How far did Russia experience a period of “reaction” following the assassination of Alexander II?
On 13 March 1881, Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by the populist terrorist group the “People’s Will”, due to the reforms he had created, although he was on the way to give Russia its first national assembly before his death. Therefore his son Alexander III became Tsar in place of his deceased father. Immediately, Alexander III turned his back on all the reforms created by his father, and he swiftly discredited them. However he announced his determination to rule as an autocrat and he appointed several ministers, one of the more significant appointments being Konstantin Pobedonostsev. His attitudes consisted of re-enforcing the authority of the Tsar and stamp out political opposition and he had conservative reactionary views, which proved he had traditional beliefs about his father’s controversial reign as Tsar. His views were re-enforced by his personal tutor Pobedonostsev, who was also the pro-curator of the Orthodox Church, essentially the minister of the church. Pobedonostsev stated democracy was the “greatest lie of our time” and this was a dominant ideology that lingered and remained in court circles between 1881-1905. In Russia those who had wanted reform ranged dramatically from basic groups of moderates(peaceful liberal protests who wanted political change) to larger scale groups of extremists(people’s will), and they all desired different outcomes, however all of them shared a common objective and it was to change the political system. However, unfortunately for them, Alexander III felt those who supported the wishes for political reform, were entitled to be repressed for acting in this manner, in a way undermining him. In due course, his liberal ministers Melikov and Ignatiev left office were replaced by the pro-curator Pobedonostsev. As the Tsar’s chief minister and leading official of the state church, Pobedonostsev was in a dominant position of...
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