Domestic Policy

Domestic Policy

Russian Domestic Policy, 1881-1894

Alexander II. was assassinated by a Nihilist terrorist in 1881, and succeeded by his son Alexander III. (1881-1894). ALEXANDER III. pursued a policy that aimed at silencing critics. The press regulations were restricted to such extent, according to the university reform of 1884 professors were to be appointed by the minister of the interior; Russian was to be the sole language of education in schools throughout the empire; schools, many of which hitherto were run by religious organizations, came under the administration of the MOE. Even the sermons of Orthodox priests regarded unreliable were subject to censorship. The OKHRANA (secret police, est. 1881 in reaction to frequent assassination attempts) could make arbitrary arrests, and many dissidents were sent to internal exile (usually Siberia).
The many non-Russian nationalities within the Russian Empire were exposed to a policy of RUSSIFICATION (Alexander's Pan-Slav stand did not protect Slavic ethnies such as the Poles and Ukrainians from exposure to such a policy); the non-Orthodox religious communities came under pressure, the state supported the Russian Orthodox Church. Military draft was imposed on all religious communities, inducing some (the DUKHOBORS) to emigrate. Alexander III. was an Anti-Semite; the large Jewish group experienced even stronger pressure than the other ethnic groups. Regulations restricted Jews from buying farmland, limited the political representation of Jews in local councils, barred them from government office etc. Worse, after Alexander II. had been assassinated, POGROMS - the mob ransacking Jewish communities, mostly in the Ukraine - took place, not only tolerated by state officials (police etc.), but often even instigated by them. The worst was the pogrom of KISHINOV 1881. Many Jews emigrated.
Emigration figures from the Russian Empire rose from 58,000 in the 1870es over 288,000 in the 1880es to 481,000 in the 1890es.

Russian Chief Ministers, 1881-1894
Mikhail Reutern
Nikolai Khristianovich Bunge

Article Nihilism, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Biography of Alexander III., from Alexander Palace
Reform and Reaction under Alexander II. and III., by G. Rempel
DOCUMENTS List of Russia's Chief Ministers etc., from World Rulers by Ben Cahoon
Historical maps featuring the Russian Empire, from FEEFHS
The Jewish Chronicle (London) 1881, Outrages in Russia, on the Kishinov Pogrom of 1881
Portrait of Alexander III. (1897), from Helsinki University Museum
Modern Customs and Ancient Laws of Russia by Maxime Kovalevsky 1891, from Avalon Project
Excerpts of the 1892 Foster Commission Report, from The Levanda Index
REFERENCE The Age of Counterreforms : Alexander III., pp.297-308, in : Melvin C. Wren, The Course of Russian History, Prospect Heights 1994
John Channon and Robert Hudson, European Russia, 1801-1881, and Economic Development, in : The Penguin Historical Atlas of Russia, London : Penguin 1995, pp.68-71
Article : Russia, in : Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events 1886 pp.790-792, 1894 pp.706-708 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on February 20th 2008

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz