Other reforms of Alexander II's

Other reforms of Alexander II from 1861 to 1870.

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  • Created by: juddr12
  • Created on: 08-02-15 20:29

Key reforms

1861- emancipation of the serfs.
1862- ministry of finance and state bank formed.
1863- censorship moved to the ministry of the interior and subjects taught in school widened.
1864- Zemstva Statute was issued.
1865- censorship law relaxed on maps, guides and most books.
1870- Duma were set up in rural areas.

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Local Government (1864) (1)

When Alexander first came to the throne, provincial governors were local level representatives. They didn't represent the people, they represented the Tsar.

When the serfs were emancipated in 1861, it was difficult for the provincial governors to watch all of the serfs because the landlords used to do watch them. Therefore, it was clear that a local government was needed because it would be cheaper than expanding the bureaucracy, it maintained control over serfs and it compensated landlords for their loss by giving them seats on the local government.

Following the Zemstva Statute, Russia was divided into 50 provinces, each with a governor and a Zemstva. The Zemstva of each province scanned each of it's districts with the help of the Marshal of the Nobility. Each of the districts also had its own lower level Zemstva.

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Local Government (1864) (2)

Provincial level Zemstva had a 70% noble seat, meaning that they has control over taxes, properties, businesses, schools, public wealth and prisons.

In 1870, the Municipal Statute stated that all cities and towns above a certain size would have their own town council on the same basis of the Zemstva and were to be called Duma.

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Military (1874)

Before reform, Russia had lost the Crimean war because the army had conscripted serfs as soldiers and limited weapons for groups of soldiers.

After reform, 25 years of military service was decreased to 6 years of active service and 9 years on getting reserve. All men from the age of 21 were considered (1/4 were considered by ballot). Army conscription couldn't be used as a punishment anymore.

Military colleges were established so that the soldiers were better educated. Also, Milyutin reformed the General Staff who coordinated armed forces. Weapons were modernised.

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Judiciary (1864)

Before the 2nd December 1864, the legal system was flawed, useless and in secret. Bribery was very common amongst judges because they weren't paid. Evidence was never cross-examined either.

However, following this date, reforms were set in place that made a public gallery exist and 'trial by jury' started. Judges were paid more and 'freedom of speech' was admitted to lawyers. Oral evidence from the witnesses and the defendant were also heard.

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Education (1)


The 1863-1864 reforms were made under a liberal Minister of Education, named Golovnin. However, during Alex's reign, Dmitry Tolstoy replaced him, who was a conservative.

Primary Schools


  • Girls could now study with 45% of students being women.
  • Increase in primary schools.
  • The amount of pupils rose because it was cheaper and easier for peasants to get an education (8,000 to 1,000,000).
  • Amount of teacher training colleges increased.


  • Only 6% of the education budget was spent on primary schools.
  • Education expenditure made only 1% of all expenditure.
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Education (2)

Secondry Schools


  • Secondry education was made available for all children of class and religion and gender.
  • The curriculum expanded to allow Latin, Greek, Natural Science, Religion, History, Geography, Russian Literature and Maths.


  • Tolstoi preferred a programme of classical study.
  • People couldn't afford secondry education.
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Education (3)



  • There was a relaxation of the restrictive enrolment quotas.
  • There was more generous financial support (e.g. 2/3 of Moscow University students had no fees)
  • Scholarships were available.
  • Women had the right to university-level education (20% of all students were women).
  • Students' lives weren't monitored off campus.


  • Numbers remained low in comparison to Britain.
  • 2/3 of students at university were affluent.
  • Opposition was presenting itself because of the liberal lecturers.
  • 87% of Russians arrested for political infringement were students.
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  • Between 1861-1863, censorship was ran under the Ministry of Education, who, at the time, was Golovnin.
  • In 1865, regulations were issued that removed most types of censorship, including the abolition of the Ministry of Interior's approval on maps, diagrams, government publications and academic publications.
  • The only things that still needed approval were magazines, and anything that regarded the military or religion
  • However, following the assassination attempt of Alexander II in 1866, a radical journal named the Contemporary was banned.
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The finance minister was Mikhail Reiter, and he had to reform because of the 54 million rouble debt, caused by the Crimean war.

Reform stipulated that all departments of government gave their income to the treasury so that they could manage their country much more efficiently.

1862 saw tax reform. An example of this is when, in 1863, he abandoned the practice of licencing private contractors that collected vodka tax. He then replaced this with a directly collected tax system which became one of the biggest forms of income for the Treasury.

He increased the mileage of the railroads from 700 miles to 14,000 miles during Alexander's reign.

The State Bank opened in 1862.

The following things made it difficult for Russia to progress:

  • The Polish revolt in 1863
  • 1877-8 Russo-Turkish war.
  • They heavily taxed the peasants through the poll tax and redemption payments.
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