Alexander II's reforms

  • Created by: emmmalley
  • Created on: 07-05-14 17:18

The Emancipation of the Serfs 1861

serfdom had existed since 1649

Alexander II wanted to reform Russia "from above" rather than "from below"

"the single greatest liberating measure in the whole history of Europe" M.S. Anderson

the Emancipation raised expectations and then destroyed them, according to Michael Lynch

21 million serfs were emancipated

by 1859 66% of serfs had been mortgaged for nobles' loans

15% of peasants remained 'temporarily obligated' to landlords until 1881

domestic serfs could not own their own cottage and land

two years of obrok (labour service) was required

20 million state-owned serfs had to wait until 1866 before they achieved complete freedom

peasants were required to pay 'redemption payments' with 6% interest

nobles sold land to peasants up to 90% above market price

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Military Reforms

1861 Dmitrii Milyutin was placed in charge of the army

army conscription lowered from 25 years to 15

comscription made compulsory for all classes over the age of 20

service in the army was no longer a punishment

floggin abolished as a punishment

better medical care provided

privates rose to officer rank through merit only

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Censorship Reforms

1865 the press could comment on government policy

1873 censorship laws were tightened

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Judicial Reforms (1864)

open courts

equality before the law

better training and salaries for judges

trial by jury for criminal cases

press coverage of court cases

judges were still appointed by the Tsar

in 1878 Vera Zasulich won her case in an open court

from 1878 political crimes held in military courts

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Local Government Reforms (1864)

responsible for public services

introduction of the zemstva in 1864

74% of seats in provincial zemstva held by nobles, 10.5% by peasants

38% of seats in district zemstva held by peasants

by 1914 only 43 of 70 provinces had zemstva

in 1881 Alexander II proposed a commission of zemstva representatives for examining legislative bills

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Economic Reforms

1862 Ministry of Finance created

1862 State Bank created

1862 new system of collecting is introduced and tax-farming abolished

66% of government revenue was from indirect taxes

a third of the government's money was spent on repaying debt

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Education Reforms

1863 women were allowed in to Universities

1864 education was transferred from the church to the zemstva

by the 1870s 10,000 students were at University

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