- opposition had grown against the reactionary and repressive measures of alexander iii. of particular concern were :
the centralised control of the police under the minister of interior
the replacement of elected justices of the peace with 'land captains'
a rise in censorship
the tighter control of the zemstva (provincial governments) and a reduction of peasant representation in these organisations.
- in general, opposition groups called for reforms to the political system to allow for greater representation of the people.
- the main economic problems were :
a lack of productivity compared with international rivals. up to 1894 industrialisation had resulted in an average annual economic growth rate of 8 percent, but much of this was achieved through small scale enterprise.
a lack of free enterprise. the tsar and his ministers directed production by controlling the armaments industry and the railways - the main consumers of industrial products.
a reliance on foreign investment.
rising exports of grain, which had contributed to the terrible famine of 1891.
agriculture was backward, with many peasants still using wooden ploughs that limited productivity.
- social issues arose both in the countryside and towns :
despite the formation of a peasant's land bank (1883) and the abolition of the peasant poll tax (1886), peasants were still aggrieved about their living standards. the redistribution of land had resulted in a reduction in the size of plots and the mir continued to be a barrier to innovation.
the 1891 famine resulted in the deaths of over 350,000 people; its impact was long lasting.
industrialisation led to urbanisation and associated public health problems such as poor housing, lack of sanitation and inadequate water supplies. the result was the spread of diseases, especially cholera.