HC Deb 21 March 1922 vol 152 cc263-4W

asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the amount of German capital invested in Russia before the War; and what Russian industries were especially under German control?


Dr. Ischchanian, whose book "Die Auslandischen Elemente in der russischen Volkswirthschaft" (published at Berlin in 1913) is one of the few sources of information on this subject, estimated the total amount of foreign capital investments in Russian trade and industry at slightly more than 2,368 million marks (about £116,000,000 at par), of which German capital formed 1,000 million marks (about £49,000,000). German capital, he says, was chiefly concentrated in Poland, especially at Warsaw and Lodz. about 150 million marks being invested in the textile, iron, and mining industries of Warsaw and the neighbourhood, while as much, if not more, was invested in Lodz. Other cities where German capital was invested in trade and industry were Petrograd, Moscow, Riga, Helsingfors, Odessa, Kieff, Fovorossisk, Rostow, Tiflis, etc. (five German undertakings alone in Odessa had a capital of over 50 million marks), and German agricultural colonists in Russia, who still remained German subjects, possessed a large extent of landed property.

Dr. Ischchanian observes that the estimates of German capital in Russia are "uncertain and very defective," no thorough enquiry ever having been made, although Germans formed over 25 per cent. of the foreign population of Russia. He notes that since 1887 foreign settlers have been forbidden to acquire real property in Russia, and that Bismarck was opposed to the export of German capital, two factors which, in the 10 years preceding the publication of his book, had caused the investment of German capital not to keep pace with the development of other national interests in Russia.

It may be added that Dr. Ischchanian estimated that of the foreign State debt of Russia (12,214 million marks; nearly £600,000,000) 3,000 million marks, or about one-fourth, were held in Germany. Much of the area in which German trading and industrial capital was chiefly invested—Poland, Helsingfors, Riga—is no longer part of Russia.