ARISC in Co-operation with European Partnership Foundation and CRRC Azerbaijan presents:After the Revolution: Baku and its Oil – 1918-1927

by Jonathan Sicotte
ARISC Fellow, People’s Friendship University of Russia, Georgetown University

Date: 18 July, 2018
Time: 7 pm
Venue: Baku Idea Lab, 44 Jafar Jabbarly street, Caspian Plaza III, 3rd floor


At the foundation of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), it was readily apparent to the Bolsheviks that securing the physical resources of the former Russian Empire was necessary for the future survival of the nascent Soviet state. The invasion and destruction of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan and the nationalization of its oil industry, primarily centered around Baku in 1920, largely filled the limited needs of the Soviet domestic market, and by 1924, produced enough benzene, at least on paper, to provide a readily exportable surplus for the Ministerstvo vneshne torgovli (Ministry of Foreign Trade (MVT)). Nevertheless, despite the initial successes of the industry, a set of compounding structural fiscal issues complicated Soviet planning as the continued to push they exportation of refined oil products to compensate for growing trade deficits exacerbated by the importation of Western machinery.
This paper is part of an exploration of the economic and political metamorphosis of Soviet policy toward petroleum exportation, specifically from the period directly after the October Revolution. The purpose of this investigation is to explore the correlation between the healthy recovery of Baku’ oil industry after 1918, shifts in broader Soviet policy during the early years of New Economic Plan (NEP) and the later ramification for Soviet trade policy as Baku’s oil industry began to see declining rents from oil fields.

Speaker’s bio:

Jonathan Sicotte is currently a post-doctoral fellow at People’s Friendship University of Russia and a former post-doctoral fellow at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. Recently Dr. Sicotte received a PhD in Russian and Soviet History at Georgetown University in 2017 and previously received a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago.

* This event is free and open to the public. ARISC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, or status as a covered veteran.