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Rafalovich, Artur Germanovich

(1853–1921), economist and financial agent for the Russian government. Although Artur Rafalovich was born and raised in Odessa, he lived in France from the 1880s on, where he wrote a series of economic studies. His analyses remain valuable today as a resource for learning about the economic history of Europe.

Between 1891 and 1898, Rafalovich analyzed international financial markets, reporting his annual findings in Le marché financier. He also probed the Russian economy and published Les finances de la Russie depuis la dernière guerre d’Orient (Financial Conditions in Russia after the Oriental War; 1883) and Le rouble (1897), a history of Russian economics. Another text, Russia: Its Trade and Commerce, was written in English and published in London in 1918.

Rafalovich also explored new phenomena such as large organizations, cartels, and the influence of the government on economic policy. Among his studies in this vein was his Le monopole de l’alcool en Allemagne (The Monopoly of Alcohol Sales in Germany), which he published in 1886. He delved as well into social and political issues, publishing Les associations cooperatives de consommation (Consumption Cooperatives; 1891) and Les socialistes allemands (German Socialists; 1891).

Beginning in 1894, Rafalovich advised the Russian government about its relations with France. He sold Russian governmental bonds, promoting their purchase in his columns in French newspapers such as Le temps. Though rumors suggested that he bribed these newspapers with money from the Russian government in order to convince readers to invest, he continued to promote the bonds until the Revolution of 1917. After the Bolshevik Revolution (which he opposed, as he supported private initiative), the Soviet government revealed documents from tsarist days (never explicitly substantiated), supporting the charges of bribery against Rafalovich. He was also hurt when Communist authorities refused to pay the debts of the tsarist government; because of this practice, some investors whom he had convinced to assist the Russian economy found themselves impoverished.

Suggested Reading

A. Karelin, S. Vitte—finansist, politik, diplomat (Moscow, 1998); Aleksandr Polovtsov, Russkii biograficheskii slovar’ (Saint Petersburg, 1896–1918), available at; Arthur Rafalovich, ed., Russia: Its Trade and Commerce (London, 1918).