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To what extent is the title “Tsar Liberator” a true description of Alex II?

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Introduction

To What Extent is the Title "Tsar Liberator" a True Description of Alex II? In 1855, Alex II came to power. He inherited a country with many problems. Economically Russia was backwards compared to many of the European powers. Socially, his people were isolated, disorganised and poorly educated. Politically his country was coming to a time of upheaval. To solve these problems, the Tsar was to bring in many reforms aimed at 'liberating' the people. This essay will examine to what extent he can truly be described as a Tsar Liberator. Traditionally the leader of Russia was called TSAR. The first Tsar was called Ivan III who came in 1480, and since then all Tsars have been AUTOCRATS. This means they had complete power over Russia and they did not take any consolation from anyone. Therefore, all the decisions made concerning Russia, was decided by only them. The Tsars believed in by having total power over Russia, this would help prevent excessive rich landowners from having too much power and managing the country. They also had a secret police force, called the OKHRANA, which was based in St Petersburg, which spied on everyone. Anyone who disagreed and spoke out against the government was shot or sent to Siberia. The Russian Orthodox Church supported the Tsar, with priests in each town and village educating the Russian people that he was the "Little Father" of them all and that they must follow him. ...read more.

Middle

Each serf was granted an allocation according to the area they owned. The serfs that were set free had to pay back to the State redemption taxes for 49 years, including interest at 6 %. Only when they had paid this, they would have full ownership of the land. Although, they were entitled to work on the Lord's land to pay off the redemption of the land. A peasant could only separate from his land from the commune when granted with consent of the mir, until the redemption tax was paid. The State peasants received much better treatment, but they had to wait a few more years until 1866 for their freedom. They were allowed plots of land on average over twice the size of what the private serfs received. The Household serfs received worst treatment; they had received no land but were still allowed freedom. Emancipation was both approved and chastised at the time. The peasants now owned less land than what they had before and on top of it they had to pay a redemption tax higher than the land was really worth. The landowner usually reserved the best land for himself, leaving the peasants with lands in horrible conditions especially in bad climates. Many peasants faced economic difficulties. It was due partly to the increasing amount of redemption and poll tax debts. ...read more.

Conclusion

The people had a lot more freedom because they were allowed to join the army even though they weren't wealthy . With the reforms in force, expectations were raised for the Tsar, which the Tsar would never be able to gratify. Especially the demands for a constitution and a national assembly. These were never granted. In the 1870's, young members of the gentry and the intelligentsia still weren't satisfied with Russia's political system and they were determined to change it. They believed that the future of Russia laid on their backs and it was their duty to fight back against the political system and they planned to do this by rousing the peasants into action. There were plenty of arrests in Moscow and St Petersburg. The movement was over with in a few months. But not all were arrested; few escaped and continued with the revolt by setting up a campaign called "Land and Liberty". The revolutionary opposition remained being taken care of the few that were still revolting until the next century. I believe that the title "Tsar Liberator" is not true because Alexander wasn't a liberator truthfully. He did not liberate the people for their own good, but only for his good so he could remain in power. He treated the people badly and tricked them into believing he was going to unify and liberate their country. Which wasn't true at all. Word Count: 1,776 Gabrielle Siracuse 12 MB History Essay- Standard 05/01/07 ...read more.

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