Alexander II 1855 - 1881
Nicknamed 'Tsar Liberator' for his reforms;
Emancipation of the Serfs, 1861. serfdom was seen as the major obstacle to industrialisation of Russia. Alexander II freed the peasants from the land, however they were still restricted to living in mirs and had to repay redemption payments for 49 years (like taxes).
Mirs held land collectively, the elders would share out the land depending on need. Stopped peasants from moving to towns and cities, so still in the way of industrilisation.
Political and Judicial reforms;
1864 first elective form of goverment in Russian history, the ZEMSTVA. However limitied to the wealthy and educated. Very limited powers, much on education and road building.
1870 Trial by jury introduced
Assassinated by the Peoples Will, 1881
Alexander III 1881 - 1894
Problems facing Alexander III;
- Keeping this large multi-ethnic country together
- Maintain his supreme political power (due to his fathers reforms, more were expected)
- pressure to make Russia more modern and westernised.
- Suppressing the rising political radical parties
His Immediate task was to destroy terrorirst organisation; The People's Will.
Governement controlled courts were set up in which a jury was not needed, anyone could be arrested a tried. Thousands exectued or exiled to Siberia.
To stop radical ideas, press freedom was severly restricted, 14 major newspapers banned, foreign books and newspapers rigorously censored by the Okharana (secret police).
1889 Government created 'Land Captains' to enforce local law.
by Alexanders death 1894, Alexander II's reforms had been un done and Russia was once again under control of Tsar and the Orthodox Church.
Pobedonostsev (Chief Minister Alex III)
"Autocracy, Orthodoxy, Nationalism." - Pobedonostsev.
One of the greatest problems facing Alexander III was the multi-ethnics within his country. To bring this under his control,his chief minister, Pobedonostsev, created Russification.
- 1885 Russian was made the language for all of the Russian Empire. All official documents had to be written in Russian, and all other languages were banned in schools.
- The Russian Orthodox Church wasnow to be the only religion practiced, even though there were many religions like muslims, and Jews.
Jews however suffered the most from this Russification. Organised attacks on Jews called 'pograms' which involved in beating, murdering and mobbing of Jews. Usually organised or approved by the Government.
Nicholas II - the Last Tsar
Nicholas II - regarded as 'soft, weak' not a strong ruler. Was governed by Pobdonostsev, was poor in political affairs, had little interest for the governing of Russia.
The 'Great Spurt' under Witte 1892 - 1903. Witte - Finance Minister to Nicholas II
Most associated to rapid industrialisatin of Russia in 1890's. Wanted to create Russia as a Great Power, like other western countries like Britain and France.
Emphasis was put on the production of capital goods like coal, steel, iron and oil.
Had investments from abroad (France, Belgium and Britian) along with extra taxes.
By 1903 Trans-Siberian Railway complete, needed for transport to help industrialise.
By 1900 over half industrial force was employed in factories, more then a 1,000 workers. Cities were growing rapidly. Allowed Russia to devolop it's military power, and exploit Siberian natural resources.
However poor living and working conditions created due to fast growth in cities. Leading towards the 1905 revolution when workers in St Petersburg striked over conditions.
The Socialist Revolutionary (SR) Party; Believed Russia's future lay with the peasantry. Led by Chernov, tried to target membership to the industrial workers, and raise support. Promised all peasants would be given land, had many fractions, wasn't a united party. Contained a terrorist wing, the People Will. Who were responsible for many assassinations in 1901-1905. To the Left were less radical, supported Peasant socialism. - played a strong role in 1905 revolution, during it made 'All Russian Union of Peasants'.
The Social Demoncratic (SD) Party; Less in number to SR but of more significance to the future of Russia. Looked to the radical ideas of Marxism (pg.25 of edexcel book)
SD was split between the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks.
Mensheviks (minority) - Wanted broad membership, admitting anyone who symphathised with their goals.
Bolsheviks (majority) - Wanted a small group of Dedicated Revolutionaries to lead a workers revolution.
1905 - failed revolution?
This revolution was spontaneous. It took place due to the considerable resentment about the Social, Economical and Political situation in Russia.
January 1905 'Bloody Sunday' - 150,000 workers marched in a peaceful demonstration to appeal against on going problems within Russia. However these workers were fired upon by soldiers, and caused anger throughout Russia. Beginning the 1905 revolution...
Social and Economic causes - Russian population was growing rapidly, and there was vast poverty thorough Russia. Harvest failures led to widespread famine and peasants reacted with violence, by 1905 Russian countryside was verging on revolution. The fast industrialisation under Witte had caused many to move to towns and cities, living conditions deteriorating at a rapid rate and by 1905 cities like Moscow had many slums.
Political Causes - 1905 the Tsar possessed complete political power. There was a growing demand for political reform. The SR's were willing to use force and wanted power to be given to peasants. SD's were the most radical willing to use violent revolution to reach there aims.
Russo-Japanese war - undermined the Tsarist regime, made him look weak after failed attacks, and lost land. Was also a national humiliation. worsened already poor living and working conditions as more money was being put towards the war effort then social conditions.