Compare and contrast the policies of Alexander II (1855-81) and Alexander III (1881-94) of Russia


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Compare and contrast the policies of Alexander II (1855-81) and Alexander III (1881-94) of Russia.

  • Compare and contrast the policies of Alexander II (1855-81) and Alexander III (1881-94) of Russia.

  • For what reasons, and with what results, did Alexander II try to reform Russian institutions?

  • Analyse the strengths and weaknesses of Russia in the second half of the nineteenth century.

  • Alexander II tried to reform Russian institutions only because the Crimean War showed that Russia was no longer a great military power.” Use specific examples of Alexander’s reforms to show to what extent you agree with this assertion.

  • Last Specific focus on Foreign Policy question was in 2001

  • Despite his apparently liberal policies, Alexander II was just as conservative as Alexander III.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

  • REFORM VS REACTION

  • REFORM OF RUSSIAN INSTITUTIONS



Aim for a thematic approach

  • Aim for a thematic approach

  • Make sure you know how much Alex II and Alex III reformed Russian institutions- this can then help you do compare / contrast or success / failure.



Key phrase often used in exam questions is the ‘reform of Russian institutions’ be sure to state what they are- (army, judiciary, education, local government, serfdom) this then sets up a thematic approach to the essay.

  • Key phrase often used in exam questions is the ‘reform of Russian institutions’ be sure to state what they are- (army, judiciary, education, local government, serfdom) this then sets up a thematic approach to the essay.

  • Any essay on Alex II domestic policy should deal with the Emancipation of the Serfs.

  • Alex II as ‘Tsar Liberator’- again use the institutions and particularly the Emancipation of the Serfs.

  • The emancipation of the serfs in Russia was the only genuine reform introduced by Alexander II.” To what extent do you agree with this assertion?- again you would start with Serfdom and then move onto other institutions



Key phrase often used is ‘reaction / counter reform’- be clear to explain this.

  • Key phrase often used is ‘reaction / counter reform’- be clear to explain this.

  • How far was he a reactionary?

  • He did make some reforms



Recognised that reform needed to come ‘from above’ to avoid forces of change from below.

  • Recognised that reform needed to come ‘from above’ to avoid forces of change from below.

  • Impact of defeat in the Crimean War.

  • Serfdom was inefficient- economic reasons for emancipation (1861).

  • Emancipation of the Serfs- ‘state engineering’- broke the feudal contract- the Mir system was strengthened- some local autonomy for peasants- more freedom of movement for peasants/ rise of a new ‘class’ of peasant- BUT redemption payments tied peasants to the land- Mir exercised control over the peasants in the same way the gentry had/ Civil disturbances



Moral improvement

  • Moral improvement

  • Great step forward for Russia

  • Decline in the overall size of peasants land holding

  • Opportunity missed by Alex to reform further due to his commitment to Autocracy



Admin / Govt– setting up of the ZEMSTVA – rural local councils – ‘local initiative- local government for the people- but still dominated by the nobility.

  • Admin / Govt– setting up of the ZEMSTVA – rural local councils – ‘local initiative- local government for the people- but still dominated by the nobility.

  • JUDICIARY- reforms dealt with various abuses of law- dealt with corruption within justice system. Trial by jury / Public trials. Pay for judges. Police / Judge role redefined.

  • MILITARY- Milyutin’s reforms- training of officers / Military Code- response to Crimean defeat. Conscription / Education of soliders- overall failure with defeats in 1904 / 1917

  • EDUCATION- zemstva controlled rather than the church- ‘liberalisation’ of education- women / class / curriculum choice- university independence.

  • NOTE OVERALL INFLUENCE OF ARISTOCRACY WHICH LIMITS SCALE OF REFORMS



Autocracy- reforms made to ensure its survival.

  • Autocracy- reforms made to ensure its survival.

  • Nobility still had great influence in Russian institutions.

  • Radical in the context of Tsarism- but not enough.

  • Reforms gave rise to political consciousness.

  • Ultimately Alex II reliant upon repression to uphold the regime.



Personality- assassination of Father- - western style govt not ‘Russian’.

  • Personality- assassination of Father- - western style govt not ‘Russian’.

  • Wanted to rule as an autocrat- ‘Black Tsar’.

  • High levels of repression- formation of Okhrana. High levels of censorship.

  • Attempts to ‘turn back the clock’ on the reform of Russian institutions

  • Controls on judiciary- justice of peace (volost) abolished- replaced with Land Captains- nobility influence again. ‘In camera’ trials allowed. Crimes against state officials heard without a jury

  • Zemstva came under the control of the Ministry of the Interior

  • Education- women denied access to higher courses. Fees increased. Church influence over primary schools increased.



1883 Peasants Land Bank- loans to peasants.

  • 1883 Peasants Land Bank- loans to peasants.

  • Abolition of poll tax 1886

  • 1885 Nobles’ Land Bank

  • 1882 Child Labour Laws- working hours



Emphasis on Russian language, culture, religion and identity.

  • Emphasis on Russian language, culture, religion and identity.

  • Use of the education system to support this.

  • Conscription into the army.

  • Closure of Jewish schools

  • 1881- 1883 Pogroms- attacks on Jewish businesses / property.

  • 1882 ‘Provisional Rules’ measures to restrict the civil rights of Jews- e.g. no right of appeal in court.



Reasons and results of Alex II reform of Russian institutions

  • Reasons and results of Alex II reform of Russian institutions

  • Reasons and results of Alex III’s counter reforms.



Personality.

  • Personality.

  • Attitude towards autocracy.

  • Attitude towards reform of Russian institutions.

  • Attitude towards opposition groups.

  • Foreign Policy.

  • Use of repression / Russification






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