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To what extent did Alexander II deserve his title of the Tsar Liberator

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Introduction

?To what extent did Alexander II deserve his title of the ?Tsar Liberator??? A ?Liberator? is defined in the dictionary as someone who ?sets free, as from oppression, confinement, or foreign control?. That is, an individual who is willing to bring about a change in the way that things operate in order to make life radically more free and, ultimately, easier for everyone under that rule. When he came to the throne, there was a real necessity for such dramatic reform; the main driving point for this was his upbringing. Brought up by a liberal tutor and a love for western culture, it is little surprise that Alexander II was so passionate about reforming Russia. Although often targeted with attempts on his life due to a lack of change, it cannot be denied that he was a Tsar who brought on a great number of reforms; however, whether he deserves such a strong title is indeed debatable. ...read more.

Middle

It was not just the serfs that were to see reform; the army was in need of major change. The Russian defeat in the Crimean War highlighted just how unfit the men were. The Tsar reacted by suspending recruitment in 1856, abolishing military colonies, making every man over 20 liable to conscription, and reducing the length of service to a maximum of 20 years. The training and discipline of soldiers was also made more humane and efficient; corporal punishment was additionally removed. Of course, whether this was an example of a true liberator at work is debatable; although it appears that the average Russian man was given more freedom in terms of conscription and dedication to the army, he was still required to partake in 20 years military service. However, the main argument in favour of Alexander being a liberator here is that it was made more humane. This set the men free from the confinement of horrific conditions, and the oppression of the officers, and they were generally freer to get on with their lives. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although such major reforms did improve the intelligence of the young people of Russia, pupils still had to pay for the gymnasia that gave entry to universities, inspectors could order changes to the curriculum, and, most crucially, students began to develop their own ideas of the future of Russia, which led to student riots in St Petersburg in 1861. Nonetheless, the poor were eventually exempted from university fees, thus confirming a new sense of freedom of thinking and of education. Overall, the most ?liberating? reform of Alexander II was education. Although the emancipation of the serfs was vital in securing freedom for the poor, the fact that the education reforms allowed students to gain an insight into how other countries were being led ? thus forming their own opinion of how Russia should be led ? ultimately gave them the freedom that would destroy the Tsar. His reforms may have been liberating; but they either took too long to actually implement or had major flaws that somewhat shadowed what Alexander II was attempting to do. ...read more.

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