‘ Did Alexander II deserve the title Tsar Liberator? ‘
Justify your view.
In the 19th Century, Russia had no zemstva, very little education, industry and railway building, a biased judicial system and very few freed peasants. Czar Alexander II, who succeeded Nicolas I in 1855, went some ways to remedying these deficiencies through a series of reforms. Alexander II became the great modernizer of Russia, walking a delicate line between preserving Russia's Slavic identity and enabling its people to benefit from Western advancements. For this reason he was known to some as the ‘ Czar Liberator’. However, indeed he was a liberator in name only.
Alexander II initiated substantial reforms in education, the government, the judiciary and the military. In 1861, he proclaimed the emancipation of about 20 million privately held serfs. It has been described as "the greatest social movement since the French Revolution" and constituted a major step in the freeing of labour in Russia. Yet at the same time, it helped to undermine the already shaken economic foundations of Russia's landowning class. The Czar abolished a Russia tradition, the serfdom, which symbolizing class struggle and feudalism. This was a very great step forward in the modernisation of Russia.