To What Extent Do You Consider the Emancipation of Serfs 1861 to Be a Key Turning Point in the Development of Russian Government and Society Till 2000?

Topics: Alexander II of Russia, Crimean War, Russian Empire Pages: 4 (1456 words) Published: April 9, 2013
Essay Question: To what extent do you consider the Emancipation of Serfs 1861 to be a key turning point in the development of Russian government and society till 2000? Many historians argue The Emancipation of the Serfs in 1861, to be a key turning point within Russian history. It drastically altered Russia’s economic, political and social stipulation. One could propose the argument that this event lead to the fall of communism in 1990, further more suggesting the extent to which this event affected Russia. Hence this is ‘perhaps the most defining moment in Russian history, with its impact being seen many years after the event itself’. Although historians identify short term effects of this event, the significance to which this event developed Russian government and society up to the 21st century has been so tremendous that they cannot be disregarded. However when one considers the argument of the likes of Louis Hobart who suggests the event was only a contributing element to ‘the social and economic transformation’ it must be asked to what extent was this event alone a key turning point in the development of Russian Government? ‘…A character of freedom or an act of betrayal?’ Michel Lynch, 30th November 2003, History Today. Indeed it’s highlighted within this excerpt that the intent behind emancipating the serfs is ambiguous; this was either a decision made with the objective of satisfying the Russian peasant’s best interest or rather more with the hope that it would develop Russia economically and militarily at any means necessary, even exploiting it’s people. Hence it’s debatable whether the idea of freeing the peasants was even sincerely considered or whether it was done for personal aims and masked under human rights. Tsar Alexander II entered his reign during the Crimean war therefore witnessing the fundamental decline of Russia’s status of a super power as being forced to surrender from the Crimean War in January 1856 severely effected Russia’s moral,...
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