Bankers and Bolsheviks
International Finance and the Russian Revolution
Following an unprecedented economic boom fed by foreign investment, the Russian Revolution triggered the worst sovereign default in history. Bankers and Bolsheviks tells the dramatic story of this boom and bust, chronicling the forgotten experiences of leading financiers of the age.
Shedding critical new light on the decision making of the powerful personalities who acted as the gatekeepers of international finance, Hassan Malik narrates how they channeled foreign capital into Russia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While economists have long relied on quantitative analysis to grapple with questions relating to the drivers of cross-border capital flows, Malik adopts a historical approach, drawing on banking and government archives in four countries. The book provides rare insights into the thinking of influential figures in world finance as they sought to navigate one of the most challenging and lucrative markets of the first modern age of globalization.
Bankers and Bolsheviks reveals how a complex web of factors—from government interventions to competitive dynamics and cultural influences—drove a large inflow of capital during this tumultuous period in world history. This gripping book demonstrates how the realms of finance and politics—of bankers and Bolsheviks—grew increasingly intertwined, and how investing in Russia became a political act with unforeseen repercussions.
Hassan Malik is an investment strategist and financial historian. He earned a PhD at Harvard University and was a postdoctoral fellow at the European University Institute in Florence and the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. He lives and works in London.