Russia - The reign of Alexander 3rd

Reign of Alexander the 3rd summary

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Reign of Alexander III, 1881 ­ 1894.
March 1881, Alexander II assassinated by `Peoples will'. (opposed to autocratic rule) Ironically on his way to
sign a law to give Russia it's first national assembly ­ worst happened, Alexander III = truly repressive.
Russia was in crisis following assassination. Had to keep a large multi-ethnic group together.
Also had to retain his own supreme political power ­ difficult since his father had begun reforms.
People's hopes had been risen by reforms under Alexander II which were soon dashed by modesty of
reform and restrictions places on the serfs. Soon many believed that only way for true reform would be
without a Tsar.
Political repression
Liberals/extremists. Some extremists wanted political power handed to peasants. One thing in common ­
desire to change political system.
2 Liberal officers left office ­ replaced by Pobedonostsev ­ high in church. Had power and influence.
Statute of State Security ­ government could arrest and put on trial political opponents without a jury.
Press freedom restricted. Foreign books and newspapers censored by Okhrana (secret police) to prevent
foreign ideas ­ such as democracy ­ reaching Russian population.
University fees increased to exclude all but wealthy ­ all under government control 1884.
Extremist groups still continued to operate underground ­ (Lenin's older brother arrested and executed)
Increased central control ­ Land Captains introduced ­ to enforce local laws. Made members of Zemstva ­
franchise to zemstva restricted to ensure landed classes had most political power.
Education ­ primary schools under state control. Hard for peasant and workers children to enter secondary
Interfered with jury system after woman acquitted by jury even though she shot a police officer (showing
mass opinion of hatred towards government) ­ government chose juries.
Insisted on use of Russian language. Made official language of whole Russian empire ­ official documents had
to be in Russian, other languages forbidden in schools.
Jews ­ suffered most under Alexander III. Organised attacks on Jewish areas of town ­ beatings, rape,
murder. Many approved by government. Thousands fled Russia.
Financial Reform
Although biggest Great Power, economically underdeveloped. Had to modernise it's economy + increase
wealth to keep armed forces and start industrial development.
Reduced tax burden on peasants and open Peasant Land Bank ­ to help peasants increase land sizes and
therefore increase productivity.
Russian economic development was financed by foreign loans ­ mostly France and Britain.
Alexander III died 1894, replaced by Nicholas II. He has successfully reasserted the power of the Tsar.
Political freedom suppressed rights of ethnic and religious minorities undermined by largely Russian empire.


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