He pursued a policy of what has been called ‘counter reform’. Counter-reform was partly a reaction to the murder of Alexander II, but Alexander III also believed that his fathers ‘Great Reforms’ had been a mistake, weakening Tsarism and leaving it vulnerable and insecure. He introduced political repression of opponents, counter-reform, increased central control, financial reform and the policy of Russification as the core stone of his reign. His policy was to undo the reforms as far as possible. In many respects, there is no doubt that Alexander III was the most effective Tsar in such the short reign that he had.
How far does the reign of Alexander III deserve to be called reactionary? When Alexander III became Tsar in March 1884, Russia was in crises, following the assassination of Alexander II at the hands of The People’s Will. There was a huge amount of pressure on Alexander III, not only to govern the world’s largest country, but also to be a good leader in an autocratic empire and restore the approach in which the slavophiles were demanding for. Reactionaries believed that the reforms of Alexander II disestablished the country by encouraging demand for further reforms; Alexander III transformed this opinion brining back harsher rulings to regain power and to deserve the title of a reactionary. The generally chaotic nature of the Empire following Alexander II’s death was suggestive of the need for strong leadership to stabilise the country.
One major aspect that contributed to the Tsarist governments path towards the March Revolution is the decisions that we made by Tsar Nicholas II during WWI. The decisions that Tsar Nicholas II made during WWI made a huge impact towards the March Revolution. His distance as a leader is one trait that came to the surface during this time and heavily contributed to his downfall. The Tsar would avoid any aspect of political landscape that he didn’t like or that he found offensively modern. Just a few examples of things he would avoid are the left, public opinion, industry, the press and unions.
However after Karakazov attempts to assassinate the Tsar in 1866, he becomes much more autocratic, revealing that he had no intention of significantly developing politics, his use of the Zemstvas were in fact to help sustain autocracy, through making local administration more efficient. It can be suggested from this that Alexander II had put the Zemstva Act in place to appease the nobles angered by the Emancipation Act. Alexander III was much more of a successful autocrat. His reactionary attitude led to the reversal of many of his father’s liberal reforms, and was in some cases angered by them. Alexander III re-implements Tsarist form, through the use of repression and terror.
To what extent did Alexander III measures create a stronger Russia? When Alexander III came into power as tsar Russia was in crisis after Alexander II was assassinated by the people will. Alexander III faced a hard job of keeping control of Russia and keeping supreme political power, this meant reform for Russia. Although he was reforming Russia like many Russians wanted to, he was actually moving backwards and launched Russia on the return to conservatism and brought an end to further political reform.Alexander III brought in new reforms to strengthen Russia after the tsar was assassinated because of Russia bad state, these reforms effected the political, financial and nearly every aspect of Russian society. One of the most radical and important changes the tsar first made was russification , this meant that in 1885 the official language was changed to Russia and was taught in all school and no other language was allowed to be used in school .
The Bible could be interpreted in a way which supported the dissolution of the monasteries and the royal supremacy, representing a clear transition of religious power to Henry and the monarchy from the papacy. It is clear that Cromwell laid the foundations of a nation state. By nullifying the function of the pope and the monasteries which served him, Cromwell ensured that the laity was subject to no foreign influence. Furthermore, the transfer of this influence to Henry meant that the beginnings of a Crown-controlled Church, national rather than international in ideologies, were created by
At the beginning of the 1900’s, Russian society was suffering while Western Europeans were seeing increasing civic powers. Tsar Nicholas II was uncompromising and did all he could to suppress liberal movements. At the same time, industrialisation was linking the country and with it, socialist ideas were spreading. (Appendix 3). By 1914 revolution was in the making, and Tsar Nicholas II sealed his fate by inadvertently leading Russia into what would become WWI.
Some believe the Tsar lacked integrity, others say Alexandra and Rasputin were to blame; still others blame the dismantling of the Duma and the harsh rule of the government. Mutual distrust existing between great powers meant The Hague convention was among the first formal statements of the laws of war. On November 1 1894 Alexander III died suddenly from Nephritis. An unprepared naive Nicholas II took power. A bewildered Nicholas beseeched his brother-in-law Grand Duke Alexander, "What am I going to do?
Nicholas was a sensitive man with high pride and always preferred to be with his family rather than to involve himself in the running of his nation. He was weak, and his decision which changed the lives of the peoples of Russia was heavily influenced by his wife; Tsarina Alexandra. In September 1915, Nicholas II assumed supreme command of the Russian Army fighting on the Eastern Front. With Nicholas II being at the Eastern Front, his wife Tsarina Alexandra was left to make the decisions. Tsarina Alexandra was influenced by Gregori Rasputin, an unpopular and scruffy “holy” man, who was supposedly controlling her son’s haemophilia condition.
Lenin’s real opinion of Stalin was highly negative. He was so concerned about Stalin becoming leader that he made a plea in his testament to do anything to stop this. ‘I suggest that the comrades think about a way of removing Stalin from that post and appointing another man in his stead.’ As well as his view to not see him as leader, Lenin described Stalin as ‘rude’, but more importantly, favored Trotsky to be his successor in the testament, stating that he was ‘most capable’ individual to lead Russia. If it wasn’t for Stalin using his role as secretary of state to keep this document hidden, these opinions of Lenin would have influenced the public hugely, as his death alone attracted millions of people to pay their respects. Stalin not only stopped a negative opinion of him costing leadership, but he completely turned that opinion upside down, persuading the public that he was very close to the much loved Lenin.