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HIST 245 After Midterm

Course Code
HIST 245
Ana Siljak
Study Guide

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HIST 245 Imperial Russia II
Professor Ana Siljak
Thurs Oct 17, 2013
The Great Reforms
o Major dividing line at 1861 between periods of Imperial Russia
Emancipation of the serfs and other fundamental reforms
The Crimean War, 1853-1856
o Under Nicholas I, committed to reactionary principles under Holy Alliance
Instead of following predecessors and looking to Ottoman Empire, would
defend the Ottoman Empire from revolution within
When Egypt rose up in 1832, sent troops to help crush revolt
Expects Empire will help Russia, but Ottomans increasingly weakened
internally and known as “the sick man of Europe”
o No one European power allowed to grab too much territory, see
Russians as getting too involved with Ottomans
o France, Britain, and Austria worried by Russia’s continued involvement with Ottomans
o 1848, Europe in revolt, France elects new leader, Louis Napoleon
Wants to take up his uncle’s mantle, decides to strike at Russia
In Holy Lands, Orthodox Christians were in charge
o Napoleon asks Ottomans to give them to the Catholics
Ottomans agree, play powers against each other, 1852
Humiliating, blow to Nicholas to supported Ottomans
o Does not want to go to war, spends 1 year in negotiations
Failed, declares war in 1853, might as well take over
Ottoman territories
o War drags on inconclusively into 1854 until another blow
France declares war against Russia (expected), but unexpectedly gets Britain
and Austria to join them
Demand that Russia accept the Four Points Treaty
o Point 3 the sticking point: Russia must get rid of its Black Sea
fleet, so Nicholas refuses
Invade Crimean peninsula
o Disaster for everyone
When French and British troops land and siege city of Sevastopol, 1854-5,
humiliation as an invasion of Russia
Alexander II and Reform
o Nicholas’ son, a reformer (follows pattern of reactionary-reformer-reactionary)
o A Plodding Reformer
Some say he was the least intelligent of Russia’s rulers, disliked being talked at
Disappointment to his father, no one predicted his transformations
o Crisis and Glasnost
Found himself in the crisis of the British and French siege of Sevastopol
Lost 100,000 men, time for Russia to cut their losses

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o Vast majority from disease on both sides, turning point on how
people viewed war and disease
Advent of war photography, role of modern technology
and brutality
Public opinion in Russia becomes an important factor for the first time
o Beginning to ask themselves why was it that Russia was so
humiliated in the War? On their own soil, by former allies?
o The answer was almost universal: Because Russia was in
domestic disorder
Alexander had inherited foreign and domestic crises
Right after took power, told by many people that Russia could not go on
as it was, had to change
o Everyone was too afraid to suggest reform to a reactionary
Decided to proceed cautiously
o Before accepting any reform, a new policy of openness which he
called Glasnost
Word used by bureaucrats that believed that if Russia
spoke about issues, could be better resolved
o 1856, amnesties surviving Decembrists, Poles, Petroshevskys, other dissidents
o 1857, need to lessen censorship but not get rid of it entirely
Everyone took this freedom and ran with it
Private discussion now could go out into the open
o Main concern on everyone’s mind was serfdom
First debate that emerged, a collective moment for all Russians to pressure
regime to end bonded labour
Even Slavophiles, who said that peasants had to speak and even Tsars
were obliged to listen
The Great Reforms
o Emancipation, 1861
Alexander proceeded very cautiously
Starts with speech to nobles, said abolition would not come
immediately but that the existing system cannot continue
o Must begin abolishing from above or will come from below
1856, created secret committee containing none of the existing bureaucrats
1857, said better to abandon the problem (all were nobles)
Should peasants be given land after? But that is noble land
But by 1858 are fully committed to immediate, full emancipation with
o What happened?
Nobility not united in holding onto serfs
North and west, where on obrok, wanted to
formally get rid of their serfs and be
compensated for lost land
Journals began to publish articles advocating

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Alexaner Herzen, The Bell, published in exile, on
the state of the reform process with insider
knowledge, urged full emancipation with land
o Various members of the regime often
caught reading it, leaked secrets
Feb 19, 1861, Alexander signs emancipation manifesto
Very long, 361 pages
Government fears unrest after declared
o But everything passed without issue, document was so
complicated that few understood it
Serfs were now entirely free of their bondage to another person
o Freely marry, buy and sell property, engage in trade however
they wished
o Became full subjects of the tsar, on par with everyone else
For 2 years (1861-3), things were to remain as they were property-wise
o Property stayed in hand of owners with regular payments
o Would get together and decide how much each would get
If peasant had money, could buy personal gardens
But farmland had to be carefully divided
o Once price of land determined, government would step in
Peasants could not afford, so given 80% loan of the
entire value of the property
Loan to be repaid over the course of 49 years at
6% interest
If wished, peasants could become individual farmers
o If not, could remain in peasant communes and work together to
raise the funds to pay the landlord and the loan
Some dissatisfaction that land had not been given to them properly
The true emancipation had not yet happened
Nobility had no major resistance
Now have to integrate 1000s of new subjects into society
o The Reform of Local Government, 1864
Serfdom had been pillar of local government, now needed something else
Form of quasi-democratic local government, the Zemstvo
Sub-district, district, and provincial levels
Elected representatives on class lines
Meet once a year, have permanent governing boards that manage local
affairs including education, medicine, public works and maintenance
Education now became very important, so zemstvo needed to created network
of free, rural, Primary education
Meant to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, religion
Voluntary, but open to everyone
o Initially few attended, but it was the first acknowledgement that
universal education was a good thing
o The Reform of the Courts, 1864
Educated, legal scholars brought together and asked to come up with a new
legal system for Russia along western lines
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