Russian Rulers: Alexander II

A set of revision cards outlining his character, reforms and key information

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  • Created by: Aletia
  • Created on: 09-12-13 14:52

Becomes Tsar

Became Tsar in 1855

Russia was fighting the Crimean War (1853-1856)

Lots of turmoil as a result of this 

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February 1861

Emancipation of the Serfs

  • Freed the serfs
  • 'It is better to begin abolishing serfdom from above than to wait for it to begin to abolish itself from below'

Positive effects: 

  • Peasants began to have a more recognised citizenship in society

Negative effects:

  • Redemption payments had to be made - 49 year period at 6% interest
  • Land was only theirs after the last redemption payment
  • Peasants recieved small plots of land from landowners
  • Land admin carried out by mir
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Reasons for emancipating the serfs

  • It was thought that after emancipation, peasants would migrate to work in industry
  • Serfdom = outdated agricultural methods = restricted production = lack of food in growing towns
  • Serfs amde up the bulk of the army --> the Crimean War showed that they were weak and not professionally trained
  • Alexander II though emancipation would reduce number of peasant revolts
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1862-1874: Military Reforms

Alexander II ordered War Minister Milyutin to carry out military reforms

  • Better training of officers
  • Reduced period of service from 25 years to 15 years
  • More humane treatment of troops


A more professional army! 

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1862-1881: Economic Reforms

Mikhail Reutern appointed Minister of Finance (1862-1878)

Aim: attract foreign investment to Russia

  • The staple industries (iron, coal, textiles) exapnded rapidly
  • Railways expanded sevenfold between 1862 and 1878
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1863: Educational Reforms

  • Promotion of private schools
  • Overhaul of the curriculum
  • Setting up of an inspection system (like Ofsted)
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1864: Political Reforms

The Zemstva (regional councils) were created to bring an element of democracy to local government 

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1865: Media Reforms

New guidleines were issued for publishers and writers which provided greater freedom for induviduals to express their views 

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1864: Legal Reforms

  • Judges received better pay - less likely to be bribed/corrupted
  • Juries were introduced
  • Courts made open to the public
  • Hierarchy of courts to deal with different cases
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First Assassination Attempt

In 1866, an assassination attempt was made. This slowed down the reform programme which is ironic: as the Russians were granted more liberties and freedoms, they attempt to kill the man repsonsible

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