The Reign of Alexander III, 1881-1894


Problems facing Alex III:

  •  crisis following assassination of Alex II by the ‘People’s Will’
  •  immense challenges maintaining Tsar’s supreme political power & keeping empire together
  •  Alex II’s reforms had raised expectation of major change in Russia
  •  pressure from advisers to make empire more like western & central Europe
    •  i.e. reforming autocracy, allowing elective parliament to share power w/ Tsar
  •  hadn’t approved of father’s modernising methods


Repression & Reaction:

  •  assassination of Tsar threatened social & political system
    • threat to Tsar meant threat to upper social classes therefore Alex III’s campaign of repression had widespread support from upper levels of society

Political Repression:

  • to Alex III, those who supported political reform should be repressed
  • brought in Pobedonostsev as Tsar’s chief minister & leading official of State Church
    • wielded immense power & influence
    • masterminded Alex III’s Manifesto, April 1881
  • April Manifesto declared Tsar held absolute political power
  • govt introduced Statute of State Security - setup govt controlled courts to try govt opponents
    • were meant as temporary measure, but stayed in existence until 1917
  • press freedom = severely restricted, foreign books & newspapers = censored by Okhrana
    • aim: to prevent dangerous foreign ideas, e.g. democracy & parliamentary govt
  • universities = under strict govt supervision
  • extremist groups continued to operate underground




An excellent summary of Alexander III's reign with clear sections and use of bullet points to make the information very easy to digest.