Reform and Reaction 1855-1881

Caitlin Hilder
Mind Map by Caitlin Hilder, updated more than 1 year ago
Caitlin Hilder
Created by Caitlin Hilder over 6 years ago


Mind map on reform and reaction in Tsarist Russia from 1855 to the death of Alexander II in March 1881.

Resource summary

Reform and Reaction 1855-1881
  1. Motives for Reform
    1. Political Considerations
      1. Nicholas I's policy of repression hadn't worked, so Alexander II had to find other ways of improving Russia.
      2. Loss of the Crimean War
        1. Humiliation!
          1. Economic crisis, caused by backlash.
            1. International opinion and pressure from Western societies.
              1. Pressure from family members, such as Grand Duke Constantine.
            2. Moral and Intellectual Decisions
              1. Intelligentsia demanded change.
                1. People believed in the current education system (Orthodox Church in control of primary and secondary education).
                2. Economical Condsiderations
                  1. Russia needed to 'catch up' with the West.
                    1. Serfdom was a weak foundation upon which Russia was built.
                      1. Prevented economic development.
                      2. Russia's population had doubled - Urgent need to reform.
                      3. Alexander II's own views.
                        1. Fully committed Autocrat, but had a very liberal outlook.
                          1. Wanted a healthy, dynamic economy without loosing his autocracy.
                        2. The Impact of Reform
                          1. Emancipation
                            1. Many serfs resented the idea of having to pay 'redemption' for land they already regarded as their own.
                              1. The nobility had lost their workforce, and so disagreed with the decree in the first place.
                                1. The economy remained stagnant and technical backwardness continued.
                                  1. Unrest in the countryside continued.
                                    1. Although internal travel was permitted, is was still severely restricted - This was detrimental to the cause, as a mobile workforce was desperately needed.
                                    2. Military 1874
                                      1. Officers were angry as forces were cut down to create a more elite army.
                                        1. Length of service was reduced as well, angering noble leaders further.
                                        2. Peasant conscription was abolished, and made compulsory for all classes
                                        3. Local Government 1864
                                          1. Zemstva's were established, pleasing the liberals and Intelligentsia
                                            1. Who were given the right to improve public services = improved quality of life for peasants.
                                              1. However, they were dominated by nobles and although representation was available, it was a tediously slow process.
                                            2. Judicial 1864
                                              1. All classes were judged equally before the law.
                                                1. Judges training and payment were improved to prevent corruption
                                                2. The jury system could undermine government control.
                                                  1. Case of Vera Zasulich, who was acquitted of terrorism although guilty.
                                                3. Educational 1863 - 64
                                                  1. Primary curriculum was still based on religion
                                                    1. Secondary education was still fee paying.
                                                    2. Students weakened the regime by joining radical opposition groups.
                                                  2. The Extent of Reaction, before 1881
                                                    1. Polish Revolt 1863
                                                      1. A2 revoked Nationalist Reforms in response.
                                                      2. Death of A2's son, 1865
                                                        1. A2 withdrew from public life to grieve, relying on hard-line ministers to oversee Russia.
                                                          1. A2 had a new mistress.
                                                            1. Pushing him away from his more liberal family members.
                                                          2. Assassination Attempt 1866
                                                            1. Karakozov, a nobleman, was acting on behalf of the peasants.
                                                            2. Examples of Reaction:
                                                              1. Authority over primary schools was returned to the Orthodox Church.
                                                                1. Removal of liberal subjects from University curriculums.
                                                                  1. Work of the Third Section was drastically increased.
                                                                    1. Censorship was re-introduced and increased.
                                                                    2. Results of the Period of Reaction
                                                                      1. Critics and opponents thrived underground.
                                                                        1. Increased hostility towards non - Russians.
                                                                          1. e.g Pogroms.
                                                                          2. New opposition movements developed and approved.
                                                                        2. The Significance of Opposition
                                                                          1. The Spread of Opposition
                                                                            1. Relaxation of censorship laws enabled the spread of radical journals.
                                                                              1. Education reforms created a generation of youth who were keen to see their country modernise.
                                                                                1. Zemstva allowed middle class intellectuals a platform to debate their ideas for Russia.
                                                                                  1. Repression in 1866 meant that liberal demands became more extreme and called for a complete change in society.
                                                                                  2. Populism 1867 - 1872
                                                                                    1. Believed in land redistribution and fairer taxes.
                                                                                      1. In 1874, 2,000 of Russia's youth went 'to the people', dressed as peasantry in effort to sway the peasants to the Populist's socialist ideas.
                                                                                        1. The peasantry were very superstitious and reported the Populist's to the authorities.
                                                                                        2. In 1876, there was another drive but it also failed.
                                                                                          1. Exam Question:
                                                                                            1. Why did Populism fail in the 1870's? (12)
                                                                                              1. Peasants were too loyal and resistant to change.
                                                                                                1. Not enough people were behind the Populist movement, meaning no realistic impact could be made.
                                                                                                  1. The Orthodox church disagreed with the Populist movement.
                                                                                                    1. Unrealistic aims.
                                                                                                2. Further Radicalisation 1870 -1881
                                                                                                  1. Land and Liberty Splits 1879
                                                                                                    1. The Black Partition
                                                                                                      1. Worked peacefully alongside the peasants.
                                                                                                        1. Spread radical ideas among students and workers.
                                                                                                        2. The Peoples Will
                                                                                                          1. Aimed to establish representative government and land redistribution.
                                                                                                            1. Advocated violent methods and assassinations. March 1881, they succeeded in assassinating Alexander II.
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