Did Alexander II deserve the title Tsar Liberator?

1229 words 5 pages
Did Alexander II deserve the title “Tsar Liberator”?
Taking control of autocratic Russia in 1855, Alexander II was the successor to his father Tsar Nicolas I having been trained his entire life to take on the role. During his reign as Tsar, Alexander passed many reforms all of which varied in political, social and economic stance. His most famous reform was deemed to be that of the emancipation of the Serfs, gaining him the title ‘Tsar Liberator’ as many believed that his effort to free those who had be bound by slavery, made him a hero. However some question whether he truly deserved this title as many reforms became reactional and many initially liberating reforms were revoked in order to ensure the security of the autocracy. As
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In 1862, Alexander II reduced the army service time by 19 years and whilst this may seem a social reform, it also affected politics. Less people trained in combat meant that the chances of an attack on the Tsar was less likely and as the time was reduced, most people serving in the army were less likely to be resentful of their participation and more willing to follow orders from above. The reshuffle of government in 1864 with Zemstvas taking over local governments and government generals being appointed meant that Alexander could easily control a majority of the smaller states throughout Russia. The more people he had controlling the peasants the better off he would be.
It is at this point that the rasion d’étre behind these reforms is questioned; on the surface they appear to be put in place with the intention of making government more transparent, however when each reform is analysed it is possible to see how they could be used in order to further control the Russian people and reduced the opposition against the autocracy.

The final category that the reforms fall into is economic, in this division; Alexander appears to be more liberal towards the people of Russia. Investments in rail, steel and the overall industrialisation of Russia started taking place and the Russian economy thrived on it, resulting in a new State Bank being established in 1866 to give the currency a steadier ground.


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