Alexander II: The Tsar Liberator

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Alexander II, widely known as ‘The Tsar Liberator’ was the first Tsar to bring about real reform in Russia, the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 was the brainchild of Alexander and it took considerable effort on his part to persuade his advisors that it was a good idea. It was a huge move on paper as it aimed to change the traditional order in Russian society. In addition, Alexander II also brought in other reforms such as juries for all trials, allowing lectures of European government in universities and establishing the ‘zemstva’ in 1864. He was even considering further political reform that would have allowed some modest popular involvement in the political process but was killed before the reforms could be finalised. He did want to update Russia’s economic and social situation to increase military success but did not want to let go of real power and noble control synonymous with the Romanov dynasty so any further radical reform that limited that power would have been unlikely.…show more content…
He secured loans and investment from Western Europe, oversaw the building of the Trans-Siberian railway, put the rouble on the gold standard in 1897 and encouraged the spread of free education; especially technical schools. In addition his policies resulted in 8% per annum economic growth at the end of the 19th century (the highest growth rate of any of the world’s major economies), known as Witte’s ‘Great Spurt’. Even after his term in 1905 he negotiated an £80m Franco-British loan and designed Nicholas II’s October Manifesto. His actions support the view that individuals were important in bringing about economic reform in Russia but he did not bring about much political reform, about the October Manifesto he once said “I have a constitution in my head, but in my heart I spit on it” , showing his unwillingness for political

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