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uk / 1 Reactions to Reform: The Growth of Opposition Under Alexander II 1861 1863 1865 1866 1867 1869 1874 1876 1877 1877-78 1878 1879 1879 1880 1881 “Young Russia” first published Sunday Schools closed Calls for greater powers for the Zemstva First assassination attempt on Alexander II Second assassination attempt Herzen calls for a ‘movement to the people’ First major Narodnik movement Second major Narodnik movement ‘Land and Liberty’ formed Trial of “The 193” Vera Zasulich shoots at General Tropov Third assassination attempt on Alexander II “Land and Liberty” splits – Narodnya Volya formed Unsuccessful bombing of the Winter Palace Alexander II assassinated by the Narodnya Volya

Tasks 1. Identify key questions raised by this timeline to research further. 2. Share these out among the class; each student should find the answer to their question. 4. Provide written answers to each of the questions identified and add these into the timeline.

Worksheet to accompany the interactive unit at / 2
Revolutionary movements during the reign of Alexander II Main Task 1. Produce a flowchart to illustrate the connections between, and the beliefs of, the various groups who opposed the Tsar. Use a colour key to distinguish between groups with different objectives. Include pictures of leaders of the groups. Structured Questions 1. In what ways were the various groups which opposed Alexander II similar, and in what ways were they different? 2. Who do you think was the most significant individual in the opposition movements listed in this handout? Explain your answer. 3. “All I have to do to make an enemy is to do them a service” – Alexander II (a) What was Alexander II referring too? (b) How far do you agree with his assessment of the situation? Extension Task Produce a factfile on one of the individuals listed in this handout. Using the web and any other sources, try to locate a picture of them and then list key details about their life, career and historical significance on one side of A4 paper.

Slavophiles and Westernisers • In the early 19th century, political opposition to the Tsar was divided into two main groups: (a) The Westernisers, who wanted to copy European economic / political systems; (b) The Slavophiles, who felt that Russia had a special destiny different to that of Europe. => The Intellectuals • By the time of Alexander II, the intellectuals had absorbed both views. They were critical of the decadence of The West, yet jealous of its economic and political progress. • Because they were blocked out of the autocratic system, they both embittered and utopian. • Their greatest inspiration was Chernyshevsky, who wrote “What is to be Done?” (1862) – a socialist pamphlet which became the Bible of Revolutionaries everywhere. Alexander moves from reform to reaction • On the one hand, Alexander’s reforming impulses led to “a crisis of rising expectations”: he raised hopes which he could not fulfil without undermining the autocracy. • On the other hand, the reactionary impulses which attempted to simmer down these expectations only served to infuriate the reformers even further: 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 A series of terrorist arson attacks follows the Emancipation; leaves 2000 shops gutted. Publication of leading journals suspended Polish revolt. Tsar scared that his reforms are generating too much wild enthusiasm and he becomes more conservative. Readership of Herzen’s “The Bell” (reformist newspaper) falls sharply Newly established Zemstva start pressing for more powers. Alexander refuses, raising tensions further Alexander’s eldest son dies and his marriage starts to collapse. He starts an affair with a young princess, Catherine Dolgorouky, and loses touch with his old reforming friends. First assassination attempt on the Tsar. This confirms the “conservative backlash” – he stops his reform programme. Another assassination attempt. Alexander retreats from public life and gives more power to Shuvalov, Head of the Third Section.

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=> Populism (the Narodniks) • The Populists (Narodniks) looked to the peasantry to lead a revolution against autocracy. Hundreds of Populists followed Herzen’s call to ‘go to the people’ in 1874: they went into the villages to spread the idea of social revolution. But they achieved very little; the peasants were generally distrustful and hostile towards these strangers and informed the police! Government response: • In 1874 the government placed over 200 populists on trial – they defended themselves so well that 153 were acquitted, and the others were given light sentences. This shocked the Tsar. => Land and Liberty • The remaining Populists formed into an even more violent group - “Land and Liberty”. • One of them, Vera Zasulich, shot and seriously wounded Trepov, governor of St. Petersburg. Government response: • She was put on trial, but acquitted by a jury despite her obvious guilt. • A shocked Tsar announced that all similar cases would now be tried in special courts. => Black Partition and The People’s Will • After another unsuccessful attempt on the Tsar’s life, Land and Liberty broke up. It split into: (a) The Black Partition Group, led by Pelkhanov, which favoured peaceful evolution, and (b) The People’s Will, led by Miklhailov, which favoured violent revolution. • The People’s Will was attracted to the Nihilism of Michael Bakunin, who argued for the complete annihilation of all institutions and all forms of authority (e.g. the state, the family, religion, and morality). • They passed the death sentence on the Tsar and made four unsuccessful attempts on the Tsar’s life within a year. The German ambassador noted that “one is tempted to regard as dead a social body which fails to react to such a shock”. Government response: • Alexander did try to respond to the growing crisis, and appointed reforming ministers, Loris and Abaza, who relaxed censorship and cut taxes. • Soon afterwards he formally agreed to a commission to look into political reform, but the following day – 31st March, 1881 – he was blown up by a bomb whilst attending Sunday Parade.

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