As mentioned above, the last few years have seen an extraordinarily rapid development of industry in Russia, while still at the outbreak of the revolution this preserved old-fashioned forms insufficient for the growing needs of the country, although in the decade preceding the world war the tsarist government he had made serious and successful efforts to put up with other European countries (between 1900 and 1911 the number of factories had increased by more than 1 / 3. With the loss, which took place as a result of the war, of the western regions, better equipped in this regard (and above all of Poland, where a large part of the Russian pre-war industry was concentrated), and with the serious shocks caused by the revolution in the socio-economic, the crisis became more and more acute, so that the Soviet government was forced to face the problem of a radical reorganization in full. His efforts were therefore directed not so much at favoring the resumption of so to speak traditional activities, or even only at the intensification and technical improvement of the old companies, but at increasing first of all, in the general volume of the industry, the readiness the means and tools necessary for the development and national autonomy of production. Taking as an index the level reached in the immediate pre-war period, Russian industry has almost quadrupled in twenty years, until it assumed a leadership position in the country’s economy. In fact, the value of industrial products in 1933 represented 70.4 in the economy as a whole% (in comparison with the 42.1% that it was entitled to in 1913), but the most notable place was occupied by the construction of apparatus and machines intended precisely to reconstruct, on different bases, all the activity of the country, inside and outside of the strictly industrial sector.
The location of the new activities proves that these too tend to increasingly adhere to the geographical conditions that condition and regulate their development; thus, for example, the concentration of steel and mechanical industries in the mining areas (Urals, Ukraine, Moscow basin), milling in the grain regions, chemicals in Ukraine and the Urals, textiles in the central area, etc. However, due to the intense development of urbanism, which always accompanies the industrialization process, and all the more with methods that characterize it in many regions of the new Russia, the convenience or necessity of the plant, in these, is often determined. gradually different forms of industrial activity, as happened, as well as in the two great historical capitals, in Ukraine,
Four major districts can be isolated in the European territory of the USSR. The most complex and most important is certainly the Ukrainian one, which extends along the lower courses of the Dnieper and Don; in addition to its great variety of raw materials, this sector benefits greatly from its greater proximity to the sea, which puts it in communication with territories to which it is economically linked. The metallurgical and mechanical extractive industries form its most notable nucleus (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Sialin, Slavjansk, Artemovsk, Char′kov, Rostov, Zaporož′e, etc.), but chemists are also widely represented (if nothing else with the state-of-the-art Gorlovka plant for the preparation of synthetic nitrogen), and the food stores that have large meat storage plants (Poltava,
Metallurgy and mechanical industries also stand out in the Uralic district, which stretches from S. to N. for over a thousand km. (wholesale between 52nd and 62nd N.), and they ally themselves with the chemical industries (Solikamslc), with those of wood, paper, skins, leather, etc. The most notable centers here are Perm ′, Ufa and Zlatoust.
The central district, which takes its name from Moscow, is characterized above all by the spread of spinning mills and weaving mills, which represent the oldest industrial activity there; together with the capital, they have large and modern factories Vladimir, Ivanovo Voznesensk, Tver ′, Jaroslavl ′, Kaluga, Vyšnij Voloček and Kostroma. The first plants, in the same region, of metallurgical and mechanical plants, recently enlarged and transformed, date back to the pre-war period; significant is the production of automobile s (Nizhny Novgorod iGor′kij], Jaroslavl ′, Moscow), locomotives (Sormovo, Bryansk, Kolomna), railway equipment, aircraft, tractors, agricultural machinery, etc. Chemical industries are also represented there, together with the processing of rubber (Moscow, Kolomna), paper, leather, glass, etc.
Last and most northerly of all is the Baltic district, which is centered on Leningrad; among the many industries that are established here, it is worth remembering, for their good technical equipment and relatively distant tradition, those of shipyards, ceramics and paper.
As for industrial production in the USSR, the statistics first of all highlight the progress achieved in the steel and metallurgy branch (relatively the least advanced in the pre-war period), as shown in the table below.
Despite the efforts made, however, the USSR is still far from covering the national needs; nor is it surprising, when one thinks that between 1929 and 1933 the number of tractors put into operation alone increased from 35,000 to over 204,000, that of trucks more than sixfold and that of light cars more than tenfold (production from less than 2000 to about 50,000 vehicles per year between 1929 and 1933).
No less remarkable is the progress made by the chemical industries, whose modern equipment is ultimately almost all post-war (at the beginning of the twentieth century these absorbed just 2.5% of the industrial plants in all of Russia).
Among the textile industries, which were by far the best advanced in the pre-war period, the cotton mill is the most conspicuous branch (9.2 million spindles in 1932, against 6.2 million in 1900). While still not enough for domestic consumption, it has at least managed to regain its pre-war positions. Silk and woolen mills follow him at a great distance; the linificio is little more than local, active mainly in northern Russia (Vologda, Arcangelo).
Given the very wide use that the Russian is forced to make of wood, it is not surprising that the industrial treatment of wood has a long and honored tradition throughout the country, most of all in the central and northern regions. Alongside large-scale industry, which had little progress in the pre-war period and now counts numerous modernly equipped factories, the domestic processing of a still quite numerous handicraft, especially in central Russia, has well resisted and continues to resist. The increase in the production of cellulose, both mechanical and chemical, appears to be very modest, nor much greater is that of paper and cardboard, which must indeed be imported to a considerable extent.
Food industries also count for a short life (at least as modern equipment); that of meat preservation was indeed introduced after the World War, and the dairy is still waiting for a convenient accommodation in the European sector. The sugar factory is thriving only in Ukraine; the overall production of the USSR, on the other hand, is significantly lower than that of the pre-war period.
The diffusion of the ceramic industry is moderate (central Russia); even more extensive that of cement, which considerably exceeded the pre-war quantities (from 1907 to 3489 thousand tons between 1913 and 1928).
The increasingly widespread use that industries make of electricity has also given a vigorous impetus to the use of water resources. These are valued for the entire USSR at over 16 million HP, of which 8.4 are due to the European sector. However, the installed power is just 360,000 HP in this, about 100 in the Asian sector. The most notable power stations are, to the west of the Urals, those of Dneprostroj (which has 800,000 HP) and Samara. The energy produced throughout the USSR has more than doubled in four years, from 6252 to 15,855 million kWh. between 1929 and 1933.