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Mikhail Speransky

Mikhail Speransky (1772-1839) was a close advisor to Tsar Alexander I of Russia who advocated reform of the Russian Empire.

Speransky was not of noble birth and was an outsider in the politics of St. Petersburg. He was well educated and intelligent and believed strongly in liberal ideals. He was a friend of Alexander Radishchev and supported the transformation of Russia into a constitutional monarchy.

While Speransky devised many grand schemes for improving Russia, few of these came ot fruition. He failed to see serfdom abolished and Russia remained a totally undemocratic autocracy. Some reforms such as the compilation of Russia's laws and the reorginization of some areas of Russia were successful, but other major reforms were not achieved.

Speransky met great resistance to his reforms from Russia's nobles who feared the weakening of their power. In 1812 with the war with France Alexander was forced to remove Speransky to appease the nobles who were greatly needed for the war effort.

While most of Speranksy's reforms were unsuccessful they did pave the wat for the great reforms of Alexander II's reign a few decades later.