Tsar Alexander III's Reign

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Tsar Alexander III's Reign The reign of Tsar Alexander II was one that demonstrated a great change in action, attitude and policy to that of his father, Tsar Alexander II, 'The Tsar Liberator.' Historians have long labelled Tsar Alexander II as a Liberal, reforming ruler and his son as a reactionary, oppressive heir to his legacy. Hingley argues that his thirteen years of reign were spent '...systematically destroying all of his father's work. The choice facing Tsar Alexander III when he ascended to the throne was a difficult one. There were two routes that he could follow: to continue the tentative steps that his father had made into reform or to back track into Conservatism in an attempt to strengthen the autocracy. By the time of his accession the Tsarevich had already been heavily influenced by his tutor, the ultra - conservative, Pobedonestov, and was thus firmly set against his father's policies concerning reform. This influence that Pobedonestov held continued into Tsar Alexander III's reign. Hite describes Pobedonestov; 'He believed that autocracy was the only possible basis of government for Russia and that Tsar Alexander II's reforms were criminal acts.' Van der Kiste describes Tsar Alexander III as '...never the most original of thinkers...' who was incredibly influenced by his mother's confessor Father Bashanov and the '...arch conservative...' Pobedonestov. It was Pobedonestov who impressed, so vigorously, upon the Tsarevich that reform was dangerous and should be prevented at all costs. It was with this attitude that Tsar Alexander II had allowed his son to grow up, an ideology and attitude that was almost the opp... ... middle of paper ... ...that they were polarised in the methods of reign. Tsar Alexander III embarked upon industrialisation, which, though he never meant it to be, can be seen as a reforming action. His father, had toyed with the idea of reform but had drawn back, appalled at what he had unleashed, desperately back tracking most of the reforms. His son finished this off for him. Yet, there is distinctive evidence to suggest that, just before his death he had planned a far-reaching reform. Melilikov was unable to persuade Tsar Alexander III of this though, and that legislation proved to be defunct. However, much as t is possible to draw some vague, if not tenuous comparisons between the two tsars it must be acknowledged that the reign of Tsar Alexander III marked a great change and movement away from that of his father, Tsar Alexander II.
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