Hello HIST 3644 Bloggers!
While searching through the Prokudin-Gorskii Photographic Record on the Library of Congress website, this image immediately grabbed my attention.
A popular means of agricultural product transportation, as depicted in this image are animals such as camels or goats loaded with bags of grain. The title of this image is “Turkmen man posing with camel loaded with sacks, probably of grain or cotton, Central Asia”. While railroad transportation existed, this preferred method speaks to the underdevelopment of the rest of the infrastructure and trade across borders. The pack camel is a speedy trailblazer that does not need to rely on other technologies or roads in order for it to travel efficiently.
What I find interesting about this image the time frame (1905-1915) is after that of the time when rail transportation began to experience a large demand throughout Russia. I believe the focus on industrial growth rather than agriculture was a large pitfall for the economic development. As mentioned in Gregory Freeze’s book, railways failed to connect to most of the properties that could produce large quantities of grain and bottlenecked the production process at the transportation level. Among other issues the agricultural production hindered economic growth.
During the time period that this picture was taken, agricultural output in Russia was at a standstill in growth although it managed to maintain its production levels. The inefficient methods sometimes led the Russians to import grain. What is amazing here is that the same factors such as technology which led to the famine in 1890’s have not been adjusted and still cause fluctuation.
It was created by: Prokudin-Gorskiĭ, Sergeĭ Mikhaĭlovich, 1863-1944
Permanent record here: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/prk2000002574/