How far did Alexander III bring political and social change to Russia? Essay
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Alexander II was assassinated by terrorist in 1881, leaving Russia and its problems to his son Alexander III. Changes were to be made, socially and politically in every aspect if he were to avoid the unfortunate events that ended his father’s reign. To begin with a change that occurred during his reign was rusification. In 1885 Russian was made the official language of Russia and other languages were forbidden in documents in schools. This was successful in some ways as it made communications easier, however, it caused such a social change to Russia it sourced anger form other nationalities, leaving Muslim groups offended.
This could have triggered uproar. Also pogroms (Russian pale) were introduced. The government actually encouraged organisation to go into Jewish settlements and attack them, as a consequence to this thousands of Jews left the country causing a big social and political change. As the Jews were very productive and made up many of the upper class, they were good for their money e.g. the government got lots of money through taxing their land. When the Jews left they also left a hole to fill in the Russian economy, however this reinforced nationalism and only affected the minority of the population.
Foreign investments made huge changes socially and politically to Russia. As Russia had no middle class they were unable to build up an economy so other countries situate businesses and invested in Russia this was successful at creating additional jobs also causing more factors of wealth and economical growth, still, working condition were poor and other countries were benefiting to much, using Russia for political influences and their resources such as oil in order to make a large profit. A special court was set up which had no jury this sped up the whole process protecting the government and others against harm also stopping anyone from bribing the jury, this was a social change as it put criminals under pressure repressing opposition, for example in 1887 many from the Peoples Will were arrested and the leaders executed, without the court this process would not of been as efficient. Although attempts of his assignation were still made nether him or any of his political party were killed during his reign this shows a huge change compared to the time of his father.
These groups never dominated Russia due to Alexander’s repression and censorship. Censorship also prevented opposition parties from trying to claim more support but this meant people lost their freedom of speech and their opinions producing a tense relationship between the government and its people as they felt there was secrets that were being hidden and they should know what political state their country is. also the Okhara (secret police) were introduced which produced political safety imprisoning any opposition but evan this caused some unhappiness as the minority believed he cared more about his own wellbeing then the one of his people.
One major success during the reign of Alexander III was the acceleration of industrial development that continued even after his reign. Witte most associated most with this policy he was the minister of finance, He also encouraged foreign investment because of this Russias coal, iron, steel, and oil production grow massively. Railway routes and tracks also, giving important access to other countries making them socially and politically beneficial allowing Russians to communicate and spread their trade effortlessly without facing difficult terrain. The urban labour force grew rapidly. For example the population of St Petersburg and Moscow increased by over double between 1863 and 1897.due to imployment of thousands in factors. Wages, hours of work and housing conditions were usually very poor. This was especially true in Moscow. Government attempts to improve conditions were poor causing political and social frustation.