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How far did the reforms of the 1860's go towards making the Russian state less Autocratic?

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Introduction

How far did the reforms of the 1860's go towards making the Russian state less Autocratic? The reforms of the 1980's did make the Russian state less autocratic to a certain extent, but Alexander II implemented some autocratic policies. The major series of reforms Alex II implemented were emancipation of the serf's: due to the growing peasant unrest, Zemstva, legal reforms, relaxation of censorship, educational reforms, Military reforms and financial reforms, but there was also repression and retraction of these policies especially in the 1980's. This is when revolutionaries would face war, retraction of Zemstva powers, and reduction of university autonomy, use of administrative arrest and an increased censorship. So we can see how the Russian state tried to implement less autocratic policies, but as soon as Alex II felt threatened there was repression and retraction. Before Alex II introduced these reforms he was seriously aware of the weakness of the Russian state, the Crimean war proved this. The war revealed weakness, corruption of the leadership of the army, this shock defeat raised questions regarding the efficiency of the Russian army. ...read more.

Middle

Zemstva was slowly introduced; many provinces didn't even have a Zemstva council. The voting system weighted to favor the nobles who dominated assemblies. Zemstva was largely run by traditional elites who showed little interest in the job. Provisional governors also had powers to reverse the Zemstva decision, they never had power over the police, who supervised them and attempts on national organizations were stopped. So what we can acknowledge is that the political reform didn't make Russia less autocratic as there were still any barriers for the Zemstva representatives. Alex II introduced many legal reforms; he replaced the formalistic old structure and replaced it with the new structure, which was based on open trials in public, where both sides had lawyers. There was a clear hierarchy of court and appeal system and a defense system was introduced. Judges were trained and got better salaries. All of this was slowly introduced due to a shortage of lawyers; many courts were outside of the new system. ...read more.

Conclusion

Economically the return adopted more liberal trade policies and the growth of railways continued from help by the government subsidies. Also the industry in Russia was growing rapidly but the lack of Russian entrepreneurial spirit and limited domestic market made the growth slow. Melikovs proposals for consultation on national decisions with representative from Zemstva were never actually implemented. So the reforms of the 1980's didn't make the Russian state less autocratic, but it made Russia more efficient. Alex II still managed to keep autocracy alive with the reforms So in conclusion we know these reforms of Alex II really didn't make the Russian state less autocratic as Alex III came in after his father had died, he ruled by emergency powers, he tightened up censorship, increased government interference in law courts, revolutionary group were weakened and banished. Zemstva were reduced in power, education was tightened and the Russification was implemented. So it can be concluded that the Russian state was not less autocratic. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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