Trying to Preserve Autocracy - Alexander II

What was Russia like before 1855?
''Feudal'' style system - Tsar and nobility retaining the most power. 80% of the pop. were illiterate peasants. The aristocracy made up 1% of pop. but owned 25% of land.
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Which event was a major push for reform?
The Crimean War 1853-56.
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What was highlighted in the Crimea?
Russia's reliance on poorly trained serfs and lack of advanced weaponry/machinery. Highlighted the country's economic backwardness, lack of railways and outdate weaponry.
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What were the political motives for reform?
Autocracy depended largely on the nobility (small percentage of people). Serfs and nobles were unbalanced. High taxes.
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What were the economic motives for reform?
1859 - debt of 54 million roubles. The Mir prevented experimentation with new agricultural methods.
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What were the moral/intellectual motives for reform?
Westernisers vs Slavophiles. Intellectuals viewed serfdom as a breach of human rights. Nihilists wanted to ''sweep away'' tradition.
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When was the Emancipation Edict?
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When did state serfs receive political freedom?
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What were the important terms of the Edict?
Serfs could marry, own property, travel, set up businesses + enjoy legal rights. Serfs given a small plot of land (9 acres). Landlords granted gvt. bonds as compensation. Mir responsible for taxes. 49 annual redemption payments @ 6% interest.
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What were lesser consequences of the Edict?
Freed serfs remained in the mir until redemption payments had been paid off. Landlords were allowed to retain meadows, pasture + woodland as well as personal land. The mir distributed communal open fields. Temporary obligation.
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What were the positives brought by Emancipation?
Peasants could buy land and enjoy a surplus. More peasants moved to the cities. Landowners could use compensation to redeem debts and invest in industrial enterprises.
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1) What were the negatives brought by Emancipation?
Land allocations were insufficient to live on. Peasant rights often remains theoretical e.g right to travel. Landlords in debt, forced to sell of remaining land. Redemption payments provoked unrest. Mir promoted restrictive farming methods.
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2) What were the negatives of Emancipation?
Peasants hated temporary obligation - 647 peasant riots in the months after Emancipation. Aristocracy kept the best land for themselves. Fewer than 50% of peasants could make a surplus.
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What were the problems in the military?
Strict military punishment. Peasant conscripts, untrained + uneducated. Military colonies = lack of control. 45% of gvt. spending. Poor transport. Lack of communication. Conscription was 25 years. Military service was used as a punishment for crime.
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What reforms did Dmitri Milyutin introduce 1860-74?
Conscription was compulsory for all classes (over the age of 20). Length of service was reduced from 25 yrs - 15 (9 spent ''in reserve''). Welfare improvements - abolition of corporal punishment. Military colleges established to train officers.
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What were the successes of the military reforms?
A smaller, better trained army. Costs of the military were reduced. Literacy was improved, 2-3 million soldiers were educated in the 1870's/80's. Russia beat Turkey in 1877.
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What were the failures of the military reforms?
Nobles could bribe their way out of service. Army discipline continued to be harsh. It took longer than expected to defeat Turkey in 1877. Rank was still assigned on social status rather than ability. Russia suffered a humiliating defeat in 1905.
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Why were reforms needed to develop local government?
Nobles had been in charge of local government but emancipation had removed this level of power an a new system was needed.
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What were the local gvt. reforms of 1864?
Zemstva were established at district and provincial levels. Councils were to be elected through an indirect system giving an initial vote - weighted heavily in favour of the nobility. Zemstva were given power to improve public services.
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What were the local gvt. reforms of 1870?
Local government was extended to larger towns with the creation of the Duma - elected town councils.
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What were the successes of the local gvt. reforms?
Zemstva offered some representative government at local level. They made significant improvements in welfare and education. They provided a forum for debate on, and criticism of gvt. policy.
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What were the failures of the local gvt. reforms?
The zemstva were dominated by nobles and ''professionals'' - peasants had a limited influence. They had no control over taxation and law and order.
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Motives for judicial reforms 1864?
Now that serfs were free a new legal system was needed. Nobles wanted change to protect them from the serfs. The pre-Emancipation legal system was considered unfair and out of date.
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What were the problems with the old legal system?
Evidence was often prepared by landowners. There were no juries, no witnesses and no lawyers. The judges decision was final. All evidence was submitted in writing (Russian only). Peasants had little chance to defend themselves.
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What were the judicial reforms?
The reforms established a single system of local, provincial and national courts. Criminal cases were before barristers and a judge. All classes were judged equally. Judges training and pay were improved.
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What were the successes of the judicial reforms?
Fairer, less corrupt system.
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What were the failures of the judicial reforms?
The jury system could undermine the gvt. (Case of Vera Zasulich) From 1878, political crimes were tried in special courts. Ecclesiastical and military courts continued and reform was not available to Poland.
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What educational reforms were introduced by Alexander Golovin in 1863/4?
Zemstva took responsibility for primary education replacing the Church. Free primary education was made available to all. New vocational schools set up at secondary level. Students from both types of secondary school could progress to uni.
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What were the strengths of the education reforms?
Between 1856 + 1880: the number of primary schools tripled; the number of kids in primary education doubled; greater selection of subjects; no. of students at uni tripled.
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What were the weaknesses of the education reforms?
Primary curriculum still based on religion, offered basic reading, writing and arithmetic. Secondary education was still fee-paying. More radical students joined opposition movements committed to violence.
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Card 2


Which event was a major push for reform?


The Crimean War 1853-56.

Card 3


What was highlighted in the Crimea?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What were the political motives for reform?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What were the economic motives for reform?


Preview of the front of card 5
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