The emancipation of the peasants in its hope to rectify the flaws within Russian government and society and substitute political instability eventually converted its motive in becoming a catalyst for rebellion. Thus the statement that “The year 1861 begot the year 1905” that led to the Russian revolution is notable in its stance to be misguided, inefficient, altogether disastrous and temporary that opened unrest and revolution. When the terms of the Edict began to be spelled out from the pulpits of their churches, jubilation was replaced by disbelief and anger. Large numbers of peasants convinced themselves that these arrangements were temporary and true emancipation would be granted shortly. In 1861 alone, there were 499 incidents of serious rioting in which soldiers were deployed to restore order. Alexander himself was forced to intervene to correct the confused peasants. Incidents of disorder declined but the peasants remained deeply disap¬pointed. Few peasants would have toasted Alexander as their 'Tsar Liberator'.
Alexander II’s most celebrated reform hence succeeded in alienating the principal classes in Russian society and started showing its cracks in proving to be a short lived. His inability to earn the gratitude of the peasantry while losing the devotion of the nobility proved to be a disastrous outcome given his initial hopes for the scheme.
Nevertheless as Igor Volgin wrote, “…the reform of 1861 created a historical precedent of exceptional importance. It presented an example of voluntary renunciation of an age-old historical injustice” Holding a remarkable view on an autocratic regime so supreme, to be generous giving its peasants both freedom and land, although to a limited extent. Therefore in a positive outlook, the arrangements in Russia did protect the peasants from the usual dire social consequences of rapid capitalist development - vagrancy, underemployment and slum dwelling. At the same time they allowed for agricultural growth and change. Furthermore, despite the anger of peasants and landowners, the fact that emancipation had been introduced without civil war was something of an achievement. It is also necessary to perceive that after the Zemstvo reform and many later measures education finally acquired a mass basis in Russia.
For the ultimate failure of this movement to solve the pressing problems, and for the collapse of imperial Russia in a catastrophe, a number of reasons have been offered. Central, of course...