AS Russia - 1881-1905

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  • Created by: Benlhunt
  • Created on: 30-04-15 18:47

Alexander 2nd

Alexander 2nd: Known as the liberator

Served 1855-1881

Brought in the emancipation of serfs - 1861

Creation of the Zemstva - 1864 

  • These were forms of local government that decided on laws. 
  • It was a tiered system with nobility at the top and delegates elected by peasants at the bottom.
  • Managed to solve a reasonable amount of the peasant's problems despite weighting being on the side of the nobility.

Assassinated in 1881 by the Populist group 'The People's Will' 

Alexander 3rd:

 Known as the oppressor in contrast with his father's liberating ideals

Served 1881-1894


  • Imprisonment w/o trial
  • Okhrana to crush opposition
  • Autocracy - Land captains replaced elected Justices of Peace 1889
  • Russification


Introduced to ensure the repression of opponents. 

What it entailed 

  • Russia became the main language in 1885
  • Anti-Semitic policy intensified and pogroms carried out.
  • Orthodoxy made uniform as it was used as a form of control over wide spread Russia
  • Reinforcing of autocracy

Who Supported Russification?

  • Bureaucrats and land owners - as they believed in maintaining the order and uniform nature of the Russian class division.
  • Soldiers concerned with security welcomed reforms to the army as they were concerned about Russia's ethnic minorities, especially on the borders; Baltic Coast, Transcaucasia
  • The church (Orthodox Priests) - as due to Russia's diverse cultures there were lots of other religions, and Russification unified them + furthered the power of the Holy Synod, namely the procurator Konstantin Pobedonostsev* 

He was a huge proponent of Russification and is thought to have been the mastermind behind Alexander's manifesto ('The Manifesto on Unshakeable Autocracy')of April 1881 shortly after he was instated. 


During Alex 3's time, three ministers attempted to reform the economy.

  • Nikolai Bunge - Created Land Bank (1883) which aimed to help peasants purchase land from the nobility, who held most of it. 
  • Vyshnegradsky - 1887-92 - Largely pursued to decrease government budget deficit. Introduced direct taxes, encouraging an export drive and increasing railway line production. He achieved a balanced budget but criticised for causing famine in 1891-2. 500,000 dead
  • Sergei Witte - 1892-1903 - Proponent of state intervention. Massively advanced the Trans-Siberian railway - aimed to link the East of Russia to the disconnected West. This would increase industry and migration to developed areas. (Never finished)
  • Failed due to little migration + govt. ran up large debts and were forced to increase taxes which resulted in less consumerism and didn't imrpove agricultural industry.

The drive for industrialisation was generally positive for the economy but negative for lower classes. 

  • Peasants were restricted by the mir (A self-governing body of peasants that consisted of elected officials).
  • They possessed all the poorer quality land - The nobility retained most of the good arable lands.
  • Bad working class conditions for urban workers - Due to overcorwding they had a low standard of living. 

All of the above led to opposition forming ^ 

Nicholas 2nd

Succeeded his father in 1894 + Married Alexandra first year.

He was a weak leader.


Name                Who Supported                 What they Wanted          How they                                                                                                                        achieved this

Populists            Peasants + Urban workers      Democratic Socialist Republic    Propaganda +   


Liberals^             Middle Classes                       Democracy                              Pressure +                                                                                                                   Illegal propaganda 

Marxists""             Upper class                            Marxist Revolution               Secret cells +                                                                                                                      propaganda +


* 'The People's Will' were a subsidiary group of the populists, unsuccessful because brought on the oppressive Alex 3

^ Kadets had majority in the 1st Duma so could influence some change 

However both main parties were divided between a more radical side and a more passive side and this was their main downfall.

"They were successful in overthrowing the Romanovs, but only due to industrialisation as there was a higher concentration of workers in the cities. 

This joint opposition led to the eventual 1905 Revolution - general strikes across the country Sept.- Feb.

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