Nikolai von Bunge

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Ivan Tyurin. Portrait of N.H.Bunge, 1887

Nikolai Karl Paul von[1] Bunge (Russian: Никола́й Христиа́нович Бу́нге, tr. Nikolay Khristianovich Bunge; 23 November [O.S. 11 November] 1823 – 15 June [O.S. 3 June] 1895), more commonly known as Nikolai Bunge, was the Russo-German preeminent architect of Russian capitalism under Alexander III. He was a distinguished economist, statesman, and academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. He had also served as the rector of the Kiev University and the Finance minister.

Biography[edit]

Bunge was born to Christian Gottlieb von Bunge from the Lutheran Baltic German noble Bunge family (ru) of Prussian origin, in Kiev and was second generation of Kievan, his grandfather, Georg Friedrich Bunge moved from the Stallupönen to Kiev sometime in the 18th century. Bunge was a professor of the Kiev University, of which he served as a dean between 1859 and 1880, when he was summoned to St. Petersburg to become a deputy minister and then (since 1881) Minister of Finance. Five years later, he became Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, the highest position in the civil administration of the Russian Empire.

Bunge undertook a number of reforms with the aim of modernizing the Russian economy, he consolidated the banking system of the Empire and founded the Peasants' Land Bank (1883) which helped peasants to purchase land. He introduced important tax law changes which seriously reduced the tax burden of the peasantry; the head tax was abolished and the inheritance tax was introduced.

Bunge's policies towards the Russian industries were extremely protectionist, he promoted the construction of railways and spearheaded the first Russian labour laws, some of them aimed at reducing child labour.

However, in 1887 under pressure of conservative deputies, accusing him of incompetence and incapability to overcome the budgeted deficit, N.K. Bunge resigned.

References[edit]

  1. ^ In German personal names, von is a preposition which approximately means of or from and usually denotes some sort of nobility. While von (always lower case) is part of the family name or territorial designation, not a first or middle name, if the noble is referred to by surname alone in English, use Schiller or Clausewitz or Goethe, not von Schiller, etc.
Political offices
Preceded by
Aleksandr Abaza
Finance Minister
1881–1886
Succeeded by
Ivan Vyshnegradsky
Preceded by
Michael von Reutern
Chairman of the Committee of Ministers
1887–1895
Succeeded by
Ivan Durnovo
Educational offices
Preceded by
Ernst Rudolf von Trautvetter
Rector of St.Vladimir Kiev University
1859–1862
Succeeded by
Mykola Ivanyshev
Preceded by
Aleksandr Matveyev
Rector of St.Vladimir Kiev University
1871–1875
1878–1880
Succeeded by
Aleksandr Matveyev
Succeeded by
Konstantin Feofilaktov