Alexander III

Alexander III
Nmg 07
The new Tsar
• Younger son of
Alexander II
• Typified the ‘Russian
• Conservative in
• Influenced by men
like Pobedonostsev
• “Autocracy,
Orthodoxy and
Konstantin Pobedonostsev
• Chief Procurator of
the Holy Synod
• Influential political
thinker of period
• Rejected liberal ideas
of Alexander II
• Fiercely critical of the
• Supported
The New Conservatism
Police given extra-ordinary powers
•Suspects could be arrested & held for 3 months
•Local press could be fined & closed down
•Local councils (rural & urban) could be closed down
Restrictions on the Press
Early attempts
to reverse
reforms of
Alexander II
Restrictions on Zemstva
Land Captains
Economic Development: 1880s
• Industrial weakness clearly shown by loss
of Crimean War
• Other major European powers taking
advantage of technological progress
• Many reasons why Russia not ready for an
industrial revolution
• Some important steps already taken under
Alexander II
How to industrialise?
“To do this I will raise
taxation and export
grain. We must go
hungry, but export”
“My aim is to create
financial stability in order
to attract foreign loans.”
By 1891 import duties
raised to 33%
Budget in surplus in 1892,
first French loans 1888
Huge pressure on
peasantry – grain exports
were increased by 18% as
% of total exports 1888-91
Consequence of policy was
huge famine 1891-2 which cost
1.5 – 2 million lives
Widespread criticism of the
Zemstva did best to make up
for lack of central government
Industrialisation under Witte
Increased wealth
â–ºmore complex but
harmonious society
Russia’s late start
meant she could leapfrog others nations.
Rapid industrialisation
would lessen social
Scheme to be financed
by foreign loans
“Save Russia by rapid and
forceful industrialisation”
Success or failure?
Major investment in railways needed – greatest success was
the Trans-Siberian Railway
Index of economic growth seems to indicate high level of
Remember Russia started from a very low base – compared to
Britain and Germany Russia did NOT have an industrialised
Witte’s policies (“The Great Spurt”) were continued by the
tsarist regime. He also carried out limited reform to improve
conditions for the workers. He also put Russia on the Gold
Russia was a major debtor nation by 1914!
Agriculture under the Tsars
• Big contrast between
industrial &
agricultural policies
• Ministry of Interior
kept faith with the
concept of the mir
• Many problems still
existed from the Edict
of 1861
Continuing problems
• Ministry of Interior very conservative –
feared ‘western influences’
• Siberia offered as means to relieve
pressure of land availability
• Massive population increase – 1900-1914
averaged 1 million a year
• Peasant frustration shown at turn of the