ESTONIAN ACADEMY
PUBLISHERS
eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
PUBLISHED
SINCE 1997
 
Acta cover
Acta Historica Tallinnensia
ISSN 1736-7476 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-2925 (Print)

TSAARI-VENEMAA SOTSIAALPOLIITIKA KREENHOLMI JA NIKOLSKI PUUVILLAMANUFAKTUURI NÄITEL; 48–70

Full article in PDF format

Author
Maie PIHLAMÄGI

Abstract

Annotatsioon.

On käsitletud Tsaari-Venemaa sotsiaalpoliitikat 19. sajandi keskpaigast kuni Esimese maailma­sõjani Vene impeeriumi kahe suurima tekstiilitööstusettevõtte – Eestimaa kubermangus tegutsenud Narva Kreenholmi Manufaktuuri (asutatud 1857) ja Kesk-Venemaa Vladimiri kubermangu Nikolski Puuvillamanufaktuuri (1847) – näitel. Seejuures on lähtutud kahest tasandist, mis on mõjutanud sotsiaalpoliitika arengusuundi: nii riigi tasandist ehk valitsuse poliitikast seadusloome näol kui ka vabrikantide enesealgatuslikust initsiatiivist normaalse elu- ja töökeskkonna kujunda­misel. On otsitud vastust küsimustele, kuidas olid töölised Tsaari-Venemaal kindlustatud nendeks juhtumiteks (haigus, õnnetus, vanadus, tööpuudus), kui nad polnud enam ise suutelised elatuma oma tavalisest palgatööst; kuidas oli organiseeritud arstiabi; kas ja kuidas olid tagatud hariduse omandamise võimalused; kuidas olid rahuldatud inimeste vajadused eluaseme järele.

Summary.

The article deals with the social policy of Imperial Russia from the second half of the 19th century up to the First World War on the example of two largest textile enterprises – the Kreenholm Manufacture (founded in 1857 in Estland province, Baltic region) and Nikolski Cotton Manufacture (1847, Vladimir province, Central region). The investigation proceeds on two levels that influenced the directions of social policy: on the level of government legislative action and on the level of private initiative of entrepreneurs and private enterprise. The types of social insurance, organisation of medical services, provision of elementary education and lodging of industrial workers are under investigation.

For the Kreenholm workers both emergency and hospital medical care were available since the enterprise started to operate in 1858. For the Nikolski workers medical services were made accessible at the turn of the 1850s and 1860s. The central government acted only in 1866, after repeated tragic visitations of cholera. As the public health system was very much neglected, the Act of 1866 put the responsibility for opening hospitals and providing free medical services for industrial workers on the entrepreneurs. However, still at the beginning of the 20th century there was a small number of industrial enterprises in Russia fulfilling the clauses of the act.

Unlike England and Germany, Imperial Russia had no law to protect the pregnant women and young mothers until 1912. In this context, it was an exception that the women of Kreenholm enjoyed three months unpaid maternity leave since 1897. The workers of the Nikolski manufacture achieved eight weeks maternity leave only in 1905 after revolutionary struggle.

An important change in the social sphere took place at the beginning of the 20th century, when a social insurance system was introduced in Russia. Although following the social security model of Germany, Czarist Russia took over only part of it – insurance against work-related injuries (1903) and against sickness (1912). These laws guaranteed certain income for industrial workers in the period of temporary disability, including maternity, and free medical care. Still, protection for unemployment and old age remained family responsibility. To protect the workers against the hazards of life, the owners of Kreenholm paid a small monthly retirement allowance and provided free housing to those who had worked in the manufacture for more than 30 years. In Nikolski the retired single workers and orphans were settled in the poorhouse with provision of free meals and medical care.

Because of undeveloped infrastructure the Kreenholm and Nikolski manu­factures had to build not only factory buildings, but also barracks and dwellings for workers and managers as well as schools and hospitals. So, most workers of Kreenholm and Nikolski lived in employer-provided housing, but the conditions varied. Some workers of Kreenholm lived in two- or three-storey buildings with separate rooms for workmen with families; some families living in small houses shared the house with 2–8 families. The shortage of space in Nikolski barracks meant that part of the workers slept in the workplaces. The situation did not improve until 1873 when the Nikolski cotton mill was converted into a limited liability company and large investments were made into the social sphere. The workers as house-owners emerged as a new phenomenon in Imperial Russia in the last decade of the 19th century. It was common for companies with British and German investments. Among them were also Kreenholm and Nikolski manu­factures.

The sphere in which the state became involved in the 1880s was working conditions of child labour and their educational provision. The Acts of 1882 and 1884 forbade the employment of children under 12, limited the working hours of teenagers between 12 and 15 to 8 hours a day and made school attendance compulsory for them. It was a duty of factory inspectors to put pressure on factory owners to open factory schools. Under the terms of the Acts the entrepreneurs became responsible for provision of elementary education. In this area the Kreenholm and Nikolski manufactures were also pioneers. Kreenholm provided schooling since 1862 and Nikolski since 1864.

Considering the Kreenholm and Nikolski manufactures we can say that in Russia social policy was largely based on the initiative of private enterprises. The social policy of the owners of the Nikolski cotton manufacture as well as of the Kreenholm cotton manufacture was directed to improving the living standards of workers by organising free medical care and elementary education and providing housing for workers and social assistance to retired persons and orphans. The owners of these two enterprises understood very well that the investments into the social sphere would influence the living conditions, which in turn would affect the working environment and competitive ability of the enterprise.

 

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