Tsar Alexander III's Reign Essays

Tsar Alexander III's Reign Essays

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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

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