Peculiarities of Social and Economic Conditions of Volyn Province During the First World War
The peculiarities of the social and economic conditions of Volyn Province during the First World War are considered in the study. The reasons for the development of the agricultural sector of the economy and its impact on the development of industry on the eve of the war are clarified. As a result of the region’s proximity to the theater of operations and the conscription of men into the active army after the start of hostilities in 1914, there was a shortage of employees in the agricultural sector. At the same time, the wages of employees increased. That caused the fact that in Western counties of Volhynia some of the agricultural lands in 1915 remained uncultivated. The key factors that influenced the deterioration of living standards of the region’s population, first of all, the poor, are analyzed in the paper. It is noted that the taking out of food from the region for the needs of the active army and the population of Galicia, which was occupied by Russian troops at the initial stage of the war, led to difficulties with the supply of some towns in the region.
It is found out that as a result of the retreat of Russian troops in 1915, not only state institutions, enterprises, and secondary schools were evacuated from Volhynia, but also the local population was forcibly evicted from frontline counties. Such activities of the imperial power led to the impoverishment of a huge number of residents of the region. Particular attention is paid to the reasons for rising essential goods prices and the role of municipalities and zemstvos in their regulation and assistance to refugees. Based on an unbiased study of the documents, it is found that after the liberation of part of West Volhynia counties by the Russian troops, the social and economic situation in them was extremely tense. The vast majority of the rural population lacked not only seeds and livestock but also food. This, in turn, led to growing dissatisfaction with the actions of the imperial power, which was primarily concerned with supplying the army.
In that situation, the provincial and county zemstvos made significant efforts to revive the war-torn agricultural sector. However, those plans did not improve the situation in the war-torn counties of Volyn Province and in most cases remained projects due to lack of funding.
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