Going off the Rails on a Murmansk Train

Here is a picture taken by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky in 1915. The photo is called Ladva Station on the Murmansk Railroad. Uneveness of the Railway.  Prokudin captured this photo (along with thousands of others) while traveling through the Russia Empire.

St. Ladva Murm. zh.d. nerovnosti puti
St. Ladva Murm. zh.d. nerovnosti puti
Translation: Ladva Station on the Murmansk railroad. Uneveness of the railway

Murmansk is a port city in northwest Russia. It was the last city founded in the Russian Empire. Murmansk gives people in western Russia highway and railway access to Europe. It is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle, and it is a major port of the Arctic Ocean. (World of Geography)

Map of Murmansk, Murmansk Oblast, Russia

This photo was interesting to me because the development of railways was crucial to the industrialization of Russia between the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Russia was late to the industrialization game compared to western Europe. Sergei Witte, who was the minister of Finance, oversaw the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Russia’s economy experienced incredible growth during Witte’s tenure due to the expansion of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the increase in exports of natural resources (Russiapedia). The economic and industrial growth that Russia experienced during this period of time would establish the foundation of Russia as it changed into the Soviet Union later in the century.

Although Russia experienced great economic success, there were still many kinks Russia had to work out with the outcomes of industrialization. Russia didn’t prepare for the fact that industrialization would create more jobs in cities. There was an influx of peasants who came into the cities to look for work, creating the industrial proletariat social class. This was a negative outcome because the cities in Russia didn’t increase the construction of new housing, so many of the workers experienced unhygienic, cold, unsanitary, and poor living conditions. (alphahistory). Russia also had to rely on other countries for technology and machines in order to be able to sustain growth. Finally, Russia faced problems that included a lack of venture capitalists and low labor productivity, as well as a struggling domestic market due to a largely poor population (Freeze 216).  Despite all of these problems Russia faced during its Industrial Revolution, the economic growth that Russia experienced was what it needed to for Russia’s future developments and to become the power it reached in the later 20th century.

Works cited:

Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.



“Sergei Witte – Russiapedia Politics and society Prominent Russians”russiapedia.rt.com.

One thought on “Going off the Rails on a Murmansk Train

  1. Hi Taylor, great post on the Murmansk railroad! You did a fantastic job connecting this picture to bigger issues in the Russian empire. Also, glad that you did some research using some extra sources, these really help your analysis!


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