Emperor Alexander II wants to urgently create a nation-wide elective body to create a nation based on the rule of law and to ease tensions among the population, but is hesitant in accepting a certain project.
Alexander II accepts the proposal of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mikhail Loris-Melikov. PoD: The second bomb does not detonate, hence assassination fails and the would-be assassins and all others involved (Ignacy Hryniewiecki, Nikolay Rysakov, Timofey Mikhailov, Andrey Zhelyabov, Nikolay Kibalchich, Sofia Perovskaya, Nikolay Sablin and Gesya Gelfman) are arrested, tried and executed (Ignacy Hryniewiecki, Nikolay Rysakov, Timofey Mikhailov, Andrey Zhelyabov and Sofia Perovskaya) or exiled (Nikolay Kibalchich, Nikolay Sablin and Gesya Gelfman), effectively ending the People's Will terrorist organisation.
All of the proposed reforms are carried out, including the conversion of most peasants to farmers, the cancellation of redemption payments peasants had to pay to the landowners after they were emancipated, the opening of a large number of new village and church schools, and the main reform, the introduction of elected Zemstvo and City representatives into the State Council to consult the Emperor with the introduction of new laws. Within the State Council, two Commissions were created; the Administrative and the Financial. They consisted of the aforementioned Zemstvo and City represntatives, and they would assist the Emperor in drafting new laws. Then they would discuss the drafted laws in a combined meeting, chaired by the Minister of Internal Affairs, and decide which laws were to be put before the State Council.
Within the State Council and the Committee of Ministers, "parties" emerge: the "Progressists", led by Chairman of the Committee of Ministers Pyotr Valuev, who were radical liberals; the "Reformists", led by Minister of Internal Affairs Mikhail Loris-Melikov, who were moderate liberals; the "Absolutists", led by Ober-Procurator of the Synod Konstantin Pobedonostsev, who were reactionaries.
The Reformists and Progressists form a coalition and begin working together in all aspects of central and local governments, including the Committee of Ministers, the State Council, the Zemstvo Assemblies and City Dumas. All of the Committee of Ministers and the majority of the Council of Ministers and State Council was of the Progressist/Reformist coalition. This meant the liberals dominated Russian politics, and they could advise the Emperor and influence him to pass more liberal legislation, e.g. introducing more elected representatives to the State Council.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs - Alexander Gorchakov - dies, and Nikolay Girs is appointed as the new minister.
Alexander, knowing the slow economic growth in Russia, due to the fact that throughout his reign, he focused on socio-political, but not economic reforms, decided to begin industrialisation at a faster rate, when he effectively began a policy of a mixed economy: the state owns some industries and subsidises private industries. The government also embrace new agricultural methods and begins teaching it to farmers. This really kicks off well and Russia, slowly but surely, begins catching up with the industrial powers of Europe.
Education spending is expanded and new schools are opened to the public. Zemstvo and City Duma elections occur, and a few members of the State Council are changed. The Progressists and Reformists grow, at the expense of the Absolutists.
During the Bulgarian crisis, unlike in OTL, the Russian government supported the unification of Bulgaria, and persuaded Serbia not to fall prey to Austria's offer to Serbia to attack Bulgaria and in return, receive new lands in the Balkans. War was averted, however Russo-Ottoman relations deteriorated.
Over the three years since the implementation of Loris-Melikov's reforms, the amount of members of the State Council grew from 50 (before the reforms) to 75 (50 appointed and 25 elected members) to 80 (50 appointed and 30 elected) and finally to 100 (50 appointed and 50 elected). Alexander grants the State Council the full rights of a legislature, allowing the Commissions to draw up legislation and send it to the Chancellery of the State Council. If the law was approved by the Chancellery, it would be sent to the State Council for approval. If the law was rejected by the Chancellery it would be revised by the Chancellery and sent back down to the Commissions for their opinion on the revision. If the Commissions agree with the revision, it is immediately sent to the State Council for approval. If the Commissions disagree with revision, they may revise the piece of legislation and send it back up to the Chancellery - and so the cycle continues until a consensus can be reached. The State Council votes on legislation they receive from the Chancellery. If the majority of the State Council agree with the proposal, the bill is sent to the Emperor for approval. If the majority disagree with the proposal, it is sent back down to the Chancellery for revision. If the Emperor approves of the bill, it becomes law. If the Emperor vetoes the bill, the bill becomes null and void. The Emperor also has the power to introduce Decrees, or Ukazy which must be approved by the State Council directly. However, during a State of Emergency - which is declared by the Emperor and approved by the State Council directly - the Emperor may issue Decrees without approval from the State Council.
Parties are officially legalised and formal parties begin forming, first the Progressists form the "Progressive Democratic Party", followed by the Reformists, who create the "Party of Reform" and lastly the Absolutists form the "Union of Russian People".
Alexander II orders Nikolay Girs - Minister of Foreign Affairs - to ensure the League of Three Emperors remains in force. Girs visits Germany and secures an alliance with German Emperor Wilhelm I and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. He does the same with Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz-Joseph and Minister-President Eduard Taaffe.
Alexander issues a Decree which is approved in the State Council doubling its membership, taking it to 200 members (100 appointed and 100 elected). This gradual democratisation is praised in France and Britain, for being progressive, and in Germany and Austria, for being gradual. Due to the growth of industrial and agricultural output, Alexander begins his 2nd military reform, alongside Dmitriy Milyutin, involving the introduction of Sergey Mosin's modification of the Berdan rifle with an 8 bullet magazine and new artillery weapons, as well as new military doctrines and training techniques, both for soldiers and officers. This reform also applied to the fleet, meaning the old sailing ships were entirely eradicated and ironclads and steam frigates replacing them.
Zemstvo and City Duma elections are held, resulting in a reshuffling of the State Council: the Progressive Democrats got 36 seats, the Reformists got 38 and the Union of Russian People, or the Unionists, as they became to be known, got 26. The appointed members were: 34 Progressive Democrats, 40 Reformists and 26 Unionists. Loris-Melikov, the Minister of Internal Affairs, dies and is replaced by Minister of Justice, Dmitriy Nabokov, while Konstantin Palen returns to his former position as Minister of Justice. Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, Alexander II's brother and Chairman of the State Council, is chosen as the new leader of the Party of Reform.
Due to rapidly growing industry (and therefore working classes), and popular demand for social reform, Alexander proposes a decrees on a 10-hour work day, 5 rouble/hour minimum wage, pensions for retired workers over 55 and 3 weeks of paid leave, which pass almost unanimously through the State Council.
Minister of Finance - Alexander Abaza, Minister of Ways of Communication - Konstantin Posiet and State Controller - Dmitriy Solskiy, with support from the Tsar, begin what would be called nowadays as the nationalisation of the railways, in order to make the transport system in Russia more efficient. With sanctioning of the Emperor, Abaza, with support of Minister of State Property, Andrey Liven, as well as Dmitriy Solskiy, begin further stimulating Russian industry to grow, and Russian industry suddenly boosts its growth from 2% per annum, to 6% per annum.
Pyotr Valuev, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, dies, and is replaced by Dmitriy Nabokov, Dmitriy Solskiy - State Controller - is appointed as Minister of Internal Affairs, and Nikolay Bunge is appointed as State Controller. The new leader of the Progressive Democratic Party becomes Dmitriy Nabokov.
An educational reform is passed through the State Council, with support from the Minister of Public Enlightenment, Andrey Saburov, greatly increasing the amount of primary people's schools in the villages. This reform also increased the availability of medium-tier education, by opening city schools in all cities of the Russian Empire.
Aleksey Peshurov, Fleet Minister, dies and is replaced by Nikolay Chikhachev.
Alexander II's brother and Chairman of the State Council, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich dies, and the Emperor grants the Council the right to elect their own chairman; they elected Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich, the Tsar's other brother. The new leader of the Party of Reform becomes Nikolay Bunge.
The famine of 1891-1892 was dealt with much more effectively than in OTL, and the popularity of Marxism never shot up as much as it did, however, a new party, the socialist "Radical Party", led by Nikolay Chernyshevkiy, was formed. The following election for the Zemstvo Assemblies and City Dumas, the Radicals got 3 seats, the Progressive Democrats got 36 seats, the Reformists got 40 seats, and the Unionists got 21 seats in the State Council. The appointed members remained the same.
After the Bulgarian crisis, relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, which were already very strained, further worsened, and in 1893, the Ottoman Empire almost provoked Russia to start another Russo-Turkish war, however, war was averted, due to intervention from Germany who acted as a mediator until the crisis was resolved.
In 1894, the ageing Alexander takes the final step, and issues a Decree, approved by the State Council, creating a lower house in the nation's parliament, named the State Duma, elected through closed party-list semi-proportional majority bonus electoral system, where the winning party gets an extra 1/5 of seats (in order to achieve stability in a developing democracy). The Zemstvos and City Dumas were now elected through closed party-list proportional representation and the splitting of voters into electoral curiae by social class was now banned and all elections were made equal. The City Dumas and Zemstvos would continue to elect half of the State Council's members, and the Emperor appoint the second half. The Duma would contain 350 seats and the Council - 200. All laws, be they drafted by a Duma deputy, a Council member or the Emperor, would first be put to debate and voted on in the Duma. If the bill would pass through the Duma, the law would move up to the Council, where a similar procedure would occur. If the law is rejected, it is revised and voted on again. Once the Council receives the legislation and votes on it, and it passes, the bill goes to the Emperor for approval. If, however, it is rejected, it is revised and sent back to the Duma, which will vote on the revision, and a procedure similar to the usual voting would occur. Once the bill reaches the Emperor, he will decide whether the bill becomes law, it is vetoed and declared null and void, or revised and sent back to the Duma for approval (as if it is a Decree). The basic operations of the Russian state were put in the nations first official constitution, called the "Fundamentals of the State System of the Russian Empire". In addition to the new system of government, the Tsar lifted all limits on all ethnic minorities, granting equal rights to all citizens of the Russian Empire.
Soon after the creation of the constitution, Tsesarevich Alexander Alexandrovich died, under mysterious circumstances. Alexander II did not outlive his son for long and died a week after his eldest son's burial. Alexander was sincerely missed by the average Russian man, as the Tsar had brought him freedom, education, a say in government and better living conditions. Vladimir Aleksandrovich is crowned Emperor Vladimir III.
Nikolay Girs dies and is replaced by Aleksey Lobanov-Rostovskiy as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Soon after, Alexander Abaza, Minister of Finance, dies and Nikolay Bunge is appointed in his place. Sergey Witte is appointed as State Controller, however, this does not last long and Nikolay Bunge dies and is replaced by Sergey Witte, and his previous post is abolished and most of its jurisdiction given to the Ministry of Finance. The new leader of the Reformists becomes Sergey Witte
The elections into the First State Duma and Third (elected) State Council occur. In the Duma, the Progressive Democrats gain 134 seats, the Reformists gain 129 seats, the Unionists gain 45 seats and the Radicals gain 42 seats. In the Council, the Reformists gain 97 seats, the Progressive Democrats gain 83 seats, the Unionists gain 15 seats and the Radicals gain 5 seats. Boris Chicherin, a Progressive Democrat, is elected President (chairman) of the State Duma, while Mikhail Nikolaevich, Chairman of the State Council loses his position to Pavel Korf, a Saint Petersburg Governorate Zemstvo representative from the Party of Reform.