This article is devoted to historical themes and explores the position of Russia (of the Russian Empire period) in the global economy of the second half of the 19th century, based on the available statistical data and the empirical research of this historical period. On the basis of this survey and received data, we can formulate the following conclusions: • In the second half of the 19th century, the Russian Empire is one of the few countries that had (and still has) significant natural and human capital, and by geographic location and area of the country, of course, was considered and is considered one of the leading actors in the global economy; • Until the second half of the 19th century, the socio-economic development of the Russian Empire was feudal and had the agrarian (agricultural) and raw material specialization. Institutional, legal and financial reforms carried out in the 19th century provided the industrial breakthrough of the Russian Empire, but at the same time the gap from the industrial development of England, France and other countries was significant and was at least half a century; • The results of cluster analysis show that the Russian Empire in the second half of the 19th century played a leading role in the global economy of the period, but at the same time was not a backbone link, unlike countries of Western Europe (UK, France, Denmark, Sweden, etc.); • In the second half of the 19th century, the Russian Empire in its economic and social development was very dependent on the political will of an autocrat (Emperor), change and reform processes were not completed in many ways, which did not allow the state to reduce the historical gap between it and the most developed countries; • Now the Russian Federation, having overcome a certain degree of inertia of development including due to low efficiency "economic legacy" (both during the imperial period and the period of the Soviet Union), is a leader in the space industry, the energy raw materials supply. The country needs to further liberalize its markets in order to not only currently but also in the near future secure a more significant position in the global economy. © 2016 IJER Serials Publications.