ALEXANDER III: Counter Reforms - Zemstvos

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Political Science
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ALEXANDER III The voice of God orders us courageously to undertake the task of ruling, with faith in the strength and rightness of autocratic power.

The Last True Autocrat of Russia

ALEXANDER III: The Russian Bear

• Born in St. Petersburg on Feb. 26, 1845 • Second son of Tsar Alexander II • Older brother, Nicholas, died in 1865, making him heir to throne • Married the wife of his older brother • Father of 5 children: Nicholas, George, Xenia, Michael & Olga

ALEXANDER III: The Russian Bear

• Assumed the throne and role of Tsar in March 1881 due to assassination of father, Alexander II • Nicknamed the Russian Bear. 6’4’’ tall (193 cm) • Heavily influenced by the conservative political and religious views of his tutor, Count Pobedonostsev • Fierce nationalist and defender of the autocracy.

Alexander III: The Royal Family Michael, Marie Fedorovna, Alexander III, George, Olga, Xenia, & Nicholas

Alexander III: Influences Pobedonestsev • Heavily influenced by Konstantin Pobedonestsev – tutor of 3 different tsars. • Staunch imperialist and supporter of the tools needed to run the empire: Orthodoxy, nationalism, & conservative autocracy


• Taught to view liberal reforms – constitution & free press - as threat to the state. • Threats to the state should be crushed • Influenced by tutor to be anti-semitic – Jews were Christ Killers • After the death of Alexander II, reacts to the reforms


ALEXANDER III: INFLUENCES – Assassination of Alexander II • The assassination of his father occurred at a critical moment • Attempts on Alexander II’s life began in earnest in 1866 forcing Tsar to isolate himself and react more conservatively in last half of reign • Members of the People’s Will succeed in assassinating Alexander II on March 1, 1881 • March 1, 1881 very significant day


• Rage at father’s death • Event would solidify the reactionary tone of Alexander III’s reign from 1881-1894 • Important point: Did not support father’s reforms

ALEXANDER III: Importance of Father’s Death

• Weakness of policy of reform • Reformers wanted same democratic rights as other European countries • Weakness of reform spawned reform groups (Land & Liberty, People’s Will) • Alexander II’s death ended hope for reform from above

ALEXANDER III: Personal Ideology Becomes Policy • Enraged at • Determined to assassination strengthen the rule of the tsars as a God given • Reverses father’s right commitment to national assembly & constitution • Known as reactionary ruler and reign is Age • Gives Accession of Counter Reform Manifesto (rightness of autocracy, religious • Political Ideology was references, defines one of 1 nationality, faithful subject) language, religion & form of administration

ALEXANDER III: Counter Reforms • Quickly began dismissing any liberal proposals within government • Liberal judges and officials sacked • Tightened censorship of press • Exiled thousands of revolutionaries to Siberia

ALEXANDER III: Counter Reforms Zemstvos • Alexander II had created local political councils in rural (zemstvos) and urban (dumas) areas. • Alexander III believed that zemstvos impaired position of nobility & endangered class structure. • Appoints crown approved nobles ot serve as land captains – would have admin & juridicial control. • Segregates zemstvo elections on a class basis (nobles, non-peasants, peasants) • Result: Nobles represented 57%, 30% Peasants, 13% others of zemstvo seats. Nobility clearly dominant.

ALEXANDER III: Counter Reforms Zemstvos • Voting for nobles and others in zemstvo required land ownership • Women & Jews disenfranchised • Decisions of zemstvos had to be approved by Minister of Interior • Crown officials decided if decisions were dangerous to public or local interests • Prevented from raising own money – provincial governors in control of finances now

ALEXANDER III: Counter Reforms Political Liberties • After assassination, state of emergency declared (martial law) • Govt. administrators given extra-judicial and executive powers. • Could: issue fines without court appeal, make arrests, confiscate property. • Legal jurisdiction given to military tribunals

• Land Captains took over as justice of the peace as justices were sacked. • Huge #’s of people disenfranchised: landless, bulk of urban population, Jews • In Jewish Pale of Settlement 1/10 of officials were Jewish • Autonomy of universities eliminated

ALEXANDER III: COUNTER REFORMS The Peasantry – Still in Bondage • 1881, redemption made compulsory for all peasants • Peasants needed consent from owners to leave villages, even if they had paid redemption fees • 2/3 of zemstvo had to approve breakup of any household • Peasants could not withdraw from commune • Land captains decided partitioning of lands

ALEXANDER III: COUNTER REFORMS Urban Workers Misery • 50% of workers worked in large factories – 1000+ workers • Government intervention for disputes between workers and owners • Stiff penalties for strikes • 1890, government inspectors given right to use child labor and nighttime work for women

ALEXANDER III: Counter Reforms Russification

• Russification of all elements of Russian society introduced • Imposition of Russian language and schools on all national minorities (Germans, Poles, Finns, etc.) • Use of Russian mandatory by local officials and in courts

ALEXANDER III: Counter Reforms Russification “Trying to stamp out the native language was not just an insulting and demoralizing policy… it was ridiculous as well. Polish students at Warsaw University, for example, had to suffer the absurd indignity of studying their own native literature in Russian translation.”

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