Tsar Nicholas died with his philosophy in dispute. One year earlier, Russia had become involved in the [[Crimean War]], a conflict fought primarily in the [[Crimea|Crimean peninsula]]. Since playing a major role in the defeat of Napoleon, Russia had been regarded as militarily invincible, but the reverses it suffered on land and sea in the Crimean War exposed the decay and weakness of Tsar Nicholas' regime.
When [[Alexander II of Russia|Alexander II]] came to the throne in [], desire for reform was widespread. A growing humanitarian movement, which in later years has been likened to that of the [[abolitionism|abolitionists]] in the [[United States]] before the [[American Civil War]], attacked serfdom. In [], there were more than 23 million serfs living under conditions frequently worse than those of the peasants of [[western Europe]] on 16th century [[manor]]s. Alexander II made up his own mind to abolish serfdom from above rather than wait for it to be abolished from below through revolution.
The [[Emancipation reform of 1861 in Russia|emancipation of the serfs]] in [] was the single most important event in 19th century Russian history. It was the beginning of the end for the landed aristocracy's monopoly of power. Emancipation brought a supply of free labor to the cities, industry was stimulated, and the middle class grew in number and influence; however, instead of receiving their lands as a gift, the freed peasants had to pay a special tax for what amounted to their lifetime to the government, which in turn paid the landlords a generous price for the land that they had lost. In numerous instances the peasants wound up with the poorest land. All the land turned over to the peasants was owned collectively by the ''mir'', the village community, which divided the land among the peasants and supervised the various holdings.
Although serfdom was abolished, since its abolition was achieved on terms unfavorable to the peasants, revolutionary tensions were not abated, despite Alexander II's intentions.
In [] Turkish empire suppressed revolt in Bulgaria. the Bulgarian population became a victim of repressions and in []-[] Russia was at war against Turkey. The English fleet interfered to occupation of Constantinople. The disappointment as a result of war stimulated revolutionary tensions.
In the [[1860s]] a movement known as [[Nihilist movement|Nihilism]] developed in Russia. For some time many Russian liberals had been dissatisfied by the empty discussions of the [[intelligentsia]]. The Nihilists questioned all old values, championed the independence of the individual, and shocked the Russian establishment.
The Nihilists first attempted to convert the aristocracy to the cause of reform. Failing there, they turned to the peasants. Their "go to the people" campaign became known as the [[Narodnik]] movement.
While the Narodnik movement was gaining momentum, the government quickly moved to extirpate it. In response to the growing reaction of the government, a radical branch of the Narodniks advocated and practiced [[terrorism]]. One after another, prominent officials were shot or killed by bombs. Finally, after several attempts, Alexander II was assassinated in [], on the very day he had approved a proposal to call a representative assembly to consider new reforms in addition to the abolition of serfdom designed to ameliorate revolutionary demands.
====Автократија и реакција под Александром III====