209. Getting money
“- Where do you get the money? - From the bedside table. - And who puts money in the bedside table? - Wife! - And where does she get the money from? - I give it to her! - And where did you get them from? - I take it from the bedside table!” 
“I'm standing with a net and waiting for the money thrown to the wind to fly by.” 
“People need to be trusted. Not with money, of course. Or secrets, God forbid. Just in general.”
“Advice of the day. If you don't have enough money in your life, you just need to become rich, and then there will be enough money.”
Economic situation within the Russian Empire was changing. The Emancipation reform which was going on, piece by piece, since the start of the century was, for all practical purposes, completed, leaving less than 10% of the rural population in some form of a serfdom and even this number was shrinking both due to the government’s foreclosures of the mortgaged properties  and because it simply became economically ineffective for the owners: after all, a serf owner had certain legal responsibilities and could not dispose of the elderly and sick human “property” but as soon as the former serfs became free renters, they ceased to be his responsibility and could be kicked out if they failed to pay rent in time.
Of course, not everyone on both sides of the equation ended up being happy but the government did not really care . A prosperous part of the land-owners class, expanded by the not-noble “agrarian capitalists”, was doing just fine under the new system and the rest had to adjust one way or another. On the opposite side of the social spectrum there was a considerable amount of noice when the former serfs found that the land they used to consider as their is actually not and has to be bought or rented. But the Russian government had a long history of dealing with the peasants’ unhappiness and developed effective methods of “education” (as when the peasants were revolting against government’s program of introducing potato or sending the doctors to fight the cholera) so even before their backs and posteriors stopped itching the unhappy ones, started understanding the errors of their ways and were ready to listen to the explanations delivered by the local administration. On their part, these administrators tended to be well-versed in the methods of eloquence which are especially effective in conveying the government’s message in an easy to understood and effective form. The main principle was formulated later by vice-governor of the Tverskaya gubernia: “The first word with which an experienced administrator is addressing a rebellious mob must be an obscenity.”
Of course, changes of that type couldn’t happen without serious problems elsewhere and the most visible impact was on Ural’s metallurgy which was traditionally based upon the serf-labor. For few years production of the cast iron in the region noticeably went down and the rest of the metallurgic regions just had been able to keep the total output on the earlier level of 9-10,000 thousands puds annually.
By the mid 1820s production of the new areas of the Southern Russia kicked in on a big scale, old metallurgy of the European Russia was modernizing quite fast, being more dynamic from the very beginning and closer to the big coal deposits of the Southern Russia. Then the old Ural plants finally readjusted themselves to a new labor model . So by the late 1820s Russian production of the cast iron jumped up to 40,000 thousands puds, just slightly behind the British, and kept growing but there was a serious change in specialization. The new metallurgy of the South, especially after construction of the local railroads connecting the ores from Krivoy Rog and Kursk with the Donbass coal, surpassed Ural more than twice in production of cast iron and iron even if Ural’s production kept growing.
But Ural and Kuznetsk had the obvious advantage as far as the markets of Russian Asia, Central Asia and Far East had been involved so a considerable part of their production were machinery, rails, various tools, agricultural implements and other consumer goods used East of the Ural.
Metallurgic plants of the European Russia could not compete with the South and almost completely switched to the finished goods from the machinery to knives.
Production of the weaponry had been traditionally split between the state-owned plants (Permsky State artillery plant, St. Petersburg State artillery plant, Obukhov State Steel-making plant, Izevsky State weaponry plant, Sestroretsk State weaponry plant, Tula State weaponry plant) and numerous privately-owned plants working on the state contracts. With the general developments in Europe it was getting increasingly clear that demands of the military will be requiring the increasing volumes of iron and high quality steel (and the methods of their effective production).
The same system existed for the gunpowder production. Obviously, to produce gunpowder you need to have the necessary components out of which “traditionally” the most problematic was sulphur. The first sulphur deposits in the Samara area had been found and exploited during the reign of Peter I but they were exhausted, to a great degree due to the inefficient methods, and for the following decades the Russian Empire was relying mostly upon the imports. However, starting from the early XIX interest to the domestic resources was renewed and the new promising deposits had been found in various areas of the Volga region and near Krasnoyarsk.
“Geologist N.S. Obukhovsky, while looking for gypsum, found sulfur ores close to the surface in the Shorkina Yama tract near the village of Alekseevka, Kinel volost. Further studies have found that the richest deposit is on a second layer, which has an average height of 1 meter, a maximum of up to 3 meters, and an average sulfur content in the layers is about 11 percent. On the basis of this field, Alekseevsky Sulfur Plant was put into operation in December 1835.”
Export of the cast iron, iron and steel almost stopped: practically all production was consumed by a fast growing domestic market. But import of the iron-based finished production also shrunk dramatically being limited to the new types of the engines, instruments, etc.
While cast iron was still a major product, production of an wrought iron and steel had been a growing priority. The main research in that area had been happening on Zlatoust State weaponry plant in Cheliabinsk region founded in 1815.
More than a hundred specialists from well-known weapons centers in Europe, including Solingen, Remscheid and Klingenthal, were invited to establish production. Masters from the Tula and Olonets plants were also invited. In the first years of the factory's existence, workers were trained, and in 1821 serial production of weapons began. One of the first leaders of the factory from 1824 to 1847 was Pavel Petrovich Anosov.
He worked on the plant in various capacities since 1817 and his main interest was the methods of converting cast iron into steel. In 1821, Anosov proposed an improved design of cylindrical air blowers and then developed method of gas cementation of steel. Anosov was the first metallurgist to start a systematic study of the influence of various elements on steel. He studied the additives of gold, platinum, manganese, chromium, aluminum, titanium and other elements and was the first to prove that the physical, chemical and mechanical properties of steel can be significantly changed and improved by the additives of some alloying elements. Anosov laid the foundations for metallurgy of alloy steels. However, his main interest (taking into an account that the plant’s main task was production of the cold weapons) was industrial
production of the bulat
(damask) steel in which he was very successful, creating famous zlatoust steel.
Since 1835, the Zlatoust Factory has been the only state-owned enterprise in the country that armed the army with bladed weapons.
Being appointed the head of the mining district of Zlatoust factories, he proposed to use a blast furnace to extract gold. A gold washing machine of its design worked in the Miass crafts. Exploring the existing ways of extracting gold, he found out that when washing gold sands, 131 times less gold was mined than it was actually contained in the sands. As a way out, he developed a method of gold mining by blast furnace melting of gold-containing sands. During melting, gold turns into cast iron, where it can be extracted by dissolving the metal in sulfuric acid. Application of this method gave a gold yield 28 times more than with conventional washing.
Of course, Zlatoust was not the only place: the metallurgic plants had been actively looking for the new ways of iron production and, besides the domestic experiments, the specialists were routinely sent to the metallurgic plants of Britain, France and Prussia.
So, the circumstances changed and one of the most important Russian export items, cast iron, was gone from the list. However, export of the flax, hemp and tallow, which formed something like half the total value of Russian exports at the beginning of the nineteenth century, kept steady and will remain. so as long as a majority of the ships remained wooden and had sails (even as an addition to the steam). Their annual exports (in thousands tons) remained pretty much the same: hemp - 45 - 50, flax - 60 - 70 and tallow - 59 - 60. England took between two-thirds and three-quarters of Russia's exports of hemp, flax and tallow during the first half of the nineteenth century, and these Russian goods totally dominated the English market.
exports were growing during the first part of the nineteenth century: they consisted mainly of rye from the Baltic region and wheat from the Black Sea ports. The value of grain exports rose every year, constituting by the end of the 1820s about 15 per cent and of the 1830s about 31 per cent of the total value of Russia's exports with a potential for a further growth. The growth was accounted for mainly by wheat from the Black Sea ports. These ports already dominated grain exports as early as the 1830s. This increase in grain exports from the south Russian steppelands wrought a fundamental transformation of the trade routes to and from the Russian market, especially as regards Russian exports. In 1802, about 70 per cent of Russia's foreign trade passed through the Baltic ports (St. Petersburg and the Swedish ports), but in 1830 the figure was only 35 per cent. The rest was Black Sea wheat.
Russian grain was being marketed in England, Italy, France, Prussia, Austria, Turkey and Holland; three-quarters of the oats went to England but the grain exports there were handicapped by the British Corn Laws introduced in 1814 to protect the domestic production.
Another traditional Russian and Swedish export item, the timber (3% of the Russian export), also was hard hit by the British tariff of 1809 that was almost prohibitive in its effect on timber products from Europe, especially Russia-Sweden, but was highly favourable to the colonies. To some degree it was compensated by the growing French import but not completely.
However, with a sharp growth of the grain exports sum total of the Russian exports of the main products kept growing from 102 millions rubles in 1810 to 165 millions in 1830.
The main trade partner in Asia, China (4-5% of the Russian foreign trade), was steadily generating a deficit: Russia wanted the increasing volumes of the tea and China kept nomenclature of its imports artificially limited by insisting on state-controlled barter trade
as the main form of a business.
Then, there was a geography issue: China’s northern provinces close to the Russian border, especially Mongolia, were poor and even with an extended ability to trade on the Chinese side of the Amur, market there was not too promising. Manchuria was a little bit better off but not too much because the Qing government was still trying to prevent the massive Chinese migration there. Not that the ordinary Chinese peasants were not dirt poor but they were hard workers and could, potentially, provide a considerable market for the cheap Russian goods. As it was now, getting into China proper by land was not a practical idea as far as a big volume trade was involved (caravans crossing steppes, deeserts and mountains with the local bandits along the route) and Canton, while formally
, being a free trade zone, was anything but “free” because the foreigners were allowed to deal only with the Cohong
Going to war with China just to improve what amounted to 4% of the Russian foreign trade did not make too much sense but, fortunately, there was a clear indication that sooner rather than later the situation is going to improve without Russia spending a single ruble. In 1834, partly concerned with the moral decay of the people and partly with the outflow of silver, the Daoguang Emperor charged High Commissioner Lin Tse-hsu
with ending the opium trade conducted by the EIC. Taking into an account the company’s attitude to the profits and the general support of its activities by the British political class and a general public, it was reasonable to expect that this action will result in a counter-action, which, taking into an account a lousy condition of Qing military, will end badly for China. Of course, the Brits will get most of the advantages but Russian Empire will also be able to get what it wants by a pure diplomacy and a little bit of a blackmail.
Japan could be a more promising market but this would require to do something about the Seclusion Law because, as with China, it was allowing only a barter trade and so far Bakufu was rather reluctant to allow a broader nomenclature of the imports.
The Ottoman Empire, with Egypt, remained a stable trade partner but, even with Istanbul’s food market, it remained a relatively small potato. Of course, the reforms of Muhammed Ali, by turning Egypt into grain importer, were opening a new promising market. So far, the French were actively trying to establish Egypt as their zone of influence but their main opposition were the Brits. Russian imports to Egypt had been facing minimal or no competition from either power (none of which was supplying the foodstuffs) and none of them would like too see its main rival openly allying with Russia because this would shift a power balance dramatically. So both of them had been reasonably nice.
Persian trade was reasonably profitable but its volume had been too small to be a significant factor.
Trade with the US was rather sporadic and not big enough to be a serious factor but RAC already started having issues with so far friendly Americans who seemingly had problems with a notion that unlicensed hunting of the sea mammals and whaling in the foreign waters, not to mention selling the firearms to the natives on a foreign territory, may be considered illegal and as such punishable. So far, there were just the accidents which both governments could ignore.
 Unknown author. Probably a politician or finance minister.
 Another good way to get money.
 A majority of the estates had been mortgaged in the state-owned Land Bank. Out of them many had been re-mortgaged more than once to get cash and/or to be able to keep paying the (growing) debt. For a while the government had been maintaining this lenient policy with a purpose to support the land-owning class. However, nothing is forever and when majority of the debtors became clearly incapable of paying the accumulated debts the government started the foreclosures paying the former owners a difference between the debt and assessed value of the estate. After this was done the serfs of the estate automatically became the “state peasants”, aka, for all practical purposes, the free people with a right to relocate, start business, etc. What’s equally important, they could act as the individuals,
not the community members, aka, they could own land individually,
pay taxes individually, etc.
Or they could remain in a community, if they wanted. Of course, Minister responsible for proposing and conducting this reform, Minister of the State Properties Count Kiselev, wad hated by the land-owners but he seemingly did not care because by that time the serf-owners already ceased to be the influential class; both military and civic administration predominantly consisted of the people who did not have any serfs or had too few to depend upon them as a source of income: thanks to the Russian system of splitting the inheritance, sometimes few “serfowners” shared ownership of a single serf family.
 Neither did it care in OTL. The serf-owners got not the money but certificates with a delayed payments. If they wanted cash they could sell these certificates to the speculators. With a discount, of course. Rather tellingly, a big percentage of them was just looking for spending the money in Russia or abroad without thinking about the future. To get the extra cash they were selling whatever was left of their estates (manor house, the land left to them, forest, etc.). A minority adopted to become “the rural capitalists” owning the productive agricultural enterprises. Fate of the rest was varying.
 Was not easy because many of the old (former serf) work force had been (in OTL) rather demoralized by the coming changes with the resulting endemic drunkenness while the newcomers did not have a needed experience. It took time for the things to get back to normal and it also took time to create a new infrastructure supporting the modern technologies.
 Century here, century there, do you really care? Of course, in OTL it was 1935.