Alexander II

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Birth Date:
29.04.1818
Death date:
13.03.1881
Extra names:
Alexander II., Aleksandrs II Romanovs, Atbrīvotājs, Александр II Николаевич Романов, Освободитель, Александр II Николаевич, Aleksandras II, Олександр II
Categories:
Aristocrat, Duke, King, ruler, Member of the Government, Military person, Tsar (emperor), Victim of terrorist attack
Nationality:
 german, russian
Cemetery:
Grand Ducal Burial Vault

Alexander II was the Emperor of Russia from 2 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881. He was also the King of Poland and the Grand Prince of Finland.

From imperialistic Russia's point of view Alexander was the most successful Russian reformer since Peter the Great. His most important achievement was the emancipation of serfs in 1861, for which he became known as Alexander the Liberator (Russian: Алекса́ндр Освободи́тель, tr. Aleksandr Osvoboditel;. The tsar was responsible for numerous other reforms including reorganizing the judicial system, setting up elected local judges, abolishing capital punishment, promoting local self-government through the zemstvo system, imposing universal military service, ending some of the privileges of the nobility, and promoting the universities. Despite these reforms, during his reign, his brutal secret police, known as the Third Section, sent thousands of dissidents into exile in Siberia.

In foreign policy, Alexander sold Alaska to the United States in 1867, fearing the remote colony would fall into British hands if there was another war. He sought peace, moved away from bellicose France when Napoleon III fell in 1871, and in 1872 joined with Germany and Austria in the League of the Three Emperors that stabilized the European situation. Despite his otherwise pacifistic foreign policy, he fought a brief war with Turkey in 1877–78, pursued further expansion into Siberia and the Caucasus, and conquered Turkestan. Although disappointed by the results of the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Alexander abided by that agreement. Among his greatest domestic challenges was an uprising in Poland in 1863, to which he responded by stripping that land of its separate Constitution and incorporating it directly into Russia. Alexander was proposing additional parliamentary reforms to counter the rise of nascent revolutionary and anarchistic movements when he was assassinated in 1881.

Early life

Born in Moscow, he was the eldest son of Nicholas I of Russia and Charlotte of Prussia, daughter of Frederick William III of Prussia and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. His early life gave little indication of his ultimate potential; until the time of his accession in 1855, aged 37, few imagined that he would be known to posterity as a leader able to implement the most challenging reforms undertaken in Russia since the reign of Peter the Great.

In the period of his life as heir apparent, the intellectual atmosphere of Saint Petersburg was unfavourable to any kind of change: freedom of thought and all forms of private initiative were being suppressed vigorously. Personal and official censorship was rife; criticism of the authorities was regarded as a serious offence. Some 26 years afterward, he had the opportunity of implementing changes; he would, however, be assassinated in public by the Narodnaya Volya (People's Will) terrorist organisation.

His education as a future emperor was carried out under the supervision of the liberal romantic poet and gifted translator Vasily Zhukovsky, grasping a smattering of a great many subjects and becoming familiar with the chief modern European languages. His alleged lack of interest in military affairs detected by later historians was his reflection on the results on his own family and on the effect on the whole country of the unsavoury Crimean War. Unusually for the time, the young Alexander was taken on a six-month tour of Russia, visiting 20 provinces in the country. He also visited many prominent Western European countries. As Tsarevich, Alexander became the first Romanov heir to visit Siberia.

Reign

Alexander II succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father in 1855. The first year of his reign was devoted to the prosecution of the Crimean War and, after the fall of Sevastopol, to negotiations for peace, led by his trusted counsellor Prince Gorchakov. The country had been exhausted and humiliated by the war. Bribe-taking, theft and corruption were everywhere. Encouraged by public opinion he began a period of radical reforms, including an attempt to not depend on a landed aristocracy controlling the poor, a move to developing Russia's natural resources and to reform all branches of the administration. In 1867 he sold Alaska to the United States for $7.2 million (equivalent to roughly $200 million in current dollars) after recognising the great difficulty of defending it against the United Kingdom or the former British colony of Canada.

After Alexander became emperor in 1855, he maintained a generally liberal course. Despite this, he was a target for numerous assassination attempts (1866, 1879, 1880). On 13 March [O.S. 1 March] 1881, members of the Narodnaya Volya (People's Will) party killed him with a bomb. The Emperor had earlier in the day signed the Loris-Melikov constitution which would have created two legislative commissions made up of indirectly elected representatives, had it not been repealed by his reactionary successor Alexander III.

Emancipation of the serfs

Soon after the conclusion of peace, important changes were made in legislation concerning industry and commerce, and the new freedom thus afforded produced a large number of limited liability companies. Plans were formed for building a great network of railways, partly for the purpose of developing the natural resources of the country, and partly for the purpose of increasing its power for defense and attack.

The existence of serfdom was tackled boldly, taking advantage of a petition presented by the Polish landed proprietors of the Lithuanian provinces and, hoping that their relations with the serfs might be regulated in a more satisfactory way (meaning in a way more satisfactory for the proprietors), he authorized the formation of committees "for ameliorating the condition of the peasants," and laid down the principles on which the amelioration was to be effected.

This step was followed by one still more significant. Without consulting his ordinary advisers, Alexander ordered the Minister of the Interior to send a circular to the provincial governors of European Russia (serfdom was rare in other parts), containing a copy of the instructions forwarded to the Governor-General of Lithuania, praising the supposed generous, patriotic intentions of the Lithuanian landed proprietors, and suggesting that perhaps the landed proprietors of other provinces might express a similar desire. The hint was taken: in all provinces where serfdom existed, emancipation committees were formed.

The emancipation was not merely a humanitarian question capable of being solved instantaneously by imperial ukase. It contained very complicated problems, deeply affecting the economic, social and political future of the nation.

Alexander had to choose between the different measures recommended to him and decide if the serfs would become agricultural laborers dependent economically and administratively on the landlords or if the serfs would be transformed into a class of independent communal proprietors.

The emperor gave his support to the latter project, and the Russian peasantry became one of the last groups of peasants in Europe to shake off serfdom.

The architects of the emancipation manifesto were Alexander's brother Konstantin, Yakov Rostovtsev, and Nikolay Milyutin.

On 3 March 1861, 6 years after his accession, the emancipation law was signed and published.

Other reforms

In response to the overwhelming defeat (1856) suffered by Russia in the Crimean War and to attempt to keep pace with military advances in other European countries, Alexander II appointed Dmitry Milyutin to carry out significant reforms in the Russian armed forces. The changes included universal military conscription, introduced for all social classes on 1 January 1874. Prior to this new regulation, as of 1861, conscription was only compulsorily enforced for the peasantry. Conscription had, previously to this reform, been 25 years for serfs that were drafted by their landowners, which was widely considered to be a life sentence. Other military reforms included extending the reserve forces and the military district system, which split the Russian states into 15 military districts, a system still in use over a hundred years later. The building of strategic railways and an emphasis on the military education of the officer corps comprised further reforms. Corporal punishment in the military and branding of soldiers as punishment were banned. The bulk of important military reforms were enacted as a result of the poor showing in the Crimean War.

A new judicial administration (1864), based on the French model, introduced security of tenure. A new penal code and a greatly simplified system of civil and criminal procedure also came into operation. Reorganisation of Judiciary, to include trial in open court, with judges appointed for life, a jury system and the creation of justices of the peace to deal with minor offences at local level.

Alexander's bureaucracy instituted an elaborate scheme of local self-government (zemstvo) for the rural districts (1864) and the large towns (1870), with elective assemblies possessing a restricted right of taxation, and a new rural and municipal police under the direction of the Minister of the Interior.

Suppression of separatist movements

In 1856, at the beginning of his reign, Alexander had made a memorable speech to the deputies of the Polish nobility who inhabited Congress Poland, Western Ukraine, Lithuania, Livonia and Belarus, in which he admonished, "Gentlemen, let us have no dreams!" The result was the January Uprising of 1863–1864 that was suppressed after eighteen months of fighting. Hundreds of Poles were executed, and thousands were deported to Siberia. The price for suppression was Russian support for the unification of Germany. Years later, Germany and Russia became enemies.

All territories of the former Poland-Lithuania were excluded from liberal policies introduced by Alexander. The martial law in Lithuania, introduced in 1863, lasted for the next 40 years. Native languages, Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Belarusian were completely banned from printed texts, the Ems Ukase being an example. The Polish language was banned in both oral and written form from all provinces except Congress Poland, where it was allowed in private conversations only.

Encouraging Finnish nationalism

In 1863, Alexander II re-convened the Diet of Finland and initiated several reforms increasing Finland's autonomy from Russia including establishment of its own currency, the markka. Liberation of business led to increased foreign investment and industrial development. Finland also got its first railways, separately established under Finnish administration.

Finally, the elevation of Finnish from a language of the common people to a national language equal to Swedish opened opportunities for a larger proportion of the society. Alexander II is still regarded as "The Good Tsar" in Finland.

These reforms could be seen as results of a genuine belief that reforms were easier to test in an underpopulated, homogeneous country, than in the whole of Russia. They may also be seen as a reward for the loyalty of its relatively western-oriented population during the Crimean War and during the Polish uprising. Encouraging Finnish nationalism and language can also be seen as an attempt to dilute ties with Sweden.

Rule during the Caucasian War

It was during Alexander II's rule that the Caucasian War reached its climax. Just before the conclusion of the war with a victory on Russia's side, the Russian Army, under the emperor's order, sought to eliminate the Circassian "mountaineers" in what would be often referred to as "cleansing" in several historic dialogues. The ethnic cleansing of the Circassians by the Russian army under the direction of Alexander II meets the modern international legal definition of genocide.

Liberation of Bulgaria

In April 1876 the Bulgarian population on the Balkans rebelled against Ottoman rule. The April Uprising was suppressed brutally and drowned in blood, causing a general outcry throughout Europe. Some of the most prominent intellectuals and politicians on the Continent, most notably Victor Hugo and William Gladstone, sought to raise awareness about the atrocities that the Turks imposed on the Bulgarian population. To solve this new crisis in the "Eastern question" a special conference was convened in Constantinople at the end of the year. The participants in the Conference failed to reach a final agreement. After the failure of the Constantinople Conference, at the beginning of 1877 Emperor Alexander II started diplomatic preparations with the other Great Powers to secure their neutrality in case there was a war between Russia and the Ottomans. Alexander II considered such agreements paramount in avoiding the possibility of placing his country in a second disaster, similar to the Crimean War. The Russian Emperor was successful in his diplomatic endeavours. Having secured agreement to non-involvement by the other Great Powers, on 17 April 1877 Russia declared war upon the Ottoman Empire. The Russians were successful against the Turks and the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 ended with the signing of the preliminary peace Treaty of San Stefano on 19 February (3 March N.S.) 1878. The treaty and the subsequent Congress of Berlin secured the emergence of an independent Bulgarian state for the first time since 1396, and the tsar's nephew, Prince Alexander of Battenberg, was elected as the Bulgarians' first ruler. For his social reforms in Russia and his role in the liberation of Bulgaria, Alexander II became known in Bulgaria as the "Tsar-Liberator of Russians and Bulgarians". A monument to Alexander II was erected in 1907 in Sofia in the "National Assembly" square, opposite to the Parliament building. The monument underwent a complete reconstruction in 2012, funded by the Sofia Municipality and some Russian foundations. The inscription on the monument reads in Old-Bulgarian style: "To the Tsar-Liberator from grateful Bulgaria". There is a museum dedicated to Alexander in the Bulgarian city of Pleven.

Assassination attempts

In April 1866, there was an attempt on the emperor's life in St. Petersburg by Dmitry Karakozov. To commemorate his narrow escape from death (which he himself referred to only as "the event of 4 April 1866"), a number of churches and chapels were built in many Russian cities. Viktor Hartmann, a Russian architect, even sketched a design of a monumental gate (which was never built) to commemorate the event. Modest Mussorgsky later wrote his Pictures at an Exhibition; the last movement of which, "The Great Gate of Kiev", is based on Hartmann's sketches.

During the 1867 World Fair Polish immigrant Antoni Berezowski attacked the carriage with Alexander, his two sons and Napoleon III. His self-modified, double-barreled pistol misfired and only a horse of an escorting cavalryman was hit.

On the morning of 20 April 1879, Alexander was briskly walking towards the Square of the Guards Staff and faced Alexander Soloviev, a 33-year-old former student. Having seen a menacing revolver in his hands, the Emperor fled in a zigzag pattern. Soloviev fired five times but missed. He was hanged on 28 May, after being sentenced to death.

The student acted on his own, but other revolutionaries were keen to murder Alexander. In December 1879, the Narodnaya Volya (People's Will), a radical revolutionary group which hoped to ignite a social revolution, organised an explosion on the railway from Livadia to Moscow, but they missed the emperor's train.

On the evening of 5 February 1880 Stephan Khalturin, also from Narodnaya Volya, set off a charge under the dining room of the Winter Palace, right in the resting room of the guards a story below, killing 11 people and wounding 30 others. However, dinner was delayed by the late arrival of the tsar's nephew, the Prince of Bulgaria, so the tsar and his family were not in the dining room at the time of the explosion and were unharmed.

Family life

By his empress consort, Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna, Alexander II had eight children, seven of whom survived into adulthood. He particularly put his hope in his eldest son, Tsarevich Nicholas. In 1864, Alexander II found Nicholas a bride, Princess Dagmar of Denmark, second daughter of King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark and younger sister to Alexandra, Princess of Wales and King George I of Greece. However, in 1865, during the engagement, Nicholas died and the tsar's second son, Grand Duke Alexander, not only inherited his brother's position of tsarevich, but also his fiancee and the couple married in November 1866, with Dagmar converting to Orthodoxy and taking the name Maria Feodorovna. In time, political differences, and other disagreements, led to estrangement between the two Alexanders. Amongst his children, he remained particularly close with his second, and only surviving daughter, Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna. In 1873, a quarrel broke out between the courts of Queen Victoria and Alexander II, when Victoria's second son, Prince Alfred, made it known that he wished to marry the Grand Duchess. The tsar objected to the queen's request to have his daughter come to England in order to meet her, and after the January 1874 wedding in St. Petersburg, the tsar insisted that his daughter be granted precedence over the Princess of Wales, which the queen rebuffed. Later that year, after attending the engagement ceremonies of his second surviving son, Vladimir, to Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in Berlin, Alexander II, with his third son, Alexei, accompanying him, made a visit to England. While not a state visit, but simply a trip to see his daughter, he nevertheless partook in receptions at Buckingham Palace and Marlborough House, inspected the artillery at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, reviewed troops at Aldershot and met both Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and leader of the opposition, William Gladstone. Disraeli observed of the tsar that "his mien and manners are gracious and graceful, but the expression of his countenance, which I could now very closely examine, is sad. Whether it is satiety, or the loneliness of despotism, or fear of a violent death, I know not, but it was a visage of, I should think, habitual mournfulness."

At home, Tsarina Marie Alexandrovna was suffering from tuberculosis and was spending increasing time abroad. In 1866, Alexander II took a mistress, Catherine Dolgorukya, with whom he would father three surviving children. The affair, in the face of the tsarina's declining health, served to alienate the rest of his adult children, save his son Alexei, and his daughter, who, like Alexander II's brothers, believed that the tsar was beyond criticism, from him. In 1880, however, following threats on Catherine's life, the tsar moved his mistress and their children into the Winter Palace, installing them in rooms directly above the apartments of his ailing wife. When Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna made a visit in May 1880, being warned that her mother was dying, she was horrified to learn of his father's mistress' living arrangements and confronted her father. Shocked by the loss of support from his daughter, he quietly retreated to Gatchina Palace for military reviews. The quarrel, however, evidently, jolted his conscience enough to lead him to return to St. Petersburg each morning to ask after his wife's health. The tsarina, however, had not much longer to live, dying on 3 June [O.S. 22 may] 1880. On 18 July [O.S. 6 July] 1880, Alexander II and Catherine were married in a secret ceremony at Tsarskoe Selo. The action scandalized both his family and the court, as well as violated Orthodox custom, which required a forty-day minimum period between the death of a spouse and the remarriage of a surviving spouse, and was condemned in foreign courts. Alexander also bestowed on Catherine the title of Princess Yurievskaya and legitimized their children.

Assassination

After the last assassination attempt in February 1880, Count Loris-Melikov was appointed the head of the Supreme Executive Commission and given extraordinary powers to fight the revolutionaries. Loris-Melikov's proposals called for some form of parliamentary body, and the Emperor seemed to agree; these plans were never realised.

On 13 March (1 March Old Style Date), 1881, Alexander fell victim to an assassination plot in Saint Petersburg.

As he was known to do every Sunday for many years, the emperor went to the Mikhailovsky Manège for the military roll call. He travelled both to and from the Manège in a closed carriage accompanied by five Cossacks and Frank (Franciszek) Joseph Jackowski, a Polish noble, with a sixth Cossack sitting on the coachman's left. The emperor's carriage was followed by two sleighs carrying, among others, the chief of police and the chief of the emperor's guards. The route, as always, was via the Catherine Canal and over the Pevchesky Bridge.

The street was flanked by narrow pavements for the public. A young member of the Narodnaya Volya ("People's Will") movement, Nikolai Rysakov, was carrying a small white package wrapped in a handkerchief.

"After a moment's hesitation I threw the bomb. I sent it under the horses' hooves in the supposition that it would blow up under the carriage...The explosion knocked me into the fence."

The explosion, while killing one of the Cossacks and seriously wounding the driver and people on the sidewalk, had only damaged the bulletproof carriage, a gift from Napoleon III of France. The emperor emerged shaken but unhurt. Rysakov was captured almost immediately. Police Chief Dvorzhitsky heard Rysakov shout out to someone else in the gathering crowd. The surrounding guards and the Cossacks urged the emperor to leave the area at once rather than being shown the site of the explosion.

Nevertheless, a second young member of the Narodnaya Volya, Ignacy Hryniewiecki, standing by the canal fence, raised both arms and threw something at the emperor's feet. He was alleged to have shouted, "It is too early to thank God". Dvorzhitsky was later to write:

"I was deafened by the new explosion, burned, wounded and thrown to the ground. Suddenly, amid the smoke and snowy fog, I heard His Majesty's weak voice cry, 'Help!' Gathering what strength I had, I jumped up and rushed to the emperor. His Majesty was half-lying, half-sitting, leaning on his right arm. Thinking he was merely wounded heavily, I tried to lift him but the czar's legs were shattered, and the blood poured out of them. Twenty people, with wounds of varying degree, lay on the sidewalk and on the street. Some managed to stand, others to crawl, still others tried to get out from beneath bodies that had fallen on them. Through the snow, debris, and blood you could see fragments of clothing, epaulets, sabres, and bloody chunks of human flesh."

Later, it was learned there was a third bomber in the crowd. Ivan Emelyanov stood ready, clutching a briefcase containing a bomb that would be used if the other two bombers failed.

Alexander was carried by sleigh to the Winter Palace to his study where, twenty years before almost to the day, he had signed the Emancipation Edict freeing the serfs. Alexander was bleeding to death, with his legs torn away, his stomach ripped open, and his face mutilated. Members of the Romanov family came rushing to the scene.

The dying emperor was given Communion and Last Rites. When the attending physician, Sergey Botkin, was asked how long it would be, he replied, "Up to fifteen minutes." At 3:30 that day, the standard (Alexander's personal flag) of Alexander II was lowered for the last time.

Aftermath

Alexander II's death caused a great setback for the reform movement. One of his last ideas was to draft plans for an elected parliament, or Duma, which were completed the day before he died but not yet released to the Russian people. In a matter of 48 hours, Alexander II planned to release his plan for the duma to the Russian people. Had he lived, Russia might have followed a path to constitutional monarchy instead of the long road of oppression that defined his successor's reign. The first action Alexander III took after his father's death was to tear up those plans. A Duma would not come into fruition until 1905, when Alexander II's grandson, Nicholas II, commissioned the Duma following extreme pressure on the monarchy as a result of the Russian Revolution of 1905.

The assassination triggered major suppression of civil liberties in Russia, and police brutality burst back in full force after experiencing some restraint under the reign of Alexander II, whose death was witnessed first-hand by his son, Alexander III, and his grandson, Nicholas II, both future emperors who vowed not to have the same fate befall them. Both of them used the Okhrana to arrest protestors and uproot suspected rebel groups, creating further suppression of personal freedom for the Russian people. A series of anti-Jewish pogroms and legislation were yet another result.

Finally, the tsar's assassination also inspired anarchists to advocate "'propaganda by deed'—the use of a spectacular act of violence to incite revolution."

With construction starting in 1883, the Church of the Savior on Blood was built on the site of Alexander's assassination and dedicated in his memory.

Marriages and children

First marriage

During his bachelor days, Alexander made a state visit to England in 1838. Just a year older than the young Queen Victoria, Alexander's approaches to her were indeed short-lived. Victoria married her German cousin, Albert of Saxe-Coburg in February 1840. On 16 April 1841, aged 23, Tsarevitch Alexander married Princess Marie of Hesse in St Petersburg, thereafter known in Russia as Maria Alexandrovna.

(Marie was the legal daughter of Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Wilhelmina of Baden, although some gossiping questioned whether the Grand Duke Ludwig or Wilhelmina's lover, Baron August von Senarclens de Grancy, was her biological father. Alexander was aware of the question of her paternity.)

The marriage produced six sons and two daughters:

  • Grand Duchess Alexandra Alexandrovna (30 August 1842 – 10 July 1849), nicknamed Lina, died of infant meningitis in St. Petersburg at the age of six
  • Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (20 September 1843 – 24 April 1865), engaged to Dagmar of Denmark (Maria Feodorovna)
  • Emperor Alexander III (10 March 1845 – 1 November 1894), married 1866, Dagmar of Denmark, had issue
  • Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (22 April 1847 – 17 February 1909), married 1874, Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, had issue
  • Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich (14 January 1850 – 14 November 1908), had (presumably illegitimate) issue
  • Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna (17 October 1853 – 20 October 1920) married 1874, Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, had issue
  • Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich (11 May 1857 – 17 February 1905), married 1884, Elisabeth of Hesse (Elizabeth Feodorovna)
  • Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich (3 October 1860 – 24 January 1919), married 1889, Alexandra of Greece and Denmark (Alexandra Georgievna), had issue; second marriage 1902, Olga Karnovich, had issue

Empress Maria Alexandrovna died of tuberculosis on 6 June 1880, at the age of fifty-five.

Mistresses

Alexander had many mistresses during his marriage and fathered seven known illegitimate children. These included:

  • Charlotte Henriette Sophie Jansen (15 November 1844 – July 1915) with mistress Sophie Charlotte Dorothea Von Behse (1828–1886)
  • Joseph Raboxicz
  • Michael-Bogdan Oginski (10 October 1848 – 25 March 1909) with mistress Countess Olga Kalinovskya (1818–1854)
  • Antoinette Bayer (20 June 1856 – 24 January 1948) with his mistress Wilhelmine Bayer

On 6 July 1880, less than a month after Empress Maria's death, Alexander formed a morganatic marriage with his mistress Princess Catherine Dolgorukov, with whom he already had four children:

  • George Alexandrovich Romanov Yurievsky (12 May 1872 – 13 September 1913). Married Countess Alexandra Zarnekau and had issue. They later divorced.
  • Olga Alexandrovna Yurievskaya (7 November 1873 – 10 August 1925). Married Count Georg Nikolaus of Nassau, Count of Merenberg.
  • Boris Alexandrovich Yurievsky (23 February 1876 – 11 April 1876).
  • Catherine Alexandrovna Yurievskaya (9 September 1878 – 22 December 1959) Her first husband was the 23rd Prince Alexander Alexandrovich Bariatinski, (1870–1910) the son of the 22nd Prince Alexander Vladimirovich Bariatinski, (1848–1909). Her second husband, later divorced, was Prince Serge Obolensky, (1890–1978).

Alexander II's dog, Milord

A favourite dog of Alexander II was an Irish Setter named Milord. Contemporaries wrote that Milord was a Black Setter, but now it is understood to have been a Red Setter with black color on the tips of its hair – which gave the dog a black color with a red nuance.

Many citizens of Saint Petersburg came to know the figure of the emperor – a tall stately man, who frequently walked with his Setter along the lattice of the Summer Garden. Milord was likely the most famous animal in the Russian Empire at that time.

In fiction

Alexander II appears prominently in the opening two chapters of Jules Verne's Michael Strogoff (published in 1876 during Alexander's own lifetime). The Emperor sets the book's plot in motion and sends its eponymous protagonist on the dangerous and vital mission which would occupy the rest of the book. Verne presents Alexander II in a highly positive light, as an enlightened yet firm monarch, dealing confidently and decisively with a rebellion. Alexander's liberalism shows in a dialogue with the chief of police, who says "There was a time, sire, when NONE returned from Siberia", to be immediately rebuked by the Emperor who answers: "Well, whilst I live, Siberia is and shall be a country whence men CAN return."

The films Katia (1938) and Magnificent Sinner (1959) depict a highly fictionalized account of the Tsar's romance with the woman who became his second wife.

In The Tiger in the Well, Philip Pullman refers to the assassination – though he never names Alexander – and to the pogroms that followed. The anti-Jewish attacks play an important role in the novel's plot. Andrew Williams's historical thriller, To Kill A Tsar, tells the story of The People's Will revolutionaries and the assassination through the eyes of an Anglo-Russian doctor living in St Petersburg.

Oscar Wilde's first play Vera; or, The Nihilists, written in 1880 – Alexander II's last year – features Russian revolutionaries who seek to assassinate a reform-minded Emperor (and who, in the play, ultimately fail in their plot). Though Wilde's fictional Emperor differs from the actual Alexander, contemporary events in Russia – as published in the British press of the time – clearly influenced Wilde.

In nonfiction

Mark Twain describes a short visit with Alexander II in Chapter 37 of The Innocents Abroad, describing him as "very tall and spare, and a determined-looking man, though a very pleasant-looking one nevertheless. It is easy to see that he is kind and affectionate. There is something very noble in his expression when his cap is off."

Titles, styles and arms

 

Titles and styles

  • 29 April 1818 – 1 December 1825: His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Alexander Nikolaevich of Russia
  • 1 December 1825 – 2 March 1855: His Imperial Highness The Tsarevich of Russia
  • 2 March 1855 – 13 March 1881: His Imperial Majesty The Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias

***

Source: wikipedia.org, regiment.ru

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        Relations

        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1Nicholas I of RussiaNicholas I of RussiaFather06.07.179618.02.1855
        2Александра ФёдоровнаАлександра ФёдоровнаMother13.07.179801.11.1860
        3Alexander IIIAlexander IIISon10.03.184501.11.1894
        4Сергей АлександровичСергей АлександровичSon11.05.185717.02.1905
        5Владимир АлександровичВладимир АлександровичSon10.04.184704.02.1909
        6Paul  AlexandrovichPaul AlexandrovichSon03.10.186030.01.1919
        7Сергей  РомановСергей РомановSon11.05.185717.02.1905
        8Maria AlexandrovnaMaria AlexandrovnaDaughter17.10.185324.10.1920
        9Дмитрий Константинович РомановДмитрий Константинович РомановBrother01.06.186030.01.1919
        10Николай КонстантиновичНиколай КонстантиновичBrother14.02.185027.01.1918
        11Константин КонстантиновичКонстантин КонстантиновичBrother10.08.185802.06.1915
        12Konstantin NikolayevichKonstantin NikolayevichBrother21.09.182725.01.1892
        13Николай СтаршийНиколай СтаршийBrother27.07.183113.04.1891
        14Olga  NikolaevnaOlga NikolaevnaSister11.09.182230.10.1892
        15Grand Duchess Maria  Nikolaevna of RussiaGrand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of RussiaSister18.08.181921.02.1876
        16Olga  Constantinovna of RussiaOlga Constantinovna of RussiaSister03.09.185118.06.1926
        17Maria  AlexandrovnaMaria AlexandrovnaWife08.08.182403.06.1880
        18Catherine  DolgorukovCatherine DolgorukovWife14.11.184715.02.1922
        19Михаил ПавловичМихаил ПавловичUncle08.02.179828.08.1849
        20Константин ПавловичКонстантин ПавловичUncle27.04.177915.06.1831
        21Alexander I of RussiaAlexander I of RussiaUncle12.12.177719.11.1825
        22Анна ПавловнаАнна ПавловнаAunt18.01.179501.03.1865
        23Duchess Maria DorotheaDuchess Maria DorotheaAunt01.11.179730.03.1855
        24Maria  PavlovnaMaria PavlovnaAunt04.02.178611.06.1859
        25Екатерина ПавловнаЕкатерина ПавловнаAunt10.05.178809.01.1819
        26Елена  ПавловнаЕлена ПавловнаAunt17.12.178424.09.1803
        27Prince Christopher  of Greece and DenmarkPrince Christopher of Greece and DenmarkNephew10.08.188821.01.1940
        28Принц Николай ПетровичПринц Николай ПетровичNephew09.05.184020.01.1886
        29князь Георгий Максимилианович Романовскийкнязь Георгий Максимилианович РомановскийNephew29.02.185203.05.1912
        30Prince Nicholas of  Greece and DenmarkPrince Nicholas of Greece and DenmarkNephew22.01.187208.02.1938
        31Александр ИскандерАлександр ИскандерNephew15.11.188726.01.1957
        32Oleg  KonstantinovichOleg KonstantinovichNephew15.11.189229.09.1914
        33Nicholas  MikhailovichNicholas MikhailovichNephew14.04.185930.01.1919
        34Constantine I of GreeceConstantine I of GreeceNephew02.08.186811.01.1923
        35Мориц Саксен-АльтенбургскийМориц Саксен-АльтенбургскийNephew24.10.182913.05.1907
        36Георгий Мекленбург-СтрелицкийГеоргий Мекленбург-СтрелицкийNephew25.05.185905.12.1909
        37Gabriel RomanovGabriel RomanovNephew15.07.188728.02.1955
        38Prince Ioann  Konstantinovich of RussiaPrince Ioann Konstantinovich of RussiaNephew05.07.188618.07.1918
        39Igor  ConstantinovichIgor ConstantinovichNephew29.05.189418.07.1918
        40Великий князь Пётр НиколаевичВеликий князь Пётр НиколаевичNephew10.01.186417.06.1931
        41Georgy  KonstantinovichGeorgy KonstantinovichNephew23.04.190307.11.1938
        42Grand Duke Nicholas  Nikolaevich of RussiaGrand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich of RussiaNephew18.11.185605.01.1929
        43Prince Andrew of  Greece and DenmarkPrince Andrew of Greece and DenmarkNephew02.02.188203.12.1944
        44Великий Князь Георгий МихайловичВеликий Князь Георгий МихайловичNephew23.08.186330.01.1919
        45Вера КонстантиновнаВера КонстантиновнаNiece24.04.190611.01.2001
        46Princess Maria of Greece and DenmarkPrincess Maria of Greece and DenmarkNiece03.03.187614.12.1940
        47Louis II Hesse, Grand DukeLouis II Hesse, Grand DukeFather in-law26.12.177716.06.1848
        48Wilhelmine   Baden, PrincessWilhelmine Baden, PrincessMother in-law21.09.178827.01.1836
        49Alfrēds Edinburgas, Olsteras un Kentas, Saksen- Koburgas  un Gotas HercogsAlfrēds Edinburgas, Olsteras un Kentas, Saksen- Koburgas un Gotas HercogsSon in-law06.09.184431.07.1900
        50Maria  PavlovnaMaria PavlovnaDaughter in-law14.05.185406.09.1920
        51Olga  PaleyOlga PaleyDaughter in-law02.12.186502.11.1929
        52Alexandra  GeorgievnaAlexandra GeorgievnaDaughter in-law30.08.187024.09.1891
        53Мария ФёдоровнаМария ФёдоровнаDaughter in-law26.11.184713.10.1928
        54Елизавета ФёдоровнаЕлизавета ФёдоровнаDaughter in-law01.11.186418.07.1918
        55Александра ИосифовнаАлександра ИосифовнаSister in-law08.07.183006.07.1911
        56
        Надежда ИскандерSister in-law00.00.186100.00.1929
        57Duchess Alexandra  Petrovna of OldenburgDuchess Alexandra Petrovna of OldenburgSister in-law02.06.183825.04.1900
        58Elisabeth  of Saxe-AltenburgElisabeth of Saxe-AltenburgSister in-law25.01.186524.03.1927
        59Maximilian de  BeauharnaisMaximilian de BeauharnaisBrother in-law02.10.181701.11.1852
        60Louis IIILouis IIIBrother in-law09.06.180613.06.1877
        61Карл ГессенскийКарл ГессенскийBrother in-law23.04.180920.03.1877
        62George IGeorge IBrother in-law24.12.184518.03.1913
        63Paul IPaul IGrandfather01.10.175423.03.1801
        64Louis Württemberg, DukeLouis Württemberg, DukeGrandfather30.08.175620.09.1817
        65Henriette  Nassau-Weilburg, PrincessHenriette Nassau-Weilburg, PrincessGrandmother22.04.178002.01.1857
        66Maria FeodorovnaMaria FeodorovnaGrandmother14.10.175924.10.1828
        67Mikhail Aleksandrovich RomanovMikhail Aleksandrovich RomanovGrandson04.12.187813.06.1918
        68Александрович МихаилАлександрович МихаилGrandson22.11.187813.06.1918
        69Кирилл ВладимировичКирилл ВладимировичGrandson12.10.187612.10.1938
        70Nikolajs II RomanovsNikolajs II RomanovsGrandson19.05.186817.07.1918
        71Всеволод  РомановВсеволод РомановGrandson20.01.191418.06.1973
        72Prince AlfredPrince AlfredGrandson15.10.187406.02.1899
        73Vladimir  PaleyVladimir PaleyGrandson09.01.189718.07.1918
        74Boris  Wladimirowitsch RomanowBoris Wladimirowitsch RomanowGrandson24.11.187709.11.1943
        75Andrei  VladimirovichAndrei VladimirovichGrandson02.05.187930.10.1956
        76Dmitri  PavlovichDmitri PavlovichGrandson06.09.189105.03.1942
        77Georg von MerenbergGeorg von MerenbergGrandson16.10.189711.01.1965
        78Empress Alexandra  FeodorovnaEmpress Alexandra FeodorovnaGranddaughter06.06.187217.07.1918
        79Grand Duchess Maria PavlovnaGrand Duchess Maria PavlovnaGranddaughter18.04.189013.12.1958
        80Великая княгиня Ксения АлександровнаВеликая княгиня Ксения АлександровнаGranddaughter06.04.187520.04.1960
        81Ольга  РомановаОльга РомановаGranddaughter13.06.188224.11.1960
        82Marie of RomaniaMarie of RomaniaGranddaughter29.10.187518.07.1938
        83Natalia PaleyNatalia PaleyGranddaughter05.12.190527.12.1981
        84Надежда  РомановаНадежда РомановаGranddaughter15.03.189821.04.1988
        85Grand Duchess Elena VladimirovnaGrand Duchess Elena VladimirovnaGranddaughter17.03.188213.03.1957
        86Frederick II Eugene Württemberg, DukeFrederick II Eugene Württemberg, DukeGreat grandfather21.01.173223.12.1797
        87Stanisław PoniatowskiStanisław PoniatowskiGreat grandfather17.01.173212.02.1798
        88Peter IIIPeter IIIGreat grandfather21.02.172817.07.1762
        89Carolina Orange-Nassau, PrincessCarolina Orange-Nassau, PrincessGreat grandmother28.02.174306.05.1787
        90Catherine the  GreatCatherine the GreatGreat grandmother02.05.172917.11.1796
        91Prince Nikita  Nikitich RomanovPrince Nikita Nikitich RomanovGreat grandson13.05.192303.05.2007
        92George BrasovGeorge BrasovGreat grandson06.08.191021.07.1931
        93Lennart  BernadotteLennart BernadotteGreat grandson08.05.190921.12.2004
        94Дмитрий  РомановДмитрий РомановGreat grandson17.05.192631.12.2016
        95George VIGeorge VIGreat grandson14.12.189506.02.1952
        96Ростислав АлександровичРостислав АлександровичGreat grandson24.11.190231.07.1978
        97Edward  VIIIEdward VIIIGreat grandson23.06.189428.05.1972
        98Prince George Duke of KentPrince George Duke of KentGreat grandson20.12.190225.08.1942
        99Князь Никита АлександровичКнязь Никита АлександровичGreat grandson16.01.190012.09.1974
        100Князь Андрей АлександровичКнязь Андрей АлександровичGreat grandson24.01.189708.05.1981
        101Prince Vasili AlexandrovichPrince Vasili AlexandrovichGreat grandson07.07.190724.06.1989
        102Vladimir  RomanovVladimir RomanovGreat grandson30.08.191721.04.1992
        103Elisabeth of  RomaniaElisabeth of RomaniaGreat grandson12.10.189414.11.1956
        104Князь Дмитрий АлександровичКнязь Дмитрий АлександровичGreat grandson15.08.190107.07.1980
        105Кира  РомановаКира РомановаGreat granddaughter09.05.190908.09.1967
        106Ольга  НиколаевнаОльга НиколаевнаGreat granddaughter15.11.189517.07.1918
        107Татьяна РомановаТатьяна РомановаGreat granddaughter10.06.189717.07.1918
        108Maria of YugoslaviaMaria of YugoslaviaGreat granddaughter06.01.190022.06.1961
        109Princess Marina  of Greece and DenmarkPrincess Marina of Greece and DenmarkGreat granddaughter13.12.190627.08.1968
        110Anastasia RomanovaAnastasia RomanovaGreat granddaughter18.06.190117.07.1918
        111Alice von BattenbergAlice von BattenbergGreat granddaughter25.02.188505.12.1969
        112Великая княжна Мария НиколаевнаВеликая княжна Мария НиколаевнаGreat granddaughter26.06.189917.07.1918
        113Irina Alexandrovna of RussiaIrina Alexandrovna of RussiaGreat granddaughter03.07.189526.02.1970
        114Princess Elizabeth of  Greece and DenmarkPrincess Elizabeth of Greece and DenmarkGreat granddaughter24.05.190411.01.1955
        115Karl Alexander August JohannKarl Alexander August JohannCousin24.06.181805.01.1901
        116Gustaw EhrenbergGustaw EhrenbergCousin14.02.181828.09.1895
        117
        Paul Alexander Karl Constantin Frederick AugustCousin25.09.180510.04.1806
        118Marie Luise AlexandrineMarie Luise AlexandrineCousin03.02.180818.01.1877
        119Анастасия МихайловнаАнастасия МихайловнаCousin28.07.186011.03.1922
        120Francis Paul Charles Louis Alexander Teck, DukeFrancis Paul Charles Louis Alexander Teck, DukeCousin28.08.183721.01.1900
        121Duke Peter  Georgievich of OldenburgDuke Peter Georgievich of OldenburgCousin, Friend26.08.181214.05.1881
        122Екатерина МихайловнаЕкатерина МихайловнаCousin16.08.182730.04.1894
        123Алексей МихайловичАлексей МихайловичCousin28.12.187502.03.1895
        124Михаил Михайлович, Великий князьМихаил Михайлович, Великий князьCousin16.10.186126.04.1929
        125Marie Luise Augusta KatharineMarie Luise Augusta KatharineCousin30.09.181107.01.1890
        126Великий князь Сергей МихайловичВеликий князь Сергей МихайловичCousin07.10.186918.07.1918
        127Тереза ОльденбургскаяТереза ОльденбургскаяCousin30.03.185219.04.1883
        128Принц Александр  ОльденбургскийПринц Александр ОльденбургскийCousin02.06.184406.09.1932
        129Grand Duke Alexander MikhailovichGrand Duke Alexander MikhailovichCousin13.04.186626.02.1933
        130Duke Constantine  Petrovich of OldenburgDuke Constantine Petrovich of OldenburgCousin09.05.185018.03.1906
        131William IIIWilliam IIICousin19.02.181723.11.1890
        132Princess LouisePrincess LouiseCousin03.12.183823.04.1923
        133Карл Шведский, герцог ВестергётландскийКарл Шведский, герцог ВестергётландскийCousin27.02.186124.10.1951

        04.09.1821 | Aleksandrs I pasludināja Amerikas daļu no Aļaskas līdz Oregonai par Krievijas ietekmes zonu un liedza Aļaskas teritoriālos ūdeņus citu valstu kuģošanai

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        16.10.1853 | Krimas karš

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        28.03.1854 | Turpinās Krimas karš. Osmaņu impērijas pusē karā iesaistās Anglija un Francija

        Krimas karu pret Osmaņu impēriju Krievija iesāka 1853. gada oktobrī. Kara iesākšanas iegansts Krievija bija "ortodoksālo kristiešu aizsardzība". Karš ilga trīs gadus, līdz 1856. gada februārim. Kara rezultātā Krievija ieguva Krimas pussalu, bet zaudēja savus iepriekšējos sabiedrotos- kopš 1815. gada Vīnes kongresa laikiem- Franciju, Lielbritāniju, Sardīniju.

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        02.03.1855 | Aleksander II Romanow został carem Rosji.

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        27.05.1856 | Krievijas imperators Aleksandrs II apmeklē Rīgu

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        07.02.1857 | Krievijas imperators Aleksandrs II izdeva rīkojumu par plašu dzelzceļa līniju būves programmu Krievijā

        Vienu no posmiem paredzēja dzelzceļa izbūvi no Orlas uz Daugavpili un tālāk caur Rīgu uz Liepāju

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        11.04.1857 | Krievijas cars Aleksandrs II apstiprina Krievijas ģērboni - divgalvaino ērgli

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        03.03.1861 | Dzimtbūšanas atcelšana Krievijā (arī Latgalē) privātmuižu zemēs

        Vidzemē un Kurzemē dzimtbūšana bija atcelta 45 gadus ātrāk

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        28.05.1861 | Krievijas imperators Aleksandrs II apstiprina nolikumu par Rīgas Politehnisko augstskolu- LU, LLU, RSU un RTU priekšteci

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        21.09.1861 | Tiek atklāta dzelzceļa līnija Rīga - Daugavpils

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        15.12.1862 | Saint Petersburg – Warsaw Railway lounched

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        22.01.1863 | The January Uprising

        The January Uprising (Polish: powstanie styczniowe, Lithuanian: 1863 m. sukilimas, Belarusian: Паўстанне 1863-1864 гадоў) was an uprising in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (present-day Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia, parts of Ukraine, and western Russia) against the Russian Empire. It began on 22 January 1863 and lasted until the last rebels were captured in 1865.

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        08.08.1863 | January Uprising: battle of Żyrzyn

        The Battle of Żyrzyn took place on August 8, 1863 in or near the village of Żyrzyn, Puławy County, Poland, between a small detachment of Russian troops and a force of Polish troops under the command of General Michal Heidenreich.

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        17.10.1863 | Romualds Trauguts kļūst par Janvāra sacelšanās rezultātā atjaunotās Polijas Diktatoru

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        02.03.1864 | Car Aleksander II wydał dekret o uwłaszczeniu chłopów w Królestwie Kongresowym.

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        30.03.1867 | United States purchases Alaska

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        30.05.1876 | Олександр ІІ підписав Емський указ з придушення української мови та культури

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        17.02.1880 | Piektais atentāts pret Krievijas imperatoru Aleksandru II

        Atentāta rezultātā bojā gāja 11, bet ievainoti tika 56 Ziemas pilī esošie cilvēki (pārsvarā apsardzes kareivji). Pats imperators necieta. Atentātu sagatavoja organizācijas Narodnaja Voļa aktīvists Stepans Halturins, kurš spridzināšanai bija sanesis vairāk kā 30 kg dinamīta. Atentāta rīkotājam izdevās izbēgt, taču pēc 2 gadiem viņu noķēra Odesā pēc atentāta prokuroram Streļņikovam. Prokuroru nogalināja, taču tika aizturēti arī abi slepkavas, kas pēc tam tika tiesāti un pakārti.

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        25.12.1881 | The Warsaw pogrom 1881

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        07.05.1904 | 40 years of prohibition of use of Latin Alphabet cancelled

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