Alexander III


Statute of State security

Following his father assassination, the statute of state security was published in 1881 giving he government emergancy powers to:

- prohibit gathering of more than 12 people

- prosecute any indvidual for political crimes

- introduce emergency police rule when public order is threatened

- set up special courts outside the legal system

- close schools universities and newspapers

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It was established in 1881 and was the new secret police. A decree of March 1882 allowed to declare any citizen subject to surveilance. the Okhrana was seen as a sinster and effective body.

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Manifesto on unshakeable autocracy

Alexander III announced that the tsar would 'rule with faith in the strength and truth of autocratic power that we have been called upon affirm ans safegaurd for the popular good from infringement'. He returned to an ideology that stressed Russian uniqueness based on orthodoxy and supposed unity of the tsar and people. 

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Church of the saviour on spilled blood

Construction began in 1883 during the reign of Alexander III. The church was dedicated to be a memorial to his father, Alexander IIEstimates suggest that the construction cost 4.5 million rubles. The construction was completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

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Resignation of notable liberal ministers

Following the shut down of the Loris Melikov constitution, Melikov resigned alog with other leading liberals like Dmitri Milyutin only to be replaced by conservative ministers like Dmitri Tolstoy who eas made Minister of Interior.

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In 1880 he was made chief procurator of the Holy Synod and had great influence over the church, education and social matters. He was convinced that fimness was an essential charateristic of good government and encouraged Alexander III and Nicholas II to pursue agressive policies of Russification. He was deeply anti-semitic and launched the progroms. He was the 'pace-setter of reaction'.

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The May Laws

The May Laws wee passed in 1882 and banned Jew from working in the civil service and encouraged antisemitic violence. Pobedonostev hoped that 'one third of jews would convert, one third would die and one theird flee the country'. 2 million Jews emigrated to the USA.

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Spies and double agents who worked around the cities. They would arrest revolutionaries and soften them up before persuading them to become a police spy.

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Land Captains

Tolstoy decided the government should have complete control over the peasants and villiage communes. He appointed members of the gentry as Land Captains or commandants of rural areas. They were very powerful and could overule district courts, with no appeal against their decisions. They were deeply resented by the peasants.

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Land Banks

Bunge, a reformer, is appointed minister of finance and creates a 'peasants' land bank to help peasants purchase their own farms. 3 years later in 1885 a nobles land bank was established.

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Bunge, Reutern and Vyshnegradsky

They were all reformers who believed that the best way to defeat socialism was to improve the condition of the people.

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Famine 1891-92

Vyshnegradsky is appointed Minister of Finance in place of bunge. He decides to export massive amounts od grain to fund industrialisation 'we will go hungry, but we must export'. yshnegradskys massive export of grain creates a massive famine in which 500,000 die.

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Grain exports

Grain exports increased by 18% and by 1892 the budget was in surplus, but there was famine in 1891-92 due to bad harvest.

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Indirect taxes

Tax farming was abolished but peasants suffered from heavy taxation, high goods prices and grain requisitions. Vyshnegradsky increased import tarrifs by as much as 30% in order to boost home production.

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Witte was appointed in 1892 as Minister of finance until 1903 and launched Russia into an age of heavy industry. He also placed the rouble on the gold standard.

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Trans-Siberian railway

The Trans-Siberian railway was built to link European Russia with the Far East. By 1914, Russia had 62,000 km of railway track, the second longest in the world.

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Russification was intennded to 'unite' the country by enforcing the Russian language and culture upon other ethnic minorities. Russian was declared to be the official first language, so that trials and local government had to be conducted in Russian. Public office was closed to those who did not speak Russian fluently. Adherence to the orthodox church was encouraged, in the Baltic region, 37,000 Lutherans converted. Catholic monasteries were closed down. Resistance to russifications was shut down by the military.

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Loans from France

Witte and Vyshnegradsky negotiated huge loans from France in order to fund the oush for industrialisation.

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The Great Spurt

The Great Spurt brought Russia into a rapid industrialization under the auspices of its finance minister Sergei Witte (served 1892 - 1903). At that time, Europe had been already widely affected by the Industrial Revolution. It gave many western countries tremendous improvements and developments in the fields of economy, science and technology, culture and society. But in Russia, industrial development seemed to be stagnant. In the 1880’s, under the rule of Alexander III, Russia began to move towards the direction of industrialization. But it ultimately materialized only under the tenure of the courageous, bold and intelligent Finance Minister Sergei Witte. Under his guidance, Russia moved towards a period of industrialization and growth of capitalism.

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Gold standard for the Rouble

In 1897 Witte had the Gold STandard placed on the Russian rouble which put a level of trust on the Russian Currency and meant countres were more likley to agree into economic deals with Russia.

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Gimnazii schools

Gimnazii school fees were raised so only the wealthier could attend and thus excluded lower classes from education.

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