Alexander Iii

Repressive Russian Tsar

The penultimate and highly repressive Russian Tsar.

Tsar Alexander III attempted to prevent the Russian Empire being convulsed by revolution whilst continuing his murdered father’s apparently successful economic reforms.

Stronger economy equals stronger autocracy

His short reign was certainly repressive but his son Nicholas II would eventually undo all his alleged successes in maintaining dynastic stability. He hoped that a more modern economy would help the monarchy get stronger.

Effective repression covered up imperial weaknesses

Alexander III was born in 1845 and became Tsar in 1881 following the assassination of his father Alexander II. Alexander was determined from the outset to control and eventually destroy all opposition to the Romanov monarchy. He also sought to punish his father's murderers, which was the justification for repressing anarchist and left - wing groups. The repression did much to cause widespread dislike of the Tsarist regime.

In the short - term Alexander III's repressive measures propped up the imperial government. However over the long - term the suppression of peasant groups, and political protesters increased resentment of the regime.

Alexander took political power away from the regions and concentrated it into his own hands in St Petersburg. Yet that made both liberal and radical reformers determined to force change

The Russification of the empire

He increased resentment in the border areas of the Russian Empire by curtailing the use of non - Russian languages for official uses. Alexander also promoted anti -Semitism throughout his realm, which had dire consequences in the wake of the 1905 Revolution. This meant that Russian rule was unpopular in the Baltic states, Ukraine, and the Russian controlled parts of Poland. That rule would turn out to be weaker than his subjects believed.

The seeds of imperial self destruction

When Alexander died in 1894 his policies were to backfire on his son, the autocracy falling to pieces during the First World War. Nicholas II was weak and badly advised, totally incapable of ruling over a vast and generally backward empire.  Alexander himself had enough will power to keep control over his empire yet his son had less capacity to do so and was faced with greater challenges than expected or that Russia could deal with.

 

Bibliography

Crystal, D. - The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia 2nd edition (1998) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Lenman B, (2004) Chambers Dictionary of World History, Edinburgh

Roberts J.M, (1996) A History of Europe, Penguin, London

Woodruff W (2005) A Concise History of the Modern World, Abacus, London


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  • frankie2016  26-02-2017
    Yet another great article. I enjoy history so much. Keep on writing.
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