Alexander II Reforms


Analyze the reasons why the domestic reforms introduced by Alexander ll after 1856 increased rather than diminished revolutionary sentiment in Russia.


Introduction of Alexander II reforms and their significance.

From 1855 through 1881, Russia was ruled by Alexander II. As a result of the Crimean
War in 1855, Russias international standing had deteriorated. Alexander II was known as the
Tsar Liberator because he recognized the government’s army inferiority and realized that serfs were required to rectify the situation. He enacted a slew of measures aimed at the serfs to fortify Russia and maintain authoritarian control. Critics claim he was window dressing, and the changes were never intended to benefit serfs (Bunce, 2019). There is a need to concentrate on specific reforms such as military groups, legislation, education, local governments.

The various reforms Alexander II undertook

Emancipation Act

Firstly, Aleksander’s concern for revolutionary drove changes to serfs and began with the
Emancipation Act, which offered just independence as they still had to pay redeem payments for fifteen decades because they were still linked to their land by MIRs. They were still revolutionary, and in Russia, these reforms never took place. Secondly, military reforms were promoted via the removal of serfdom and the failure of Russian forces during the Crimean War (Ivleva, 2019). The changes included modernizing the military and attempting for the first time to achieve more equality and an offensive against class warfare.

Laws and regulations

Third, laws and regulations were needed to define the position of farmers in Russia. The improvements enhanced the judicial system locally, while farmers were tried separately and the class division strengthened. Fourthly, in 1864 Zemstvos was introduced by the reforms of local authorities. The aristocracy maintained its strong position so that the reforms did not threaten autocracy and foster class conflict but also strengthened government and shown that Russians can be democratic (Levitt, 2018).

Education reform

Finally, education reform was a significant step towards the modernization and consolidation of Russia. It has enabled Russians to raise their living conditions. In particular, Russia was modernized and free of feudalism. The acknowledgment of western technology and culture was a vital element of these reforms, which were many less influencing different aspects of Russo life. Their aim and outcome were to reduce class privileges and human rights growth (Ivleva, 2019). In addition, Alexander had instituted a political thaw since the moment of his ratification. There were released political dissidents, and Siberian foreigners were allowed to come back.

Evaluate the impact of Alexander II’s reforms

Eliminating the Minority Jews

The personal tolerant emperor has eliminated or alleviated severe disabilities, especially among Jews and sectarians, for religious and ethnic minorities. International travel sanctions were lifted (Bunce, 2019). The medieval barbarous sanctions have been abolished. Poland has been eased with the intensity of Russia’s control. Despite these steps, however, it would be incorrect to characterize Alexander II as a Liberal, as is sometimes the case. He was indeed a staunch proponent of autocratic beliefs, firmly convinced both of his responsibility and Russian disapproval of democracy or participatory governance to retain God-given dictatorial authority.

Political assassinations

The easing of Russian authority in Poland resulted in patriotic public protests, plotted killings, and, eventually, in 1863, a national revolution that was only repressed with difficulties involved under threat of Western interference on the Poles behalf. In the tsar’s opinion, even more, worrisome was the development of nihilism ideas among Russian youth, which resulted in radical pamphlets, secret organizations, and the commencement of a revolutionary struggle (Yiǧit Gülseven, 2017). After 1862, the government responded progressively with oppressive police actions.

Rebellious Movement

In the spring of 1866, a youthful rebellion named Dmitry Karakozov plotted to assassinate the monarch. Alexander, who bore himself heroically amid grave peril, escaped nearly by a miracle (Lovell, 2020). The effort, on the other hand, created a lasting impression by finishing his transition to conservative. Pyotr Shuvalov, the chief of the secret police, was the tsar’s senior minister for the next eight years, retaining his authority at least in part by scaring his master with actual and imagined dangers.


While some of Alexander II reforms were not successful, they cannot be used to discredit him as a great pragmatist. He still anticipated implementing the policy changes to develop Russia, so while they may not introduce him as a great pragmatist, they cannot discredit his modernizing intentions. Educational policies, for example, were aimed at improving training to improve Russian society. While these changes may have had some unintended repercussions, such as increased resistance and criticism, there is no disputing that they improved education as he planned (Mamonov, 2018). The number of primary and secondary institution were tripled from three thousand schools to more than ten thousands schools.

Abolishing Censorship

Alexander’s relaxing censorship was a further attempt to better Russian society through media growth by promoting popular sentiment and modernity, but similar to schooling. It has increased the public political protest. The important note is that opposition, which rarely appeared, was not so influential as they might think it remained so strongly conservative (Becker, 2021). It is therefore
disputable whether opponents to the reform efforts of Alexander II could be employed to
describe his title as the great change agent as not valid.

Notable Legacy

In his time as a Tsar, Alexander II undertook several further changes, notably post-Crimean defense liberalization, which decreased the budgetary load of the permanent army and expanded the participation of all. His changes were designed to improve and create a fairer, more regulated Russian society, but not all of them have been incredibly effective. As a consequence of this, his legitimacy as a grand reformer declined (Yiǧit Gülseven, 2017). They nevertheless indicated a significant change from the previous Tsar, who might not have taken so long to reform as Alexander could, in addition, verify his status as the tremendous pragmatist.

Economic and social system

Notwithstanding the actual emotions of Alexander II, he aimed at reforming the Russian
economic and social system in relatively liberal (for Russia) terms. Alexander’s tenure was the
most reactionary country in Europe when one points to the freeing of serfs. But even a quick
review of these improvements shows that these improvements were too little, too little, too late.
Worse still, these reforms encouraged democratic reformers, mainly professionals, intellectuals,
and students, that called for further rapid reforms and that the dictatorship refused to do.
Ironically the extremely restricted character of these changes sparked strong resistance among
the populace of Russia, which would be brought to the surface in the early 1900s by the
revolution (Lovell, 2020). The argument that several historians have made the commencement of
the Russian Revolution about the Napoleonic wars.

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