When Russian loans shattered French dreams

On February 8, 1918, the Bolsheviks, now in power, announced that they would not honor the payment of the imperial debts of their predecessor, Tsar Nicholas II. Russian loans placed in France then represented around 13.7 billion francs. Since 1890, the abundant savings of the French had financed the economic development of Russia (state loans from municipalities and Russian railway companies, etc.). Relations between the two countries were then in good shape.

Since the end of the 19thand century, “French politicians, as well as the biggest banks, soon imitated by the financial press, threw all their weight into placing Russian loans with French savers. They were workers, senior civil servants, farmers, merchants, wealthy savers such as doctors, lawyers, landowners…, in short, a complete sample of French society,” recalls the International Federative Association on its website. holders of Russian loans (Afiper).

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