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  • Scientific Council of RAS on economic history;
  • Research and Educational Center «The economic history of Central Russia and the Middle Volga region» of Ogarev Mordovia State University;
  • Center of Economic History of  Lomonosov Moscow State University

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«Economic History» (2017г. №39)


E. S. Kravtsova

Kursk State Medical University, Kursk, Russia, e-mail:

 ORCID http://orcid/org 0000-0003-1363-2165.




The article is focused on the analysis of one of the key problems of any state – the modernization of the fiscal system. The effective tax policy is a combination of the desire of the state to receive funds and opportunities of a taxpayer to pay without undermining his economy. Despite the fact that the reforms in this area began in the mid-1880s by the beginning of the First World War the transition to the progressive principle of taxation – income tax – had not been made. In relation to other types of taxation minor changes had occurred. The slowness of the Ministry of Finance caused the public criticism and the indignation of political parties, which as a result led to the growth of discontent and revolutionary events of 1917.

The shortcomings in the field of taxation were best known to those who worked directly in that field at all levels: to excise officials; tax inspectors; employees of state chambers, various departments and the Ministers of Finance. The reflections on these issues can be found in the memoirs of S. J. Witte, V. N. Kokovtsev, and P. L. Bark. The works of the latter was analyzed in detail. Exactly at the time of his ruling the significant changes in the fiscal system took place, the chief of which was the transition to the income taxation. In his notes he wrote on the issue of the tax system reformation, analyzed the pros and cons of the various positions on the issue, commented on the viewpoints of various politiciansю The works by P. L. Bark gave the opportunity to trace the changes not only in the legal system, but also to evaluate the clash of different economic approaches and the opportunities of their implementation in practice.

The changes adopted by P. L. Bark were very important for fiscal policy: the abolition of the wine monopoly, the transition to the personal income tax with a progressive scale, the drafting of laws on the reform of the existing fees, but they were taken very late, when the country entered the «loop-the-loop» of the revolutionary events.


Keywords: History of Russia, tax system, Minister of Finance, modernization, excise taxes, direct taxes, budget, Finance.


For citation: Kravtsova E. S. The Problems of the Tax System Reformation in the Russian Empire during the First World War (based on the memoirs of P. L. Bark), Jekonomicheskaja istorija = Economic history. 2017. 13(4). Р. 38–47.


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