Outline the problems facing the Tsarist regime during the reigns of Alexander III and Nicholas II. How successful were they in tackling these problems?

Essay by MelksHigh School, 11th gradeA, March 2006

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The tsarist regime had many internal problems during the reigns of Alexander III and Nicholas II. These include: economic repression, lacklustre political and social reforms and large cultural diversity. Alexander III and Nicholas II both had differing complications within the aforementioned problems and thus it becomes possible not only to outline but to conclude how successful they were in attempting to deal with them.

The economy of Russia during the Tsar regime was completely backward. It was both outdated and under producing thus can be defined as an economy in recession. Russia's agricultural economy still resembled that of medieval Europe, with peasants bound to an inefficiently-managed village commune, and using outdated farming methods. Suffering from a naturally cold climate, Russia's growing season was only 4-6 months, compared to 8-9 in most of Western Europe, and so the rural economy struggled to produce enough food to feed the cities each year.

Further hampering food production was Russia's lack of modern infrastructure or transport particularly over a large geographical area on which the empire reigned.

Alexander III had a varied effect upon the economic problem Russia was facing. First and foremost, he was ruling during the first major spurt of industrialism which for the most part could be contributed to Finance ministers Bunge, Witte and Vsyhnegradsky. However, Alexander being a realist decided to support Witte's policy of industrialism and thus succeeded in this aspect. During the 1890's the Russian economy grew significantly, expanding at 8% p.a, however, with this said Alexander III did make several mistakes in regard to the direction of the Russian economy. He decided to exploit agriculture as a source of export earnings and consequently caused several famines which further reduced the already weak Russian economy.

Nicholas II only further added to the woes of the Russian economic...