Russian History (A-Level) Timeline 1855-1917

Main Players

The Important Figure-heads in Russia between 1855 and 1917

Alexander II

1855 - 1881

Alexander II became Tsar of Russia after the fall of his father in the Crimean War. He was Assassinated by the People's Will

Alexander III

1881 - 1894

Alexander III becomes Tsar

Ivan Vyshnegradsky

1888 - 1892

Vyshnegradsky becomes the Minister of Finance, He follows a Hardline Policy of:
.Indirect Taxation
.Forced Grain Exports
.Import Tarrifs
These policies resulted in grain export increasing by about 20% and by 1892 the budget was in surplus.
However he also caused the Famine of 1891-92 which killed over 300,000

Sergei Witte

1892 - 1903

Witte becomes minister of finance and follows his 'Rapid Industrialization Programme':
.Interest rates raised
.Issued the Gold standard for the rouble
.Brought in foreign experts and workers
.relocate peasant to the un-farmed lands of Siberia
the results of this were:
.the number of workers in cities doubled
.only 750,000 peasant moved
.by 1897 Russia had the fourth largest industrial economy
. coal production increased from 3.2 million tonnes in 1880 to 25.4 million tonnes in 1910.

Pyotr Stolypin

1906 - 1911

Stolypin was Prime Minister
In 1906 Stolypin introduced a repressive Courts Martial which resulted in over 60,000 people executed, exiled and imprisoned.

Reforms and Laws

The reforms and Laws Passed in Russia

Cultural Reforms

1858 - 1870

Censorship was transferred from church to the government + new regulations in 1956 reduced restrictions of publishing.

Economic Reforms

1860 - 1878

.Tax farming was abolished
.banks established
.subsidies offered to private companies
.annual divdends were offered to foreign investors.lowered trade tarrifs
results: growth of cotten and mining industries
tax system not changed kept peasants poor
unstable currency.

Emancipation Of the Serfs


.Serfs given freedom to marry, own land + Business and Travel.
.Landlords gained government bonds as compensation
.49 year Redemption payments
.MIR: Freed serfs had to remain inside MIR until they has payed the redemption payments.
.Volost established to supervise MIR (Run by Nobles)
for 4 months after the reform there were over 600 peasant riots.

Educational Reforms

1863 - 1864

.The Zemstva took control of primary education
.free primary education open to all classes and sex
.Universities were made self-governing.
SUCCESSES AND FAILURES: the amount of students increase however the education was still based on religion.

Judicial Reforms


.Better pay and training for Judges
.All classes judged equally before the law + open proceedings
.local courts under Magistrates for minor crimes.

Local Government Reforms

1864 - 1870

The Zemstva were established: councils elected through election + given power to improve public services, relief for poor and help industry.

Military Reforms


.Conscription Introduced for all classes
.length of service reduced from 25 to 15 years
.Military Colonies abolished
.Military Colleges were established.
.Corporal Punishment abolished

Working hours


Working hours reduced to 11.5 per day

Reaction Policies

Laws put in place to stop opposition

Education Reactions


.Authority of schools transferred back to church
.banning of subjects that encouraged 'critical thought'
.student organisations banned

Police and law


Third section work increased
political crimes tried in secret courts until 1878.
1879: Governor-generals could use emergency powers of Martial law and exile

Cultural reaction


Tightened censorship
Beginning of 'RUSSIFICATION'


Groups opposed to Tsardom


Key events

Key Facts

Working and living Conditions

1867 - 1917

.40 percent of houses for workers had no running water and sewage was collected by handcarts.
.Strikes and Unions banned before 1905
.Life expectancy was 28 years old