alexander III

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  • Alexander III
    • problems facing Alex III in 1881
      • keeping the large multi-ethnic empire together
      • maintaining his own supreme political power which was made difficult by his father's introduction to reforms which raised expectations
      • pressure from advisers to reform the empire to make it more western by allowing an elective parliament
      • problems with the legacy left by his father. did not agree with his  modernisation
    • repression and reaction
      • threat to the tsar also meant a threat to the orthodox church and aristocracy (upper classes) as they derived most of their power from the Tsar
      • therefore, when Alex III launched a campaign of repression it was supported by the upper classes
    • political repression
      • wanted a reform - from moderates to extremists
      • moderates - supported peaceful political change
      • extremists - wanted to destroy the tsar rule and give power to the people without any clear plan
      • nationalists - wanted their own national state (eg:Poland)
      • Alex II's ministers left office. someone who was part of the Russian Orthodox Church took over
        • Pobedonostsev
      • the church ha immense power and influence
      • wrote a manifesto that declared absolute political power to the Tsar
      • needed to destroy the terrorist organisation
        • government control the courts and could arrest political opponents without jury
      • Pobedonostsev believed the basis of social stability lay in support for autocracy, the church and nationalism
      • to prevent spread of radical ideas, press freedom was restricted
        • major newspapers were banned
        • foreign books and newspapers were censored
        • uni fees increased to only the very wealthy
      • these repressive policies did not destroy extremist groups - they operated underground to destroy the Tsar
        • however, most were arrested and executed
      • long term effects
        • lenins brother was executed in 1918
          • lenin ordered the murder of Alex III's son and his family
    • increased central control
      • pobedonostsev began to undo many reforms introduced by Alex II
      • 1889 - 'land captain' to enforce local laws which replaced the elected justices of peace and in later years were made members of the local government bodies (zemstva)
      • restrictions to the zemstva
      • religious control over education
      • restrictions to secondary schools
      • government had the right to choose the jury
    • russification
      • unity, insisted on the use of the Russian language
      • Pogroms - attack on jews - approved by government
      • restrictions on education, religion, etc
    • financial reforms
      • Russia was very uneconomically developed
        • mainly agriculture, underproductive, behind many western countries
      • if Russia wanted to maintain its position as a great power, it needed to modernise and increase  its wealth fast to maintain its armed forces
      • reduce tax burden on peasants
      • peasant land bank, loan facilities
      • financial incentives for peasants to migrate to the east, to ease pressure for land
      • foreign loans with Britain and france
    • a truly repressive, autocratic state?
      • 1894 Alex III died
      • during Alex III's reign
        • re-established autocratic power of the Tsar
        • supported by church and upper class
        • underpinned by the power of the Okhrana and vast army
        • repression of political opponents
        • financial and economic reform but economy still far behind other great powers
        • political repression and secret police tackle extremist groups, attack still occurred sometimes
      • New Nicholas II
        • indecisive and weak, lacked clear direction
        • he could not reach the raised expectations
          • therefore he was the last tsar


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