Prices and salaries in Russia at the beginning of XX century

Prices and salaries in Russia in the early XX century, devoted a lot of articles. But all these articles on prices and wages in pre-revolutionary Russia, are very different in content, depending on the time of writing.

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If you wrote an article in the Soviet time, then it goes to explicitly focus on the miserable wages, especially the working class, and are terribly extortionate prices for food and other consumer goods in the Russian Empire at the time. If the article has a start date of 1990, then it will contain the opposite of the dizzying growth of GDP and the rate of development of the Russian economy in the early 20th century, compared with other countries. And also unrealistically low prices for goods and services within the country, and high-income countries ordinary Russian citizens in Imperial Russia. There are also articles of the day, where on one page without thinking get on quite a few times conflicting data on prices and wages in Russia at that time.

So let's slowly understand: what were the prices and salaries in Russia in the early XX century, just based on real documents: the orders and decisions of the Government and the Ministries of the Russian Empire, price lists, price lists, reports, statements of income and expenses of books, menus and invoices that time. We begin our journey in the 1900-s and familiarity with the prices of the early 20th century, with the most popular product in Russia at all times. That's right, you guessed it, a tip. In those days, in Czarist Russia vodka sold only in special state-owned liquor stores. Above the entrance to the wine store, as well as at the entrance to any government, wearing the coat of arms: the two-headed eagle. The state maintains a monopoly on the production and sale of vodka. Here at no stage has always sold two types of vodka. Krasnogolovka (red cap), vodka, who called the people "kazenka." Price for a bottle of vodka a (0.61 liters) in the early 20th century, was 40 cents. The second sort of vodka — a "Belogolovka" (white cap), this vodka double cleaning. A bottle of vodka in the pre-revolutionary Russia was worth 60 cents. Bottles sold a quarter (1/4 buckets) in a wicker basket, which was 3 liters. And most small bottles of vodka were 1/10 of the ordinary bottles that the people back then was called "merzavchik" 0.061 liters. For such a small bottle you had to pay in a government liquor store just 6 cents. In this case, cheap beer varieties "Bright", "Vienna", "Starogradskoe", "Munich" in the early 20th century worth of 6 to 10 cents per 1 liter. Bottled beer because of the cost of glass cost more, about 20 cents per bottle. Wine is expensive and prestigious brands came to 5-9 rubles per bottle. Capacity of the bottle of wine before the Revolution was 0.75 liters. Thus for a cheap house wine in different provinces of Russia had to pay only 5-20 cents per liter. Cognac cost 3 rubles and prices ended up $ 100 per bottle.

Well, that all prices include the store, and how much you had to pay for a shot of vodka (1/6 bottles = 100 grams) in a tavern, which at the time of pre-revolutionary Russia has called a tavern. In general, unlike the inn on its older predecessor "tavern" in the fact that the pub was available only alcohol, but still in the tavern except alcohol and could dine. So, in a cheap inn on the outskirts of a provincial town, to pay 5 cents, you can have a drink polstopki, ie 50-60 grams of low-cost and most likely highly diluted vodka. On zakus-quick offered most popular snack with vodka at all times — this, right, pickles just 1 penny. And eat "to spoil" in these cheap taverns can be had for 10 cents. By the way, on the market for two cents you can safely choose a dozen selected pickles (12 pieces). In such cheap drinking establishments located was not very comfortable and safe. Constantly darted suspicious, semi-criminal personality, drunken carter, laborers. Murders and robberies were not uncommon there. It is quite another thing, it's a decent pubs, in our on-site dining. These decent and so popular during the early 20th century taverns were very pleased to pass the evening. Cutlery sparkling clean, starched tablecloths and were amazingly white, flashed everywhere deft and neat sex (waiters), and from the kitchen spread wonderfully aromatic and tasty smells. Here dinner was worth in 1900-s in Russia for 30-50 cents. But it was, according to the memoirs of contemporaries, justified. A shot of vodka in a similar cultural institutions already cost the 10 cents, but it was definitely breech vodka! Not spoiled. For beer (0.61 liters) should pay up to 10 cents. Tea with two lumps of sugar cost only 5 cents. In well-known restaurants, of course, eat more expensive cost. The average meal in a decent restaurant in the XX century, Imperial Russia had to pay at the rate of 1.5 — 2 rubles. This is a fee for the usual lunch: first, second, a salad, a couple of shots of vodka, dessert, no frills. After dinner, well-fed and respectable Russian citizens leaving the restaurant excitedly tried to persuade a cab to go to the cabbies. In major cities in those years was the only public transport tram, usually, the price was 5 cents without a transplant, and 7 cents with change. But, of course, the main mode of transport was the cab driven dashing cabs. Usually a trip to Russia in the early 20th century in the city cabbies take 20 cents. However, the price has always been negotiated and changed the degree of supply / demand. Although, even in the pre-revolutionary times landside cabbies were the most expensive, which shamelessly declared 50 cents per often not very long trip from the station to the nearest hotel. As for the stations, and travel. Of course, in those days mainly traveled by rail. First class ticket from Moscow to St. Petersburg was worth 16 rubles, while in a sitting car could get and for 6 rubles 40 kopecks. From Moscow to Tver in first class can be reached in a 7 rubles 25 kopecks, and the third — to reach for 3 rubles 10 kopecks. Porters are happy to offer a service bring bags for 5 cents. Large luggage, which occupies the entire truck, were taken to the train or the back of a maximum fee of 10 cents. We return to the hotel … in the hotel for a very wealthy gentlemen in luxurious rooms with all facilities, telephone, restaurant, etc. room costs about 08.05 rubles per day. Room with no frills, but quite decent costing 0.7 — 2 rubles per day. Bed-cost 15-60 cents a day. In general, in pre-revolutionary Russia in the early 20th century accommodation in average cost 20 cents per month per square meter. In the center of Moscow-bedroom apartment with luxurious decor and renovation of the art of the time costs about 100-150 per month. A small apartment with a tawdry situation on the outskirts of 07.05 rubles. The usual cost of a rented apartment for a family with an average income, ie about 80 rubles, was about 15 per month. Call friends and family out of the hotel and tell them how to arrange cost from Petersburg to Moscow 50 cents per minute, and pay at least 1.50 rubles per connection. Cheaper to write a letter, send it over to be paid only 3-4 cent. Or send a telegram. In another city, send the word passed through the telegraph, it was worth only 5 cents, and send a message to someone's cottage in a suburb just 1 penny per word. Send a parcel within the Russian Empire up to 1 kilogram cost only 25 cents, and for sending parcels weighing up to 5 pounds to be paid 65 cents. Besides restaurants you can have fun and culture by going to the theater. For example, be in Moscow and not go to the Bolshoi ballet or opera was considered not decent. Tickets to individual preference boxes cost 30 rubles, for a place in the front ranks of porter should pay between 3 and 5 rubles, and see the show in the gallery was worth only 30-60 cents. From a cultural food in the early 20th century, now everything is clear, we will return to the market prices in the pre-revolutionary Russian food.

Here is a list of prices for the products of the time, although at the time all were measuring in pounds, the rate per kilo for clarity:

Loaf of black stale bread weighing 400 grams — 3 pennies,

Rye loaf of fresh bread weighing 400 grams — 4 cents,

Loaf of white bread, biscuit, weighing 300 grams — 7 cents,

Potatoes, fresh crop of 1 kg — 15 cents,

Old crop potatoes 1 kg — 5 cents,

Rye flour 1 kg — 6 cents,

Oat flour 1 kg — 10 cents,

Wheat flour 1 kg — 24 kopecks,

Potato flour 1 kg — 30 cents,

Simple pasta 1 kilogram — 20 cents,

Noodles from flour 1 kg — 32 kopecks,

Second grade sugar 1 kg — 25 cents,

Lump sugar refined select 1 kg — 60 cents,

Tula gingerbread cookies with jam 1 kg — 80 cents,

Chocolate 1 kg — 3 BR,

Coffee Beans 1 kg — 2 rubles

1 kilogram of tea leaf — 3 BR,

Salt 1 kg — 3 pennies,

1 liter of fresh milk — 14 cents,

Fat cream 1 liter — 60 cents,

Sour cream 1 liter — 80 cents,

Cottage cheese 1 kg — 25 cents,

Cheese "Russian" one kilogram — 70 cents,

Cheese on foreign technology "Swiss" 1 kg — 1 ruble 40 kopecks

Butter 1 kg — 1 ruble 20 kopecks,

Sunflower oil 1 liter — 40 cents,

Chicken Man 1 kilogram — 80 cents,

Egg pick of a dozen or 25 cents,

Veal tenderloin paired 1 kg — 70 cents,

Meat, beef blade 1 kg — 45 cents,

Meat pork neck 1 kg — 30 cents,

Fish, fresh perch river 1 kg — 28 cents,

Fish, fresh walleye river 1 kg — 50 cents,

Fish, fresh catfish 1 kg — 20 cents,

Fish, fresh bream 1 kg — 24 cents,

Frozen fish salmon 1 kg — 60 cents,

Frozen fish salmon 1 kg — 80 cents,

Frozen fish sturgeon 1 kg — 90 cents,

Black caviar 1 kg — 3 rubles 20 kopecks,

Black caviar payusnaya 1 grade 1 kg — 1 ruble 80 kopecks,

Black caviar payusnaya 2 grades 1 kg — 1 ruble 20 kopecks,

Black caviar payusnaya 3 grades 1 kg — 80 cents,

Caviar 1 kilogram of salt — 2 rubles 50 kopecks,

Vegetables fresh cabbage 1 kg — 10 cents,

Vegetables sauerkraut 1 kg — 20 cents,

Vegetables onions 1 kg — 5 cents,

Vegetables carrots 1 kg — 8 cents,

Choicest vegetables tomatoes 1 kg — 45 cents.

A little about the cost of things in the early XX century in Imperial Russia:

Let's start with the cost of uniforms and military uniforms, which the Russian officers were forced to purchase for their money, and it is with the low salaries of officers (which will be given at the end of the article) clearly cost them dearly.

Boots ceremonial officers — 20 rubles

Dress uniform officers — 70 rubles,

Chief officer's cap — 3 BR,

Ulanskaya cap — 20 rubles

Hat hussar staff — 12 rubles,

Epaulets headquarters officers gilt — 13 rubles,

Spurs — 14 rubles,

Dragoon and Cossack saber — 15 rubles,

Officer Pack — 4 rubles.

Clothing for the civilian population is much cheaper:
Shirt Weekend — 3 BR,

Business suit for clerks — 8 rubles,

Coat length — 15 rubles,

Boots barren-5 rubles

Summer shoes-2 rubles

Accordion-7 rubles 50 kopecks,

Gramophone-40 rubles

Royal famous brand — 200 rubles,

Car without additional equipment — 2,000 rubles,

Alternative and the main means of transportation in those days, of course, was the horse, which cost

Horse carts for -100 rubles

Dray horse, work — 70 rubles,

Old horse for sausage — 20 rubles

Good horse, on which the people seem to not be ashamed — from 150 rubles,

A good dairy cow — 60 rubles.

Well, the prices are now more and more, or less clear, come to the salaries in the early 20th century. Thus, the average salary in the Russian Empire, the employees of factories and office junior ranks from 1880 to 1913 increased from 16 to 24 rubles a month. This figure is quite small compared to the average salaries in other developed European countries during the same period. For ease of comparison, all data are given salary in rubles at the gold parity exchange rates at the time. For example, in Italy, the average salary in manufacturing and low-ranking government employees increased from 19 to 32 rubles a month, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire — from 28 to 44 rubles, France — 30 to 41 rubles, Germany — from 42 to 57 rubles, in England — from 47 to 61 rubles in the U.S. — from 63 to 112 rubles. But we must not forget cheapness of products and goods produced in Imperial Russia in comparison with those countries.

About a similar situation is observed in the change of the annual per capita income for the period from 1894 to 1913. In Russia, the annual increase in the national income per unit of the population has increased from 67 to 101 rubles. In Japan, the increase was from 24 to 60 rubles, in Italy from 104 to 230 rubles, in Austria-Hungary — from 127 to 227 rubles, France — from 233 to 355 rubles, in Germany — from 184 to 292 rubles, in England — from 273 to 463 rubles in the U.S. — from 290 to 545 rubles. The only thing we should not forget that the increase of the population in Russia ahead of all European countries, second only to the U.S., where growth was supported by a fairly large flow of labor migration. All these figures show that the growth of GDP and the standard of living in Russia there is still slower than in other developed countries. But, with its enormous natural resources, which have already been so necessary for industrial development in the 20th century, Russia could very well use this natural "head start" for more rapid development of its economy. If not for the war, weak, weak-willed government (after Stolypin's death), and, unfortunately, much, much more …

But, back to salaries in Imperial Russia in the early XX century, in 1913. The average wage of workers and employees in small 24 rubles a very relative concept, so let's take a closer look: who and how many earn in a month.

So, the very low-paid part of employees in Russia was a servant, who received a month: 3 to 5 rubles for women and 5 to 10 rubles for men. However, an employer other than the servants allowances provided free shelter, food, and, as a rule, apparel and equipment with a "master's shoulder." Very often, this profession was hereditary, and the children of servants, growing up and becoming the service, saw life only from the window of the manor house. Furthermore, by increasing wages in Russia in the early 20th century are working provincial plants, rural factories, laborers, porters. Their salaries ranged from 8 to 15 per month. And it was not uncommon, when one-tenth of the salary was issued the card, which could only otovaritsya Factory Outlet products at inflated prices, by far, not the first freshness. Primarily to earn more working in steel mills in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The salary of these workers in the early XX century in Imperial Russia ranged from 25 to 35 rubles. And the representatives of the so-called aristocracy of labor, ie professional turners, fitters, foremen, supervisors received from 50 to 80 rubles a month.

Now for the salary of employees in pre-revolutionary Russia. Most small salary at the beginning of XX century were in junior ranks of civil servants to 20 rubles a month. The same number of employees receive a simple email, zemstvo primary school teachers, assistants, pharmacists, nurses, librarians, etc. Many more doctors receive, for example, in the district hospital, they had a salary 80 rubles, 35 rubles in paramedics and hospital chief received 125 rubles a month. In small rural hospitals in the state where there was only one medical assistant, he received a salary of 55 rubles. High school teachers in the male and female gymnasiums were obtained from 80 to 100 rubles a month. The postmaster, railroad, steamship stations in major cities had monthly salaries ranging from 150 to 300 rubles. State Duma deputies received salary of 350 rubles, the governors have salaries around one thousand rubles, and ministers and senior officials, members of the State Council — 1,500 rubles a month.

The army officer's salary at the beginning of XX century in the Russian Empire after the increase in 1909 were the following. The lieutenant had a salary of 70 rubles per month, plus 30 cents per day for the guard and 7 rubles surcharge for rental housing, totaling RUB 80 all together. The lieutenant received a salary of 80 rubles plus the same apartment and the guards are 10 rubles in the amount of 90 rubles. The captain received a salary from 93 to 123 rubles, the captain — from 135 to 145 rubles, and the colonel from 185 to 200 rubles per month. Colonel Royal Army received from the Emperor a salary of 320 rubles a month, the general as commander of the division had a salary of 500 rubles, and the general as commander of the body — 725 rubles per month.

Materials used:

The social history of Russia in the period of the Empire. Boris Mironov St. Petersburg, 2003
The reign of Emperor Nicholas II in facts and figures. Brazal BL Minsk, 1991
A series of articles on the economic situation in Russia in the late XIX-early XX centuries. Rubakin NA
Moscow and Muscovites. Gilyarovsky VA
Prices and salaries: the pre-revolutionary Russia. Shirokogorov VL
Russian officer corps on the eve of the First World War. Zajaczkowski PA

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