How successfully did Alexander III suppress opposition?
It is said that Alexander III ruled over Russia for 13 years with the Cossack whip called the nagaika. Due to his harsh reign, Alexander managed to suppress any opposition that posed a threat to his position as Tsar and despite this, this period of time became a period of stability for Russia. Alexander strongly believed that to make his position as Tsar unchallengeable he had to withdraw the reforms his father had begun. To enforce these counter-reforms Alexander relied upon his secret police formed named the Okhrana, headed by Plehve. He used the Okhrana to help him govern Russia with terror and to get rid of any opposition. By 1894, over 5,400 people had been exiled to Siberia or sentenced to hard labour. Many people were also hanged and censorship was tightened significantly to stop the publication of anything that could fuel or encourage people to oppose Alexander. Alexander could not reverse the emancipation of the serfs that occurred under his father’s rule in 1861, but instead he reversed the powers of the zemstva. He introduced land captains and gave them many powers so that they could enforce the laws of the land and make sure that all the taxes raised by the Ministry of the Interior were paid. These land captains could send people into exile, order floggings and could even issue the death penalty if peasants refused to pay these taxes. In this way, Alexander had control of the peasants because of their submission through fear. Alexander also used education and the church to control his citizens. He wouldn’t allow any student to study History – they had to obtain permission from the Minister of Education. Alexander also used the church to preach obedience and often confessions were passed on to the Okhrana and used as evidence to prosecute any offenders and remove them.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document