To What Extent Did the Reforms of Alexander Ii Modernise Russia Between 1861 and 1881?

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To what extent did the reforms of Alexander II modernise Russia between 1861 and 1881? Russia was extremely backwards and the need for reform was evident well before the reign of Alexander II. Alexander implemented a number of reforms such as emancipation, military, economy and judicial reforms. Russia did change as a consequence of his reforms. However, they never lead to the considerable improvements he expected as they were somewhat incomplete and many were not satisfied with them. In 1861 Alexander II emancipated the serfs; they were freed from their feudal obligations and allotted land for their needs. They were given freedom from noble interference and control of their lives, as well as being freed from fear of being forced to do military service. The serfs were given very little land and that which they received was of poor quality. The system of land distribution was unfair and most peasants received 4% less land than they had rented before, many received much less. In reality they had less land than when they were serfs. This was seen as unfair as they believed that, because they had worked the land for generations, it should now belong to them. The Mir still restricted peasants’ movements and as consolidation and enlargement of property was difficult, there was little incentive to improve the land and adopt modern methods, resulting in a decline in productivity The huge redemption taxes also meant that the peasants had to sell many of the crops they needed to eat and the Mir kept the peasants tied to their commune and still controlled by rules. Peasants felt disappointed and disillusioned and many rioted. There were 1159 in 1861, affecting 1176 estates and requiring the army to restore order on 337 estates. This reform was not as successful as intended and did not create a ‘modern’ society. General Dmitri Milyutin was Minister of War in 1861, he aimed at
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