To What Extent Had Russia Modernised by 1903?

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To what extent had Russia modernised by 1903? It is simplistic to argue that Russia had not modernised much at all by 1903 and was still stuck in it’s traditional and often considered backwards ways that the country functioned which prevented Russia from catching up to the other large international powers such as Britain who were industrialising, mechanising and modernising radically at the time. There were, however, areas in which Russia did modernise to an extent such as its agriculture, society and communication systems. There was one key event brought about in 1861, by Tsar Alexander II, that aided the partial modernisation of several key aspects in Russia. This event was the Emancipation of the Serfs. This helped to modernise agriculture as it meant they could now buy their own land and control how they worked on it, and when they worked on it; which ultimately affected the country’s food supply and the economy (through exports and foreign money). This freedom for the Serfs meant that they were no longer slaves and were now peasants which, in itself, is a massive step towards a more modern Russia. This also meant that there could even be the possibility for movement within the sturdy system of patronage which already existed - leaving 82% of the population at the bottom within the peasantry. This helped modernise society as the hierarchy within Russia became weaker making slightly more like other countries at the time. Another change in society occurred within the system of patronage too, in that, the working and middle classes began to grow. This was because there were more factories being built (often by foreign companies) which led to more jobs and in turn, more money. This increase in factories was all due to protective tariffs, put in place by Russia’s minister of finance (from 1893 -1903) - Sergei Witte. The tariffs restricted the
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