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Alexander II – Tsar Liberator and Alexander III the Tsar repressor

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Presentation on theme: "Alexander II – Tsar Liberator and Alexander III the Tsar repressor"— Presentation transcript:

1 Alexander II – Tsar Liberator and Alexander III the Tsar repressor
Key questions How had Alexander II ( ) brought change to Russia? What factors brought change in Russia in the period ? What problems did Alexander III face when he became Tsar? How did Alexander III deal with threats to Russian autocracy? How far did Alexander III bring political and social change to Russia?

2 Society was based on a rigid political structure
Tsar Court (landowners and members of government) Small group of businessmen and traders. Peasants (Serfs) (vast majority of Russian population approx 80%)

3 Serfdom (state peasants)
Russia’s biggest problem was serfdom – it led to subsistence agriculture (survival agriculture – serfs only produced enough to survive and feed themselves) Two problems from this – 1) little available for export and 2) it led to famine.

4 Alexander II ‘Tsar liberator’
Influenced by Crimean War and Russia’s defeat. Embarked on extensive reform of Russian government and society. 1861 – Alexander II abolished serfdom. However this did not mean they were absolutely free. They had to pay redemption payments and live in mirs (communes) managed by elders of the community. Peasants could not leave the mir without permission from the elder. The elder would distribute the land accordingly . Famines followed (1891 – causing widespread loss of life)

5 Alexander II ‘Tsar Liberator’
However, he was still an autocrat which left him criticised by radicals. Lots of radical opposition and was assassinated in 1881.

6 Read the ‘Emancipation and its consequences’ worksheet and answer the questions which follow.
Complete the ‘Reasons for the changes in Russian History’ card sort and complete the table.

7 On March 1881, Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by a terrorist group called the ‘People’s Will’.
His son Alexander II therefore became Tsar. Alexander III faced the problem of keeping a large, multi-ethnic Empire together as well as maintaining his own supreme political power (difficult as people expected change due to reforms made by Alexander II) Also faced pressure from ‘Westeners’ who suggest Russia should reform to keep up with Europe. Further pressure came from Slavophiles who suggested Russia develop along its own path.

8 Alex III did not approve of his fathers modernisation so when he became Tsar in 1881 he ended further political reform. Moderates (liberals who supported peaceful political change)and extremists were not happy and wanted reform. Extremists included The ‘People’s Will’ formed in 1879 for the purpose of violent change. They just wanted to destroy the Tsars rule and assassinated many senior Tsarist officials and attempted to murder the Tsar himself.

9 Attempts to abolish Tsarism was worrying for the landed aristocracy and the senior members of the Russian Orthodox church so the campaign of repression launched by Alex III had widespread support from the upper levels of Russian society. It soon became clear to Alex III that those who supported political reform should be repressed.

10 The Government introduced the Statute of State Security, which set up government-controlled courts to try government opponents. The government could now arrest and put on trial political opponents, without the need for a jury. The government also banned press freedom, foreign books and newspapers were censored and university fees increased to excluded all but the very wealthy.

11 However this still did not destroy the People’s Will who operated underground. In the crackdown that followed Lenin’s elder brother was murdered, an act that Lenin later took revenge on in 1918. No aspect of Russian society seemed untouched by central government control. Pobedonostsev, the Tsars chief minister, began to undo many of the reforms introduced by Alex II.

12 Introductions by Pobedonostsev included;
Land Captains to enforce local laws. The franchise was restricted. Strict press censorship Virtually no legal activity Wide-ranging police powers Religious control over education Sons of peasants could not enter secondary school By the time of Alex III’s death, in 1894, Pobedonostsev had turned the clock back in terms of social and political reform. Russia was now the most repressive state in all of Europe.

13 Alex III also began a process of ‘Russification’ – insisting on the use of the Russian language. (1885) The Government also approved or organised attacks on Jews, including beating, robbing, rapes and even murder.

14 Financial reform also took place under Alex III.
Alex’s first finance minister, Nikolai Bunge introduced laws in 1882 which reduced the tax burden on peasants and established a Peasant Land Bank which offered loan facilities to peasants to help them increase the size of their landowning and make them more productive.

15 Alexander III died in 1894, succeeded by his son Nicholas II.
During his reign he had clearly re-established the autocratic power of the Tsar, based on firm foundations of support from the landed classes and the Russian Orthodox Church. It had come at a cost – political freedom was brutally suppressed. Opponents had been exiled or fled to find refuge (many becoming radicals ready for revenge). The peasant population continued to grow and their problems grew rose (inc famines of 1892 and 1893)

16 Problems that Alexander III faced
Read p and produce two lists like the one below. List evidence of the problems Alexander III faced and the policies he made to resolve them. Try to draw links between the two lists. b) List the problems that Alexander III created. c) Study the table on p.17 and make a list of the similarities and differences between Russia at the start and end of Alexander’s III reign. d) Look at the source on p.13. What can you learn about Russia from this source? Problems that Alexander III faced Policies he made to resolve the problems

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