How Similar Was Alexander Ii’s Russia to Alexander Iii’s Russia?

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Alexander II came to the throne in 1855 after the death of his father, Tsar Nicholas I. Alexander II is widely known by many as the “liberator”, and is recognised chiefly for the emancipation of the serfs. Alexander III is commonly known as a reactionary leader, angered by the assassination of his father (Alexander II) he is seen to lead in a much more forceful manner. Both Tsars were incontrovertibly autocrats, making decisions for the whole country on their own. However the degree of which the autocracy is enforced varies. Alexander II’s reforms involved the 1864 Zemstva Act, which created local councils. These local councils had powers to provide roads, schools and medical services. However, the right to elect members was restricted to the wealthy. This meant that only the nobles would be in charge, as they would all vote their friends into office. 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. At the end of the Crimean War, Alexander II realised that Russia was no longer a great military power. His advisers argued that a backwards economy which is reliant on the serfs could not compete with modernized powers such as Britain and France. He also became increasingly unpopular at this time, meaning he needed to do something
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