I have a specific question that I'm highly interested in. Did Russia have any steel industry during its Civil War (1917 - 1922)? And if so, how big was it?

I know Russia built the trans-siberian railway right before that time, which required steel rails, but I'm not sure if that steel was imported or made domestically.

(I tagged Russia and USSR because it's a transitionary period between them.)

Edit: Steel industry is any facility that mixes molten iron with carbon (and optionally other alloys like magnesium). It does not necessarily have to be a mill.

Edit: Ideally, I'm looking for a number. How many tons of steel were produced in Russia at this time?

  • 2
    Wikipedia says "By 1914 Russian steel production equaled that of France and Austria–Hungary," World War and Civil War, especially in Ukraine, probably did not help, but it would still have been major a few years later
    – Henry
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 17:38

2 Answers 2


Capacity to produce steel (and presumably the ability to collect accurate data about production) was obviously disrupted by the Civil War.

From 1912-1917, the raw steel production of the Russian Empire / Soviet Union was at least 4,000 tons every year. From 1917 to 1919 it dropped over 90%. For the years 1920-1922 it hovered around 200 tons. Output slowly began to climb again and exceed 4,000 tons again in 1928, and then increased fourfold from there by the late 1930s. There is a nice graph on Statista with these numbers together with those of other Allied countries.

This is in line with the numbers in Clarke and Matko (1983), which also includes some data for finished rolled steel production. That output fell from 2,300 tons in 1917 to just 150 tons in 1921 and recovered to 3,200 in 1928.


Yes. Russia was one of the top metallurgy powers, since Peter the Great who built a lot of industries at Urals. One can argue that Russia was good only in agriculture and metallurgy at the time.

  • 4
    Sources would improve this answer.
    – MCW
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 11:05
  • 1
    Even if this answer is true, "top metallurgy powers" does not necessarily mean steel. At minimum, it means Russia had a lot of metal mines---iron or copper or some other metals. But those are just raw metals. Industrial steel requires a major forge. So sources are needed, ideally quoting how many tons of steel were produced in Russia in a certain year.
    – DrZ214
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 12:19

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