How Life As a Peasant In Russia Changes 1881-1905

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Life as a Peasant between 1881 and 1905 In 1881 the peasant community (82 per cent of the Russian community) as a whole had a huge feeling of expectation. In response to increasing peasant disturbances (348 in 1945-54 to 1859 in 1861) over two decades Alexander the 2nd introduced reforms which had revolutionary impacts on their lives; they had become free, education was more easily available, they now had far more power of the judicial system and could self-govern through the introduction of Zemstvas. However, many of these reforms weren’t all they were made out to be. For example the emancipation of the serfs set all of them free, but also burdened them with 49 years of tax, which neutered its effect. Hence, though peasant life was at its best in its history, all these reforms did for the majority was ignite the hope that more liberating reforms were to come. Unfortunately the untimely assassination of Tsar Liberator by the extremist group, ‘The Peoples Will’ led to the rise in power of Alexander 3rd, who’s views towards the ruling of Russia differed greatly from his fathers. Many of the liberties granted through the reforms were stripped by Alexander 3rd’s own reforms. Peasants control over courts was restricted as courts for government opponents became government controlled. Many government opponents would have been protesting about how unfair the Russian system was towards peasants and hence through trial by jury, they would have been sympathised with. For example, the case of Vera Zasulich, a radial extremist, fought back against the system and shot dead a hated police chief in St Petersburg and was acquitted. This was viewed as the wrong verdict by the government and the Tsar and so had to be changed to stop it from re-occurring. Furthermore, the Okhrana was established which physically repressed the majority of peasant rebellions. As well as restricting
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