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How successfully did Alexander III extend his authority throughout the Russian Empire?

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Introduction

How successfully did Alexander III extend his authority throughout the Russian Empire? Nicola McGovern Tsar Alexander III, influenced by his personal tutor Pobedonastev, strongly believed that the Liberal policies his father had introduced were what led to his assassination by terrorist group 'The people's will' in 1881. He never wanted his life to be ended in this way so he began to re-instate the tsarist ideology of autocracy, orthodoxy and nationality. With the help of Tolstoy; the Minister of the Interior and Pobedonastev; his tutor the tsarist ideology desired by Tsar Alexander III was slowly restored throughout the Russian empire. Alexander II's liberalist policies gained him the name of 'Tsar Liberator'. It was believed by Alexander III and Pobedonastev that these policies had reduced the power of the Tsar. However Alexander II believed that these liberal policies would enable Russia to become as powerful as the Western countries. The first step towards this was taken in 1861 with the Emancipation of the Serfs. This emancipation allowed serfs to purchase the land which they worked on by borrowing money from the state. This would be paid back in extremely high interest redemption payments. In 1864 Zemstvas were also established. These were local governments of professional people intended to be the link between the peasants and the Tsar. ...read more.

Middle

Courts no longer dealt with political crimes and those suspected of committing a political crime were killed by the department of police or sent into exile in Siberia. In 1883 the police state in Russia was reintroduced by the Tsar, he believed this would extend his influence over the empire. The Okhrana were established as the Tsar's secret police and they were there to infiltrate revolutionary organisations and to ensure that there was no threat whatsoever to the position of authority which was held by the Tsar. The Tsar extended his authority to such great extent that his loyal subjects lived in fear as well as the ordinary Russian people. Both sets of people were joint in their belief that Alexander was the only person to blame. To extend his power further the Tsar increased censorship. The people now lived in fear and 'talked in whispers' about anything to do with the state for fear of being misinterpreted. Political organisations distributing anti-tsarism literature were infiltrated by the Okhrana, and in some cases sent into exile. Tightening censorship, a further repressive policy carried out by the Tsar, did exert his control over his people but it also increased discontent amongst the Russian Empire and reduced support for the Tsar. It has been argued that the most repressive of the Tsars policies was Russification. ...read more.

Conclusion

Unfortunately industrialisation did not benefit the Russian people. Working and living conditions deteriorated greatly. There was very high unemployment and huge food shortages. Most blamed the Tsar for the situation which they now found themselves in, so industrialisation, a double edged sword, therefore, did not help Alexander III-The people's 'Little Father'- in extending his authority through the Russian Empire. Tsar Alexander III's policies to extend his authority throughout the Russian Empire make it clear why so many of his people turned against him. Abolishing the Zemstva was the first mistake made by the Tsar as it destroyed the only power the Russian people had ever had. This was so harshly snatched away so there was obviously going to be great resentment from the Russian people towards the Tsar. Alexander's subjects feared him because of the severe treatment of political opposition and the policy of tight censorship, Russia had been turned into a 'police state' once again. Furthermore he angered many of his minority countries by removing their national identities through the policy of 'Russification' which caused them to withdraw their support for him. The introduction of industrialisation also had an adverse effect on the people's feelings towards the Tsar. Although Alexander never implemented any of his policies out of evil or hate he successfully managed to turn many of his people against him. Therefore Alexander III was not successful in extending his power throughout the Russian Empire. ...read more.

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