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ALEXANDER II: GOALS - Tarleton State University

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ALEXANDER II: GOALS
• To improve the
tarnished image that
Russia received as a
result of its defeat in
the Crimean War
• To correct the
internal problems
which had
contributed to this
defeat
IMPROVING RUSSIA’S IMAGE
• Took advantage of
Franco-Prussian War to
void provisions of Treaty
of Paris that restricted
Russian activities in
Black Sea region
• Won Russo-Turkish War
of 1877-78
– Gained control of
Bulgaria (temporarily)
• Established control of
Caucasus and Central
Asia
• Won territorial
concessions from China
IMPROVING INTERNAL STATUS
QUO
• Not motivated by liberal principles
– Simply realized that certain
changes had to be made to
domestic status quo if Russia was
to remain a great power
• Primary issue was serfdom
– Few nobles could afford serfs
– New laborers required for changing
economy
– 1500 peasant rebellions between
1800-1860
– Uneducated, docile serfs had
fought poorly in Crimean War
– Educated Russian objected to
serfdom on moral grounds
THE GREAT EMANCIPATION
• March 3, 1861: Alexander signs
imperial order freeing 40 million
serfs
– Nobles gave up ½ of the land
they formerly controlled
• Compensated by govt.
– Land given to serfs to work as
their own
• Legal title held by village
assemblies
• Each serf family had to
accept allotment, assume tax
liability, and make annual
“redemption” payments for
49 years to cover cost of
compensating landlords
WEAKNESSES
• Terms not generous enough to
improve their lives
– Redemption payments were
high
– Each family only received an
average of six or seven acres
– Little surplus income to buy
more land
• Edict did not provide crucial
resources (such as timber and
pasture lands and water rights)
• Did legally abolish serfdom but
left peasants with inadequate
amount of land and huge financial
burden of increased taxes and
redemption payments
– Many peasants felt betrayed
ZEMSTVOS
• Provincial and district assemblies
– 1864
– Administer local affairs
– Representatives chosen by a
complicated electoral system
• Peasants received significant
representation but nobles
dominated
– Met once a year and selected
committees that met regularly all
year
– Responsibilities limited to local
finances, public health, road
maintenance, and education
• Improved conditions and
gave people some experience
with representative
government
OTHER REFORMS
• Legal reforms
– Administration of
justice made separate
branch of government
– Jury trials introduced
– Freedom of speech
granted to lawyers
– Equal treatment before
law guaranteed
• Military reforms
– Conscription expanded
to include all Russians
– Term of service lowered
from 25 to 6 years
– Reserve force created
REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT
• Revolutionary
movement had
developed into several
distinct branches
– Remained upperclass movement
centered in
universities of
Moscow and St.
Petersburg
– Never a mass
movement
RUSSIAN INTELLIGENTSIA (I)
• Slavophils
– Nationalists who sought a return
to the Russian state as it was
before Peter the Great
– Ideal was an isolated nation
based on the peasant commune,
a purified Orthodox Church, and
an autocracy free from all
bureaucratic interference
• Westerners
– Advocated a secular, rational
approach to development
• Based on increase use of
Western technology, thought,
and social structures
• Inspiration was Peter the
Great
RUSSIAN INTELLIGENTSIA (II)
• Petrashevtsi
– Leader was Mikhail
Petrashevsky
– Followed teachings of Charles
Fourier
– Spread socialist literature
and opposed Nicholas I
– Some members arrested and
executed
• Fedor Dostoevsky
SOURCES OF POPULISM I
• Narodnichestvo
• Influenced by Alexander Herzen
– Westerner and moderate
revolutionary
– Embraced socialism but adapted
it to Russian conditions
• Socialism would spring from
a peasant revolution and
would be based on traditional
socialistic tendencies of the
peasant commune
– Published Kolokol (“The Bell”)
from Paris
• 1857-1867
• Found eager audience among
educated Russians
SOURCES OF POPULISM II
Mikhail Bakunin
• More radical than Herzen
• Called for a violent revolution
that would abolish the state
and church and establish a
society in which no class
would dominate
• Envisioned political authority
being held by self-governing
communes—no state
• Spent most of adult life in
exile
– Participated in Revolutions
of 1848
– Leader of anarchist wing
of the First International
SOURCES OF POPULISM III
• Wrote What Is To Be Done?
– Outlined vision of Russia under
socialist system
• Postulated existence of “new
man”—an elite corps of
intellectuals who would
strive to improve conditions
– Argued that Russia could skip
capitalist phase and go directly
to socialism
– Exhorted followers to violently
pull down existing system
• Inspired future revolutionaries,
especially Lenin
Nicholas Chernyshevsky
“GO TO THE PEOPLE” MOVEMENT
• Thousands of university
students go into countryside to
work with peasants
– 1873
– Inspired by Herzen’s notion
of “natural socialism” of
peasants
– Purpose was to awaken
peasants to their socialist
potential and inspire them to
revolution
• Students did not receive warm
welcome
– Beat up and chased away by
frightened peasants
– Government also arrested
many participants
AFTERSHOCKS
• Failure of “Go to People” convinced many
that a revolutionary elite should act for the
people, not necessarily with the people
• Land and Freedom (Zemlya i Volya)
– Founded in 1876
– Dedicated to overthrow of government
by any means necessary, ending private
land ownership, redistribution of land to
peasants, and self-determination for
national minorities
– Vera Zasulich tried to kill governor of St.
Petersburg
• Jury refused to convict her even
though she made no attempt to deny
her crime
PEOPLE’S WILL (NARODNAYA
VOLYA)
• Land and Freedom splits
into two groups by 1879
– One group wanted to
prepare people for
revolution through
propaganda and
education
– Other group dedicated
to immediate reign of
terror that would
destroy tsarist regime
• People’s Will
• Kills Alexander II on
March 1, 1881 with
hand grenade
ALEXANDER III
• Tsar from 1881-1894
• Determined to re-establish law and
order and reassert complete authority
of the autocracy
• Determined to crush all revolutionary
activity
– Strengthened powers of secret
police
– Banned all student associations
– Further restricted university
curriculums
– Established government bank to
make loans to nobles
– Restricted access of lower classes
to educational institutions
– Forced non-Orthodox subjects to
convert to Orthodox Christianity
POGROMS
• Alexander was an intense
nationalist and anti-semite
• Discriminated against national
minorities
– Suppressed their local culture,
language and religion
• Organized pogroms against Jews
– Organized against Jews who
lived in cities
– Resulted in many deaths and
massive property destruction
– Forced Jews to live in “Pale of
Settlement” (Ukraine)
– Restricted number of Jews
admitted to schools
– Over one million Jews fled
Russia as a result
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