legacy of alexander II

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  • legacy of the 'tsar liberator' alexander II 1855-1881
    • emancipation of the serfs - 1861
      • social problem
        • 80% of population were serfs
      • major obstacle to the modernisation of Russian society
        • subsistence farming
      • 1861 imperial decree to abolish Serfdom
        • former serfs had to pay redemption payments to the government due to owners of land having to be compensated
        • forced to live in 'mirs' (communes) where land was held collectively
        • this delayed the development of towns as there were low levels of urbanisation
      • 1891 - famine
        • showed crisis in he tsarist autocracy
    • political and judicial reform
      • alexander II introduced the first form of elective government
      • limited to the educated and the wealthy
      • local government - Zemstva had limited powers
      • the beginning of trial by jury


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