Tsar Alexander III Reforms

The reforms/counter-reforms of Tsar Alexander III

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Political

  • 1881:  Defeat for proposals for constitutional reform
  • 1881: Law on Exceptional Measures passed - gave government more power to interfere with civil liberties, trials without hearing
  • Okhrana formed - secret police
  • Increased bureaucratic control and number of officials - centralization
  • 1890: Zemstva Act passed - reduced peasant representation, increase in intelligentsia
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Social

  • 1882: Higher education for women gradually closed
  • 1883: Dissenters not allowed to engage in religious activity
  • 1883: Peasants' Land Bank creasted, abolition of poll tax
  • 1884: State control over universities established
  • 1887: Increase in university fees to exclude poor
  • Church given more control in education: number of schools increased from over 4 000 to over 31 000
  • Life expectancy in 1897 was 32 - poor standards of living/work, no implementation of new factory laws
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Judiciary

  • 1885: Minister for Justice given increased disciplinary powers
  • 1887: Introduction of trials without a dury
  • 1889: Local courts abolished: government has full power over judiciary system
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Russification

  • Aimed to enforce Russian culture in order to centralize the country
  • 1882: Provisional Rules for Jews: banned from settling in rural areas, from holding admin. office, from running schools, from printing books, from having right of appeal in courts
  • 1890: Deportation of foreign Jews
  • Increase in revolutionary activity
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Economic

  • Sergei Witte was the minister responsible for the economic reforms
  • High import duties imposed 1887 and 1891 to protect against foreign competition
  • Foreign investment encouraged - rose from 26-41% between 1890-1915
  • 1897: New rouble introduced linked to the gold standard
  • Taxes raised
  • Tras-Siberian Railway constructed 1892-1904

 

However:

  • Poor conditions in factories, harsh discipline - discontent amongst workers
  • 1891: Famine, 500 000 died
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