The Signifcance of Opposition to 1881
Although radical oppoisition to Tsar Alexander II was largely confined to the circles of the intelligensia and university students, nevertheless, some ominous developments had taken place during the reign.
Revolutionary thinking, including Marxism, had began to take a more definite form within Russia, suggesting alternative ways of organisation in both government and society. Furthermore, whilst Alexander II had been more prepared to concede a series of 'reforms from above', even moderate educated Russians of the type found in the Zemstva had begun to demand 'reform from below', whereby some from of representative government would limit the absolute powewr of the Tsar and his advisors.
The emergence of Populism had taken radical opposition away from the debating chambers and underground meeting rooms into the heart of the countryside. Although, it had been largely repulsed by the Conservative peasants themselves, it made others, including the goverment, more aware of the depth of feeling of its opponents and of…