Russian rulers 1855-1964

All the russian leaders

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The crimenean war revealed how deep seated Russian's problems were. Russia was seen
to be hopelessly backward.
The end of serfdom
For those wanting change,Russia got off to a promising start. Alexander immediately stopped
all army recruitment and eased censorship. He also released all those Decembrists in prison
or in exile who had tried to overthrow his father. A similar amnesty was given to those poles
who had rebelled in 18301831. 26,000 passports were granted to travel abroad.
The abolition of serfdom was the most urgent need. To them it was the principal handicap to
Russia's development into a modern state.
Serfdom prevented the growth of Russian industry, obstructing free flow of labour and
restriciting enterprise.
It also prevented the introduction of methods of agriculture, leaving Russia poor and
lagging behind the rest of Europe.
Abolition was only way to stop the rising number of peavent revolts there had been
1467 of these since 1800.
Defeat in the Crimean had shown that the army needed urgent reforms. This too was
difficult as long as serfdom surived, for serfs serving 25years in the ranks formed the
mass of soldiers.
The gentry complained that they would be ruined if peasents were given land when
they were freed. The krepostniki were the defenders of serfdom leaders of the church,
gentry and royal family.
The Great emancipation statute was announced to Russian people on February 1861.
The serfs were freed. They could marry whomever, own property,
Freed serfs had to pay redemption taxes for 49years.
On average peasent farmers now farmed 20% less land than before
The separation by a peasent of his land from the commune could only be
done with consent of the muir , until the redemption tax was paid.

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The state peasents received better treatment but had to wait a few more years
for their freedom.
The household serfs came out worst of all, they received no land just their
Emancipation was both praised and critized. Because of the shortcomings of the
emancipation deal there was civil unrest in most of the provinces affected by the reforms.
There were 647 incidents of peasent rioting in four months troops were used to crush the
riots.…read more

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However they did provide new oppurtunities for many people who
had not been involved in political life before.
Reform of the law
Before the reforms the poor chances of justice were indeed remote. The acussed were
guilty unless proven innocent. There were no juries or lawyers in courts.The police also
heavily influenced the judges. The process of law was also painfully slow.
The most striking reform was the introduction of juries in criminal cases.…read more

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Some Jews were allowed to settle out outside
the pale.
The end of reforms
The reforms made under Alexander II were the most reaching made since peter the great.
However they nearly stopped as reforming ministers were placed with more conservative
figures in the later 1860's. The financial policies saw little reform. The poll tax which the
gentry were exempt remained a heavy burden on the peasents. It increased by 80% over
Alexander's reign.…read more

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Siberia. Journey to Siberia was usually on foot and in leg
The political trials
The government set up a special department of the senate to try political cases and in
1877 there was a number of prominent trials. The trial of 50 lasted five week, open
to the public and reported in the government press. Another trial of 193 trial was
secret . This trial the lawyers emphasised the youth of the accuesed and the evils
of Tsarist society.…read more

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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 peasent land banks. Peasant land banks allowed peasants to
borrow money at relatively cheap rates to allow the purchase of land.
This more liberal approach did not last as Alexander III blamed Bunge for a
dramatic fall in the rouble.…read more

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It was called the "defining event
of the decade". It was made worse by the outbreak of cholera and typhus the
following year.
The government was partly responsible for the severity of the famine. In order to
raise much needed revenue the government had heavily taxed consumer goods.
To afford what they needed the peasents were forced to sell more grain, leaving
them with no reserves of seedcorn to use in a bad year.
Censors prevent newspapers carrying reports of the famine.…read more

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The workers and new born peasents in cities were susceptible to revolutionary
groups. Literacy was much higher in the towns and the country leaving workers
open to many new influences.
Government finances
Towards AlexanderIII reign Russia was plunged into another war with Turkey. As
in 18541855 the government was forced to print more paper money causing
inflation. Over 30% of government expenditure was being spent on the armed
forces and another on repaying debts leaving little for education or social warfare.…read more

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Despite this the intelligentsia had little in common with the peasents or the workers,
but were equally ignored by the political establishment. (They were denied in the
political system). Which pushed them towards the radical movement. The refusal of
both Alexander,Alexander III and Nicholas II to sacrifice any of their autocratic
power meant that even moderate liberal people were driven to support the calls of
the men of violence.
The great spurt
By 1893 Russian economic activity still revolved predominantly around
agricultural production.…read more

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Witte neglected other parts of the industry, agriculture, engineering and
Although the railway system expanded it was still very costly and not as
impressive as western Europe.
The Tsar promoted everything Russian to the language, church, money in order to
unify the empire. Making other nationals learn the Russian language and following
the Russian orthodoxy church. Where there was talk of greater anatomy the Tsars
withdrew the local self government they already had.…read more


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