Russian history

russian history

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Alexaneder II (1855-1881)
Reforms of the army
The secret police was called the third section.
Education reforms.
Reduced censorhip, political prisoner's such as the Decembrists set free.
Emancipation of the serfs.
Reforms of the law.(juries introduced).
The Problems facing the new Tsar
The Crimean War, especially the capture of Sebastopol, believed by almost everyone
at the time to be invincible, had revealed just how deep-seated Russia's problems
were. Her communications were woeful, her munitions industries inadequate for a
modern war and her administration had been revealed to be corrupt and ineffective.
The system meant that there was no room for modernisation or change.
The Crimean war 1855-1856
First major European war fought not only by Russia but also the great powers. The
war was fought on Russian territory against British, French and Turkish forces. 25
million men were subjected to service but only 800,000 actually fought due to poor
health. Russian casualties were very high, as high as 500,000.Vast majority caused by
illness and disease rather than fighting. Success of the western powers was attributed
to a number of factors. Their armies were not serfs and they had an advanced
weaponry and industry.
Modernisation was sought in the end of serfdom and in the liberalisation of the legal
system, in education, military reforms and the government. However the Crimean war
was not the only reason for this, there were liberals within the ruling class and the
Tsar himself was more prepared to change and adapt than Nicholas II. But war was a
major catalyst.
Alexander II was nicknamed the Tsar Liberator but actually was more of a Great
Russian defeat in the Crimean war had been the catalyst for fundamental change.
Alexander moved quickly to reform the army. Recruitment was suspended in 1856.
Military colonies were abolished altogether. Every man over 20 was made liable to

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The length of service for conscripts was reduced to six
years followed by nine years in the reserve and five in the milita.
The military reserve was as a result raised from 210,000 to 553,000 by 1870 the
training and discipline of soldiers was made both more humane and more efficient.
Local government reforms
Alexander was personally commited to the maintenance of his autocratic rule. But he
also recognised there had to be changes in the governmental system.…read more

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Before in the 1800 there was only one universities but Alexander tried expanded them.
Of all the groups in Russia, the Jews had fared the worst at the hands of the Russians.
However Alexander II removed some of the restrictions placed on them, allowing them
into higher education and the government service. Some Jews were allowed to settle
out outside the pale.
Economic development
Industrial development was noticeable but slow under Alexander II. The workforce
expanded from 860,000 to about 1,320,000 by 1887.…read more

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Defeat in the Crimea had shown that the army needed urgent reforms. This too
was difficult as long as serfdom survived, for serfs serving 25 years in the ranks
formed the mass of soldiers.
Abolition was the only way to stop the rising number of peasant revolts. There had
been one thousand four hundred and sixty seven of these since 1800.…read more

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Financial policies saw little
reform. The poll tax which the gentry were exempt remained a heavy burden on the peasants. It
increased by 80% over Alexander's reign. Russia had problems before the war but
Alexander only focused on effects from the Crimean war. These problems were not
going to go away. There was no popular representation and to put it simply reform
did not go far enough. He saw his reform as the end but in fact it was only the
beginning.…read more

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Bazarov, inspired many young Russian members of the
intelligentsia or even nobility to rebel against social convention and some even to
turn to revolutionary politics.
The Narodniks ­ In the 1870s some idealistic young members of the gentry and
intelligentsia were still determined to change the political system.…read more

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In a way this measure pushed opposition into the hands of
In 1881 the Peoples Will achieved their main aim ­ they assassinated the Tsar as he
returned from military manoeuvres on 1st March.The people's will were to be executed
by Alexander III.
1. Ownership of the land by the people
2. The control by the workers of all mines and factories
3. Freedom of conscience, speech and association
4.…read more

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Abolished poll and salt tax.
Regulated working conditions in 1882 working hours were reduced for women and
1891-92: The worst famine of 19th century.
Restored autocracy by use of repressive measures and reforms.
Liberal measures
Further economic reforms were enacted by the new finance minister Nikolay Bunge.
The included the abolition of salt tax in 1881 and in 1886 the poll tax. In 1883 he
created the peasant land banks.…read more

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The government was responsible for the severity for the famine, or so many believed.
In an effort to raise much needed revenue, the government had heavily taxed
consumer goods. To afford what they needed, the peasants were forced to sell more
and more grain, leaving them with no reserves of seed-corn for them to use in a bad
Alexander III announced two state lotteries to raise money to buy in emergency
supplies for the peasants.…read more

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Lower class children were effectively banned from secondary education
More repression.
There was an increase in secret trials for political offences. Voting rights were also
reduced from 13,000 leaving only 7,000. Although he repealed some reforms he
did not end all reforms but he made sure any chance of them evolving into broader
or more liberal reforms. Serfdom was not restored but peasant independence was
reduced. University education was restricted and religious tolerance eroded.…read more


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