Explain Why Alexander Ii Slowed the Pace of Reforms from the Mid-1860s.

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Explain why in the years 1906 to 1911, Stolypin attempted to reform agriculture. (12 marks) Stolypin attempted to reform agriculture for many reasons, one of the most important being to strengthen tsarist autocracy. He strongly believed that the future of Russia depended on building a prosperous peasantry. There was widespread rural poverty but an upper class of peasant that farmed efficiently and were wealthier, they were known as the Kulaks. Stolypin believed that the encouragement of a class such as the Kulaks would make them hostile to further change therefore more conservative and loyal to the Tsar as the Tsar had made them wealthy. Furthermore, peasants made up 85% of the population of Russia and a majority relied on agriculture for their income. Reforms that would please the ‘dark masses’ would strengthen the tsarist regime. Another reason for reforming agriculture was to oppress peasant unrest. In Poltava and Kharkov provinces, mass impoverishment of the peasants, which was exacerbated by the poor harvests of 1901 led to 40,000 peasants took part in an uprising where they also ransacked 150 landlord properties. The barricade between the peasants and landlords strengthened in the years of the Red cockerel 1903-4 where peasants set fire to landlord barns. This peasant unrest was supplemented by the fact that the price of grain increased due to hyper during the Russo-Japanese war in 1904 due and the wages of peasants failed to increase with it therefore many peasants were left to starve and were angered hence more likely to revolt. It was evident that introducing new policies which would avoid bad harvests thus preventing mass starvation would oppress opposition. Also, there was a need to lower the price of grain to make it affordable to impoverished peasants as they were most likely to revolt. Stolypin was aware of previous failed reforms in agriculture and
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