The sphere of judicial policy was also an area where there were big differences between the two Tsars. Alexander II was famous for his “great liberal reforms” where the Zemstva was established in 1864. Under this system rural districts and later large towns could be self-governed through a system of representation from different social strata. However, under Alexander III, the power under the Zemstva was acutely restricted. These administrative powers held previously by the Zemstva were handed to the Ministry of Interior in 1889. Thus, Alexander III restricted what people could do in Russia and accumulated that power in his own hands.
Another contrasting policy between the Tsars was that of Education. Previously, education was only affordable to the very wealthy. However, Alexander II began a new era in terms of who could receive education. In order to increase literacy in Russia, Primary and Secondary Education was available for all citizens of the empire by 1863. Alexander II also permitted the discussion of sensitive topics in universities such as government and law. This liberalization of the education system resulted in much higher literacy rates and the ability for students to express themselves. However, Alexander III saw this universal education coverage as a threat to Russian autocracy. Therefore, the high schools could not allow admissions for all social classes; Grammar schools were restricted only for the elite. In addition, universities were not able to hire their own professors and legislation was passed to create new syllabi for the school. In addition to these repressive measures, history was not allowed to be taught unless given prior permission by the Minister of Education. Thus, in another move to restore the highest level of autocracy in Russia, Alexander III applied this repressive policy of education while Alexander II strived for modernization of Russia and its assets as he promoted a policy of universal education.
Even though both Tsars had different perspectives about Education, Judicial and Foreign Policy, they shared their ideology of the supremacy of Russian ethnicity. Under Tsar Alexander II, The Ems Ukaz was applied in 1876 which banned the use of Ukrainian, Polish and Belarusian Language in print and in public places. This was because, the spreading of other cultures outside the Tsar’s own Russian was not accepted by him. Other ethnic intellectuals were often arrested such as the founder of the Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Kiev, Nikolay Kostomarov. Tsar Alexander III furthered this Ukaz in his process of Russification. Under Russification, Russian was the only language taught in schools throughout the Empire. Alexander III was wary of the fact that foreign influences must be kept to the minimal. Therefore, not only language, but almost all ethnic minorities at a whole were discriminated, such as Jews, Ukrainians, Polish and Belarusians. For example, Alexander III was infamous for his anti-Semitic policies such as restriction of what occupations the Jews could work in and their settlement in “posh” areas. Thus, the policy of promoting Russian ethnicity and suppressing other ethnicities was shared by both Tsars, but Alexander III pushed his father’s policies to a further level due to his belief that it was the ethnic minorities who were responsible for Alexander II’s death.
Alexander II had envisioned a modern Russia and thus, implemented his liberal Judicial and Educational policies. However, Alexander III viewed these policies as a threat to Russia autocracy and immediately began reversing them when he accessed the throne. Russia had a lot to gain from Alexander II’s policies such as, high literacy rates and a modern perspective. However, Alexander III made sure his policies concentrated as much power towards him and restricted the power given to the common man. At the same time, Alexander III was more a more responsible leader in terms of Foreign policy as he had to secure the country’s economy- waging war and conquests for annexation only strain economic growth. The Russian Empire was vast and comprised of numerous ethnicities; both Tsar’s created policies which sponsored the belief that the empire should be “Russified” and the influence of ethnic minorities must be kept to a bare minimum.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
**/*** There are some good contrasts in this essay but there is a tendency for them to read as simple, implicit differences. The essay would benefit from better organisation and rigorous, critical analysis when discussing these two Tsars. There are many areas of comparison - both were Tsars with a divine right to rule. They both wanted the same goal for Russia but came at the problem from two different angles. Create a compare/contrast table before approaching an essay such as this and look at such factors as; political, economic, religious, social intellectual etc this will help organise your ideas more clearly and gives you a framework to follow in your answer. It also helps you work on a thesis which you can hang your argument off. Overall, some good points but a little one sided in favour of differences.