L-21 Part III era of Great Reforms Crisis and Counter-Reform, 1879-94 A. Theses Precursors of crisis & counterreform


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L-21 Part III Era of Great Reforms 7. Crisis and Counter-Reform, 1879-94


A. Theses

  • Precursors of crisis & counterreform

  • Crisis of Autocracy, 1879-81

  • Restoration: Law and order, 1881-85

  • Dynamic Autocracy, 1885-94



B. Crisis of Autocracy

  • Society in revolt

  • “Dictatorship of the Heart”

  • Assassination and reaction



1. Society in Revolt

  • Elites

  • Workers and Peasants

  • Narodnaia volia



Ivan Petunkevich, Tver zemstvo leader



S.A. Muromtsev, Zemstvo Leader

  • “The first and most important of society’s unsatisfied demands is the demand for an opportunity to act. . . . The Russian people are becoming more and more impressed with the conviction that an empire so extensive, and a social life so complicated, as ours cannot be managed exclusively by chinovniki (officials).” 1881 memorandum



Ivan Aksakov (Conservative Publicist)

  • Misunderstanding and distrust have spread like a blight . . . Between the nobility and the people, between the government and society, between the educated and uneducated, and even between members of the same classes of society…. Everything is out of joint, everything has lost its foundations; discontent is everywhere.



Konstantin Pobedonostsev Chief Procurator of the Synod, 1880-1905

  • What I hear [in Spb] from highly placed and learned men makes me sick, as if I were in the company of half-wits and perverted apes. I hear everywhere the trite, deceitful, and accursed word “constitution.” This word, I fear, has made its way into high circles and is taking root.



Rural and Urban Unrest, 1877-82



2. “Dictatorship of the Heart”

  • Mikhail Loris-Melikov



3. Political Terror



Terror and Assassination

  • Sergei Khalturin



Alexander II: Lying in state 3 March 1881



Pervomartovtsy: 1st of March People

  • Nikolai

  • Kibal’chich



Pervomartovtsy: 1st of March Assassins

  • Ignatii

  • Grinevitskii



Trial of Pervomartovtsy Rysakov, Mikhailov, Gel’fman, Kibal’chich, Perovskaia, Zheliabov)



Hanging of the Five Pervomartovtsy (15.04.1881)



4. Defeat of the Liberal Gosudarstvenniki

  • Battle at the top

  • The “pineapple” proclamation of 28.4.81

  • Why Loris-Melikov and the gosudarstvenniki failed



C. Restoring Order

  • Alexander III

  • Repression

  • Zemskii Sobor

  • Social Concessions

  • Counter-Reforms

  • Revolutionary threat



1. Alexander III



Alexander III: Family Man



Alexander III: Office and Meeting with the “People”



2. Repression



3. Zemskii sobor (Nikolai Ignat’ev, Konstantin Pobedonostsev)



Pobedonostsev on Ignatev’s Zemskii Sobor

  • Even if I believed in the zemskii sobor of ancient Russia, I would still stop in amazement before such a thought [of its reestablishment]. Ancient Russia was all one place in its simplicity of concepts, customs, and state requirements. And now it is proposed that we call together a motley, ill-assorted assemblage from contemporary Russia, which is a universe composed of two parts of the earth! Here are the Caucasus and Siberia, and Central Asia, and the Baltic Germans, and Poland, and Finland! And to this babble of tongues we are supposed to present the question of what to do at the present movement. To my mind, this is the height of absurdity for the state. May God deliver us from such a calamity. (Letter to Alexander III, 4 May 1882)



4. Social Concessions

  • Nobility

  • Peasantry

  • Workers



5. Counter-Reforms

  • Church

  • Education

  • Censorship

  • Judiciary



6. Revolutionary Threat

    • Aleksandr Ul’ianov


D. Dynamic Autocracy

  • Policy: reactionaries and modernizers

  • Bureaucracy



Reactionaries Dmitrii A. Tolstoi

  • “Experience demonstrates that, in peasant administration, corporal punishment is a useful, often the only, way of influencing the people—given the peasantry’s low moral and intellectual level.” (1886 memo in defense of corporal punishment)



Reactionaries Prince Vladimir Meshcherskii

  • “There is in Russia an unquestionable truth, recognized by the people. This is the need for flogging. Yet almost everybody—liberal or conservative—urges that it be abolished. But wherever you go, everywhere among the people, there is but one cry: flog us, flog us, flog us.”



2. Modernizers K.P. Pobedonostsev



2. Modernizers Sergei Witte



3. Bureaucracy

  • Elites: incremental change

  • Provincial bureaucracy: rapid expansion, democratization



State Council: Social Origin



State Council: Education



State Council: Religion



State Council: Major Estate Ownership (over 5,000 des.)



Governors: Social Origin



Governors: Education



E. Modernizing from Above

  • Economy

  • Administrative infrastructure: land captain

  • Zemstvo and Duma

  • Russification



1. Economy



2. Administrative Infrastructure: Land captain



3. Zemstvo and Duma

  • 1890 Zemstvo Law

  • 1892 Duma Law



5. Autocrat as Linchpin: Alexander III



Return of Alexander III to Kronshtadt (8 November 1894)



F. Conclusion

  • Crisis of Autocracy

  • From Restoration to Dynamic Autocracy

  • Revolutionaries: terror and regrouping





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