Tsar Nicholas II Reforms And Policies

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The Character Of Nicholas II And How This Affected His Policies And Attempts At Reform

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Where did 'The Reaction' come from?
Alexander II made many reforms - such as setting up the Zemstva, and the extension of political rights and free speech - in the hope of lessening opposition to the Tsarist system. However he soon got scared he had gone too far and abandoned all his reforms and returned to Tsarist oppression. This was continued by his successor, Alexander III who expanded on it by introducing a number of severe restrictive measures that became known as 'The Reaction'. 
What measures were included in the reaction?
There were three parts or statutes to the reaction:
1) The Statute of State security- Government controlled courts, who operated outside the legal system were set up- Judges and officials who were sympathetic to liberal ideas were removed from office-The powers of the Okhrana were extended
2) The University Statute bought universities under government control
3) The Zemstva Act took away their power and allowed government officials to interfere in their decisions making.
Describe Nicholas II character and how this affected his policies.
-He was narrow minded and very suspicious of change. This meant he made no changes and continued enforcing 'The Reaction'. 
-He was influenced by Pobedonostev. His childhood tutor who was deeply against all forms of liberalism and democracy, he saw autocracy as the only option and was behind many pogroms. 
What was a main barrier to reform?
The dispute over the character of Russia.Westerners believed Russia should follow the example of successful and modern western europe.Slavophiles believed Russia needed to retain the glory of its Slavic culture.
Name and describe his two main policies
1) Russification - The restricting of all things non-Russian of the national minorities in order to impose Slavic ways as superior. Russian became the first language and there was much discrimination against non-Russians.
2) Anti-Semitism. It was deeply ingrained in Russia. He introduced heavy Social, political and economic restrictions on Jews. The number of pogroms increased. But so did the hate for the Tsarist system as he alienated half his population. 
What was the response to these policies?
Opposition increased and became more organised, many political parties formed.
Thanks to Witte's economic reforms it was a period or rapid economic expansion. This encouraged a new group of lawyers, industrialists etc. to form. This group had new ideas for modernising Russia and helped strengthen the opposition.