Did Alexander II deserve the title “Tsar Liberator”?
Taking control of autocratic Russia in 1855, Alexander II was the successor to his father Tsar Nicolas I having been trained his entire life to take on the role. During his reign as Tsar, Alexander passed many reforms all of which varied in political, social and economic stance. His most famous reform was deemed to be that of the emancipation of the Serfs, gaining him the title ‘Tsar Liberator’ as many believed that his effort to free those who had be bound by slavery, made him a hero. However some question whether he truly deserved this title as many reforms became reactional and many initially liberating reforms were revoked in order to ensure the security of the autocracy. As peasants and lower classes gained power some believe that the Tsar became concerned about parties fighting back against the autocratic reign of Tsars as they demanded a Westernised democracy and questioned the Slavophiles, these people were known as Narodniks.
A majority of reforms made by the Tsar were social, and as the reign continued these reforms slowly became a reactionary introduction of policies designed to keep hold of autocracy. One of the first reforms introduced by Alexander was the emancipation of the Serfs in which all who wanted to be free could now own a share of land and live in a family home, paying normal dues. However many believe that this was not a real reform due to the sheer lack of basic freedom. As a result of the emancipation, over 75% of Russian citizens were given the opportunity of freedom and in his honour a monument was created at National Assembly Square to show how grateful the people were for the freedom. Clearly at this point in time, many believed that their leader was a liberator for the steps he had taken towards giving them their rights. However longer term, the Serfs started to see the negative effects of the emancipation. Many of those that chose to accept freedom quickly became aware...
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