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Russia: Reform and Reaction Chapter 23, Section 5.

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Presentation on theme: "Russia: Reform and Reaction Chapter 23, Section 5."— Presentation transcript:

1 Russia: Reform and Reaction Chapter 23, Section 5

2 Conditions in Russia  By 1815, Russia was not only the largest, most populous nation in Europe but also a great world power.  Peter the Great and Catherine the Great had expanded Russian territory all across Asia.  Other European nations viewed Russia as a colossus, or giant, with misgivings.  It has immense natural resources, global influence, and an autocratic government.

3 Obstacles to Progress  Russia began to lag behind its European neighbors because of lack of social programs and economic reforms.  The czars were worried about giving up their absolute powers in order to help their people.  Serfdom prevailed in Russia as lower-class citizens were bound to their masters.  This created a situation where landowning nobles had no reason to improve agriculture or industry.  A large labor supply in Russia meant that few landowners invested in machines that could speed up agricultural labor.

4 Russian Absolutism  Alexander I  When Alexander I inherited the throne in 1801, he seemed open to liberal ideas.  The invasion of Napoleon’s army, however, changed his mind.  He feared losing the support of the nobles.  He attended the Congress of Vienna and joined the conservative powers in opposing liberal and nationalist impulses in Europe.

5 Revolt and Repression  When Alexander I died in 1825, a group of army officers led an uprising known as the Decembrist Revolt.  These officers had picked up liberal ideas while fighting Napoleon in Western Europe and now demanded a new constitution and other reforms.  The new czar, Nicholas I, suppressed the Decembrists and cracked down on all dissent.  Nicholas I used police spies to hunt out critics.  He banned books from Western Europe that might spread liberal ideas.  Many Russians with liberal or revolutionary ideas were judged to be insane and shut up in mental hospitals.  Up to 150,000 others were exiled to Siberia.

6 Nicholas I and Absolutism  To strengthen his regime, Nicholas I embraced the three pillars of Russian absolutism in the motto “Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationalism.”  Orthodoxy – the strong ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and the government  Autocracy – the absolute power of the state  Nationalism – Respect for Russian traditions and suppressions of non-Russian groups within the empire.  Attempts made by Nicholas to help modernize his country were weak and mostly ineffectual.

7 Reforms of Alexander II  Alexander II came to the throne in 1855 during the Crimean War.  The war, which ended in a Russian defeat, revealed the country’s backwardness.  Liberals demanded changes and students demonstrated for reform.  Pressed from all sides, Alexander II finally agreed to reforms.  In 1861, he issued a royal decree that emancipated the serfs.  Emancipation proved problematic because the serfs often could not afford to buy sufficient land to live off of.  Many migrated to the city where they helped to slowly begin the process of Russian industrialization.

8 Other Reforms  Alexander II also set up a system of local government.  Elected assemblies, called zemstvos, were made responsible for matters such as road repair, schools, and agriculture.  At the local level, at least, Russians gained some experience in self-government.  The czar also introduced legal reforms such as trial by jury, easing censorship, and changing military policies.  Since many women were denied education in Russia, many studied abroad in the few universities that would accept them.  Many of these women came to support revolutionary goals.

9 Reaction to Change  Alexander II’s reforms failed to satisfy many Russians.  Peasants had freedom but no land  Liberals wanted a constitution and an elected legislature  Radicals, who had adopted ideas from the west, demanded even more revolutionary changes  The czar, meanwhile, moved away from reform and toward repression.

10 “Go to the People” Movement  In the 1870s, some socialists carried the message of reforms to the peasants.  These educated men and women went to live with peasants in order to spread their ideas but met little success.  The peasants scarcely understood them and sometimes turned them over to the police.  The failure of the “Go to the People” movement, combined with renewed government repression, sparked anger among radicals.  Some turned to terrorism to achieve their political goals.  In March 1881, assassins used bombs to kill the czar.

11 Crackdown  Alexander III responded to his father’s assassination by reviving the harsh methods of Nicholas I.  He increased the power of the secret police, restored strict censorship, and exiled critics to Siberia.  The czar also launched a program of Russification aimed at suppressing the culture of non- Russian people in the empire.  Pogroms, or violent attacks on Jews, were officially encouraged by the government,  Large numbers of Russian Jews fled to the United States during this time.

12 Building Russian Industry  Under Alexander III and his son, Nicholas II, Russia finally entered into the industrial age.  New railroads connected iron and coal mines to factories.  Loans from France helped to build the Trans-Siberian Railroad.  As peasants flocked to the cities with hope of a new beginning, they met harsh working conditions, low pay, and long hours.  Radicals sought supporters among the new industrial workers.  At factory gates, socialists handed out pamphlets that preached the revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx.  One of these revolutionaries was a young Vladimir Ulyanov, or V.I. Lenin.

13 Trans-Siberian Railroad

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