History Essay Questions
To What Extent, By 1904 Had The Tsarist Regime Successfully Resisted Calls For Change (24 marks)
Throughout the Tsarist regime, there had been many calls for change, whether it is from the serfs, the working proletariat, or the middle-upper class. However, there is some dispute as to whether or not the Tsarist regime answered these calls, either by reforming, altering the Regime, by reacting, which consists of making an immediate and often rash decision, which may or may not have long term effects, or by merely ignoring the issues completely.
Alexander II is an ideal example of the willingness of the regime to perhaps forsake some power, in order to answer the calls for change. The most prominent change to the Tsarist regime was to emancipate the serfs, for the first time giving them a measure of their own power. Admittedly, the serfs had less land than they were allowed to work before, typically having only 80% of the farmland they needed to survive, but now, should they somehow bring in revenue, they can start their own businesses and develop. This change to the regime was massive, as it allowed potential for serfs to get power in the form of owning their own businesses and forming a middle class. This would upturn the concept of feudalism, which was essentially the backbone of the Tsarist regime. Alexander II also mainly made other significant changes in the Tsarist regime. This included the removal of censorship, and the subsequent changing of the educational syllabus. This change was significant in that it would allow for the rise of the intelligentsia, an educated class of opposition. This had never hitherto been heard of in Russia, and would have the knock on effect of yet more demands for change.
One such demand made by this class was for a local government, which Alexander provided, calling them the Zemstva. This alteration to the regime was also important, as it was another step forward from Feudalism, into...