production of "peaceful" items. Russia's economy forever lost practically all of its 750 000 construction objects not completed during 1985-1990, including 30 000 objects, the realization of which was frozen during these years. The Russian construction industry was destroyed during the so called Perestroyka



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