To What Extent Does Alexander II Deserve the Title of “Tsar Liberator”

Posted by admin on November 9, 2017 in Articles

Alexander II is arguably one of the most heavily debated Tsars given the great change that he brought upon Russia. He was often seen as a forward thinking Tsar who wanted to bring change to his country to better the people, this can be seen in his massive expansion plans for the Russian railway system. However, many say that the reforms he did bring about were not to liberate but instead to consolidate his own position.
To some extent Alexander II does deserve the title of “Tsar Liberator” because he freed the serfs. Serfs were a key aspect to Russian society and was how she managed to keep her people fed. Serfs were slaves to the noble land owners who used them to be able to farm their land as cheap as possible. However, in 1861 serfdom was officially abolished across all of Russia. This freed the serfs and enabled them to own and farm their own land. Many view this as prime example of Alexander II being a “Tsar Liberator” as he probably would’ve had more control over the serfs had they remained in serfdom but now they were free they had more rights and abilities to become more politically active. However, their freedom would’ve meant very little had it not been for the fact that industry and commerce were also being reformed to release some control from the Tsar and the nobles in to the hands of the people.
In 1864 Alexander II released some power from the centralised bureaucracy out to local districts. This meant that more local industry could be formed and expanded. This meant that many nobles moved in to cities in hopes of finding more money in industry than farming. However, these local resources were almost pointless and invaluable without a network upon which people could transport and trade their goods. This was because the coal, iron and steel industries were growing, as was the railway-equipment industry. There was more demand for rails, locomotives and other goods, stimulating the economy. Industrial suburbs appeared around Moscow and St….