Czar Alexander II ended serfdom in Russia in 1861, just as the U.S. was going to war over secession and the question of slavery. As serfdom is virtual slavery, if not actual, to emancipate by decree two years before Lincoln did in the U.S. could certainly be considered progressive for the time (after all, isn't Lincoln considered progressive for doing so?).
The problem was, like Lincoln's proclamation, it didn't do much to change the situation with Serfs. 50 million of Russia's 60 million people were peasants, and lived in continual poverty without much hope for getting out of it, much as America's freed slaves lived in poverty for generations after the 13th amendment was adopted, except in Russia we're talking about a much higher percentage of the population.
This kind of disparity in economic class, the corruption of the Czarist system, the ineffectiveness of the Russian military and its reliance on peasant conscripts all combined to bring about the eventual downfall of Czarist Russia.