Plot Summary for
Assassin of the Tsar (1991) More at IMDbPro »
Tsareubiytsa (original title)
A patient in a modern day mental institution believes that he is the man who assassinated Tsar Alexander in 1881 and Tsar Nicolas II in 1918. He and his doctor soon slip out of reality and are forced to relive the events of 1918 in order to break the spell. Written by choir boy
The Assassin of the TsarFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Assassin of the Tsar)
Jump to: navigation, search The Assassin of the Tsar
Directed by Karen Shakhnazarov
Written by Aleksandr Borodyansky
Starring Oleg Yankovsky
Music by Vladislav Shut
Studio Mosfilm (USSR)
Release date(s) 1991 (1993 in UK)
Running time 98 minutes
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian (English)
The Assassin of the Tsar (Russian: Цареубийца, Tsareubiytsa) is a 1991 Russian film. It was entered into the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. There are two versions. One is filmed in English which later was dubbed over the Russian actors, and one in Russian. Malcolm pretended to speak Russian in the other version and was later dubbed.
The Assassin of the Tsar
Directed by Karen Shakhnazarov
Written by Aleksandr Borodyansky
Starring Oleg Yankovsky
Music by Vladislav Shut
Studio Mosfilm (USSR)
Release date(s) 1991 (1993 in UK)
Running time 98 minutes
Country Soviet Union
Language Russian (English
List of films about the Romanovs 1890sYear Country Title Director Notes
1896 Russian Empire Coronation of Nicholas II Camille Cerf First film ever made in Russia.
1910sYear Country Title Director Notes
1913 Russian Empire Tryokhsotletie Tsarstvovaniya Doma Romanovykh Aleksandr Drankov English Title: Tercentenary of the Accession of the House of Romanov.
This film was released to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Romanov rule in Russia.This film was said to have the blessing of Tsar Nicholas II himself.
1917 United States The Fall of the Romanovs Herbert Brenon This was one of four films released after the abdication of Nicholas II in March 1917. One of the characters, Iliodor, enemy monk of Rasputin, played himself.
1919 Soviet Russia Pyotr i Alexei Yuri Zhelyabuzhsky English title:Peter and Alexei
Chronicled the childhood of Peter the Great, moving from the reign of his father to his own.
1920sYear Country Title Director Notes
1927 Soviet Union The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty Esfir Shub Classic compilation documentary.
1928 United States Clothes Make the Woman Tom Terriss This was the first film about Anna Anderson who pretended to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna.
1928 Germany Anastasia, Die Falsche Zarentochter Arthur Bergen This film has hastily written and produced to take advantage of the allegation that Anna Anderson was actually Fransziska Schanskowska, a missing factory worker from Poland.This allegation was made by Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and his private investigators.
1930sYear Country Title Director Notes
1932 United States Rasputin and the Empress Richard Boleslawski First sound film where all the Barrymore siblings Lionel, John, and Ethel appeared together.Prince Felix Yussupov who was living in London at the time, launched a massive lawsuit against MGM for the inaccurate portrayal of himself and his wife, Irina Alexandrovna.
1940sYear Country Title Director Notes
1940 Germany Katharina von Rußland Carl Froelich English tile: Catherine of Russia
Never completed; Only a few shots were completed before production was halted.
1950sYear Country Title Director Notes
1956 United States Anastasia Anatole Litvak Film adaptation of the play by Marcelle Maurette
1956 Germany Anastasia: Die letzte Zarentochter Falk Harnack English Title: Anastasia: The Last Tsar's Daughter
Starring Lilli Palmer as Anna Anderson/Anastasia
1960sYear Country Title Director Notes
1966 United Kingdom Rasputin, the Mad Monk Don Sharp
1970sYear Country Title Director Notes
1971 United Kingdom
United States Nicholas and Alexandra Franklin J. Schaffner Based on the book by Robert K. Massie
1977 Soviet Union Agoniya Elem Klimov Film about Rasputin.Was not released in the Soviet Union until 1981.
1974 United Kingdom Fall of Eagles John Elliot (creator) Miniseries about the fall of the Habsburg, Hohenzollern, and Romanov dynasties.
1980sYear Country Title Director Notes
1986 United States
Soviet Union Peter the Great Lawrence Schiller Television miniseries based on the book by Robert K. Massie
1986 United States
Italy Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna Marvin J. Chomsky Miniseries based on a biography of Anna Anderson by Peter Kurth
1990sYear Country Title Director Notes
1991 Soviet Union Tsareubiytsa Karen Shakhnazarov English title: Assassin of the Tsar
Film about a man who claims to be Yakov Yurovsky, the man who killed Tsar Nicholas II.
1992 Russia Last Days of the Last Tsar Anatoli Ivanov Documentary film
1996 United States
Hungary Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny Uli Edel
1997 United States Anastasia Don Bluth Animated adaptation of Anastasia (1956)
2000sYear Country Title Director Notes
2000 Russia Romanovy: Ventsenosnaya semya Gleb Panfilov English title: The Romanovs: An Imperial Family
Includes footage of the canonization of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 2000.
2002 Russia Russian Ark Alexander Sokurov Filmed in the Hermitage Museum in St.Petersburg in just one 90 minute shot.
2003 United Kingdom The Lost Prince Stephen Poliakoff Mini series about Prince John of the United Kingdom.The Romanovs appear in a few scenes.
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_films_about_the_Romanovs&oldid=543163881
The canonizations were controversial for both branches of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1981, opponents noted Nicholas II's perceived weaknesses as a ruler and felt his actions led to the resulting Bolshevik Revolution. One priest of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad noted that martyrdom in the Russian Orthodox Church has nothing to do with the martyr's personal actions but is instead related to why he or she was killed. Other critics noted that the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad appeared to be blaming Jewish revolutionaries for the deaths and equating the political assassination with a ritual murder.
There were those who rejected the family's classification as martyrs because they were not killed because of their religious faith. There was no proof that the execution was a ritual murder. Religious leaders in both churches also had objections to canonizing the Tsar's family because they perceived him as a weak emperor whose incompetence led to the revolution, the suffering of his people and made him at least partially responsible for his own murder and the murders of his wife and children. For these opponents, the fact that the Tsar was, in private life, a kind man and a good husband and father did not override his poor governance of Russia.
Yekaterinburg's "Church on the Blood," built on the spot where Nicholas II and his family were murdered in 1918.
Church of St. Nicholas II at the Romanov Monastery near the site where the Romanovs' remains were found at Ganina Yama.
An official portrait of the Romanov family in 1913.The Moscow Patriarchate ultimately canonized the family as passion bearers: people who face death with resignation, in a Christ-like manner, as distinguished from martyrs, the latter killed explicitly for their faith. Proponents cited previous Tsars and Tsareviches who had been canonized as passion bearers, such as Tsarevich Dimitri, murdered at the end of the sixteenth century, as setting a precedent for the canonization of the Romanov family. They noted the piety of the family and reports that the Tsarina and her eldest daughter Olga prayed and attempted to make the sign of the cross immediately before they died.
Despite their official designation as "passion-bearers" by the August 2000 Council, they are nevertheless spoken of as "martyrs" in Church publications, icons, and in popular veneration by the people.
The bodies of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, and three of their daughters were finally interred at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg on 17 July 1998, eighty years after they were murdered. The bodies of Alexei and one of his sisters were at the time missing. On 23 August 2007, a Russian archaeologist announced the discovery of two burned, partial skeletons at a bonfire site at Ganina Yama near Yekaterinburg that appeared to match the site described in assassin Yakov Yurovsky's memoirs. The archaeologists said the bones are from a boy who was roughly between the ages of ten and thirteen years at the time of his death and of a young woman who was roughly between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three years old. Anastasia was seventeen years, one month old at the time of the assassination, while her sister Maria was nineteen years, one month old and her brother Alexei was two weeks shy of his fourteenth birthday. Anastasia's elder sisters Olga and Tatiana were twenty-two and twenty-one years old at the time of the assassination. Along with the remains of the two bodies, archaeologists found "shards of a container of sulfuric acid, nails, metal strips from a wooden box, and bullets of various caliber." The bones were found using metal detectors and metal rods as probes.
Preliminary testing indicated a "high degree of probability" that the remains belong to the Tsarevich Alexei and to one of his sisters, Russian forensic scientists announced on 22 January 2008. The Yekaterinburg region's chief forensic expert Nikolai Nevolin indicated the results would be compared against those obtained by foreign experts. On April 30, 2008, Russian forensic scientists announced that DNA testing proves that the remains belong to the Tsarevich Alexei and to one of his sisters. With this result, all of the Tsar's family are accounted for.
Since the late 20th century, believers have attributed healing from illnesses or conversion to the Orthodox Church to their prayers to Maria and Alexei, as well as to the rest of the family.
Notes1.^ a b Massie, Robert K., The Romanovs: The Final Chapter, Random House, ISBN 394-58048-6, 1995, pp. 134-135
2.^ King, Greg, and Wilson, Penny, The Fate of the Romanovs, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., p. 495
3.^ Patriarch Aleksy Visited the Place Where the Remains of the Royal Martyrs had been Burned, Yekaterinburg, September 23, 2000, Pravoslavie.ru
4.^ GROUNDS FOR CANONIZATION OF THE TSAR FAMILY EXCERPTS FROM THE REPORT OF METROPOLITAN OF KRUTITSA AND KOLOMNA JUVENALY (Posted originally on the official web site of the Moscow Patriarchate)
5.^ Shevchenko, Maxim (2000). "The Glorification of the Royal Family". Nezavisemaya Gazeta. Retrieved December 10, 2006.
6.^ Gutterman, Steve (2007). "Remains of czar heir may have been found". "Associated Press". Retrieved August 24, 2007. [dead link]
7.^ Interfax (2008). "Suspected remains of tsar's children still being studied". "Interfax". Retrieved January 23, 2008.
8.^ RIA Novosti (2008). "Remains found in Urals likely belong to Tsar's children". "RIA Novosti". Retrieved January 23, 2008.
9.^ Eckel, Mike (2008). "DNA confirms IDs of czar's children". yahoo.com. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
10.^ Serfes, Demetrios (2000). "Miracle of the Child Martyr Grand Duchess Maria". The Royal Martyrs of Russia. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
11.^ Serfes, Demetrios (2000). "A Miracle Through the Prayers of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarevich Alexis". The Royal Martyrs of Russia. Retrieved February 25, 2007.
Alexander II of RussiaFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alexander II photo by Sergei Lvovich Levitsky, 1870.(The Di Rocco Wieler Private Collection, Toronto, Canada)
Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias
Reign 2 March 1855 – 13 March 1881
Coronation 7 September 1855
Predecessor Nicholas I
Successor Alexander III
Consort Marie of Hesse and by Rhine
Grand Duchess Alexandra Alexandrovna
Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich
Alexander III of Russia
Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich
Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich
Maria, Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich
Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich
Alexander Nikolaevich Romanov
House House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov
Father Nicholas I of Russia
Mother Alexandra Fyodorovna (Charlotte of Prussia)
Born (1818-04-29)29 April 1818
Moscow Kremlin, Moscow, Russian Empire
Died 13 March 1881(1881-03-13) (aged 62)
Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
Burial Peter and Paul Cathedral
Religion Russian Orthodox
Alexander II of Russia (Russian: Александр II Николаевич, Aleksandr II Nikolaevich) (29 April [O.S. 17 April] 1818 in Moscow – 13 March [O.S. 1 March] 1881 in Saint Petersburg) 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. His most important achievement was the emancipation of serfs in 1861, for which he became known as Alexander the Liberator (Russian: Александр Освободитель, Aleksandr Osvoboditel').
1 Early life
3 Emancipation of the serfs
4 Other reforms
5 Marriages and children
6 Morganatic Marriage
7 Suppression of separatist movements
8 Encouraging Finnish nationalism
9 Rule during the Russian-Caucasian War
10 Liberation of Bulgaria
11 Assassination attempts
14 Alexander II's dog, Milord
15 In fiction
16 In nonfiction
17 Titles, Styles and Arms
17.1 Titles and styles
19 See also
22 Further reading
23 External links
Alexander II as a boy. (George Dawe,1827)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.
ReignAlexander 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 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.
Painting by Mihály Zichy of the coronation of Emperor Alexander II and the Empress Maria Alexandrovna, which took place on 26 August/7 September 1856 at the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. The painting depicts the moment of the coronation in which the Emperor crowns his EmpressAfter 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 serfsMain article: Emancipation reform of 1861
This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2011)
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 reformsIn response to the overwhelming defeat (1856) suffered by Russia in the Crimean War, and to an awareness of military advances implemented in other European countries, the Russian government reorganized the army and navy and re-armed them. The changes included universal military conscription, introduced on 1 January 1874. Now sons of all the "estates", rich and poor, had to serve in the military. Other military reforms involved setting up an army reserve and the military district system (still in use a century later), the building of strategic railways, and an emphasis on the military education of the officer corps. Corporal punishment in the military and branding of soldiers as punishment were banned.
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.
Marriages and children Wikisource has original text related to this article:
An intimate glimpse into the family life of Alexander II (1871)
Emperor Alexander II and his wife, Empress Maria, with their son, the future Alexander III by Sergei Lvovich Levitsky 1870During 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 (Maria Feodorovna), had issue
Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich (22 April 1847 – 17 February 1909), married 1874, Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (Maria Pavlovna), 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 (29 April 1857 – 4 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
Tsar Alexander II. photo by Sergei Lvovich Levitsky 1881. (The Di Rocco Wieler Private Collection, Toronto, Canada)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 on 8 June, 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 1874 – 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).
Suppression of separatist movementsAt the beginning of his reign, Alexander expressed the famous statement "No dreams" addressed to the Poles who inhabited Congress Poland, Western Ukraine, Lithuania, Livonia and Belarus. 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
The monument to Alexander II "The Liberator" at the Senate Square in Helsinki was erected in 1894, 13 years after the assassination of Alexander II. At the time, Finland was still a Russian grand duchy. The date "1863" refers to the reopening of the Diet of Finland. This monument, expressing the Finns' gratitude to this Emperor, survived unharmed through many later periods of tension and war with Russia under various of its later regimes.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 Russian-Caucasian WarIt was during Alexander II's rule that the Russian-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 mountaineers in what would be often referred to as "cleansing" in several historic dialogues.
Liberation of BulgariaIn 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 of 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, in the beginning of 1877 Emperor Alexander II started diplomatic preparation with the other Great Powers to secure their neutrality in case there would be war between Russia and the Ottomans. Alexander II considered such agreements paramount to evade the possibility of putting his country in a second disaster, similar to the Crimean War. The Russian Emperor was successful in his diplomatic endeavor. Having secured the non-involvement from the part of the other Great Powers, on 17 April 1877 Russia declared war upon the Ottoman Empire. The Russians were successful and the Russo-Ottoman war of 1877-1878 ended with the signing of the preliminary peace treaty of San-Stefano on 19 February (3 March new style) 1878. The treaty secured the emergence of an independent Bulgarian state for the first time since 1396. 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 of Alexander II was erected in 1907 in Sofia at "National Assembly" square, opposite to the building of the Parliament. The monument underwent full maintenance 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".
Assassination attemptsIn 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.
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 storey below. Being late for dinner, the emperor was unharmed; although 11 other people were killed and 30 wounded.
The assassination of Alexander II. Drawing by G. Broling 1881Main articles: Narodnaya Volya and Pervomartovtsi
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 sidewalks 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, Ignaty Grinevitsky, 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 Extreme Unction. 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.
AftermathAlexander 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 coronation 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 murder and subsequent 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.
Alexander II and his dog Milord 1870 by Sergei Lvovich Levitsky (The Di Rocco Wieler Private Collection, Toronto, Canada)Alexander II's dog, MilordA 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.
Milord was given to emperor Alexander by a Polish landowner, and was said not to be pure bred. Evidently that fact did not upset Alexander, as it was said that he never parted from the dog – not even for a second.
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.
The personal doctor of the emperor Alexander II supposedly also owned an Irish Setter, and when she had a litter, one puppy was given to Russian author Leo Tolstoy – who raised the dog at his estate, Yasnaya Polyana.
Portrait of Alexander IIAlexander 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." 
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.
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[which?] in Russia – as published in the British press of the time – clearly[original research?] influenced Wilde.
In nonfictionMark 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.” Alexander succeeded to the throne at age 36, following the death of his father in February 1855, at the height of the Crimean War. The war had revealed Russia’s glaring backwardness in comparison with more advanced nations like England and France. Russian defeats, which had set the seal of final discredit on the oppressive regime of Nicholas I, had provoked among Russia’s educated elite a general desire for drastic change. It was under the impact of this widespread urge that the tsar embarked upon a series of reforms designed, through “modernization,” to bring Russia into line with the more advanced Western countries. Among the earliest concerns of the new emperor (once peace had been concluded in Paris in the spring of 1856 on terms considered harsh by the Russian public) was the improvement of communications. Russia at this time had only one railway line of significance, that linking the two capitals of St. Petersburg and Moscow. At Alexander’s accession there were fewer than 600 miles (965 km) of track; when he died in 1881, some 14,000 miles (22,525 km) of railway were in operation. In Russia, as elsewhere, railway construction, in its turn, meant a general quickening of economic life in a hitherto predominantly feudal agricultural society. Joint-stock companies developed, as did banking and credit institutions. The movement of grain, Russia’s major article of export, was facilitated. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/14059/Alexander-II/230/Life The same effect was achieved by another measure of modernization, the abolition of serfdom. In the face of bitter opposition from landowning interests, Alexander II, overcoming his natural indolence, took an active personal part in the arduous legislative labours that on Febuary 19, 1861, culminated in the Emancipation Act. By a stroke of the autocrat’s pen, tens of millions of human chattels were given their personal freedom. By means of a long-drawn-out redemption operation, moreover, they were also endowed with modest allotments of land. Although for a variety of reasons the reform failed in its ultimate object of creating an economically viable class of peasant proprietors, its psychological impact was immense. It has been described as “the greatest social movement since the French Revolution” and constituted a major step in the freeing of labour in Russia. Yet at the same time, it helped to undermine the already shaken economic foundations of Russia’s landowning class. The abolition of serfdom brought in its train a drastic overhaul of some of Russia’s archaic administrative institutions. The most crying abuses of the old judicial system were remedied by the judicial statute of 1864. Russia, for the first time, was given a judicial system that in important respects could stand comparison with those of Western countries (in fact, in many particulars it followed that of France). Local government in its turn was remodeled by the statute of 1864, setting up elective local assemblies known as zemstvos. Their gradual introduction extended the area of self-government, improved local welfare (education, hygiene, medical care, local crafts, agronomy), and brought the first rays of enlightenment to the benighted Russian villages. Before long zemstvo village schools powerfully supported the spread of rural literacy. Meanwhile, Dmitry Milyutin, an enlightened minister of war, was carrying out an extensive series of reforms affecting nearly every branch of the Russian military organization. The educative role of military service was underlined by a marked improvement of military schools. The army statute of 1874 introduced conscription for the first time, making young men of all classes liable to military service. The keynote of these reforms—and there were many lesser ones affecting various aspects of Russian life—was the modernization of Russia, its release from feudalism, and acceptance of Western culture and technology. Their aim and results were the reduction of class privilege, humanitarian progress, and economic development. Moreover, Alexander, from the moment of his accession, had instituted a political “thaw.” Political prisoners had been released and Siberian exiles allowed to return. The personally tolerant emperor had removed or mitigated the heavy disabilities weighing on religious minorities, particularly Jews and sectarians. Restrictions on foreign travel had been lifted. Barbarous medieval punishments were abolished. The severity of Russian rule in Poland was relaxed. Yet, notwithstanding these measures, it would be wrong, as is sometimes done, to describe Alexander II as a liberal. He was in fact a firm upholder of autocratic principles, sincerely convinced both of his duty to maintain the God-given autocratic power he had inherited and of Russia’s unreadiness for constitutional or representative government. Practical experience only strengthened these convictions. Thus, the relaxation of Russian rule in Poland led to patriotic street demonstrations, attempted assassinations, and, finally, in 1863, to a national uprising that was only suppressed with some difficulty—and under threat of Western intervention on behalf of the Poles. Even more serious, from the tsar’s point of view, was the spread of nihilistic doctrines among Russian youth, producing radical leaflets, secret societies, and the beginnings of a revolutionary movement. The government, after 1862, had reacted increasingly with repressive police measures. A climax was reached in the spring of 1866, when Dmitry Karakozov, a young revolutionary, attempted to kill the emperor. Alexander—who bore himself gallantly in the face of great danger—escaped almost by a miracle. The attempt, however, left its mark by completing his conversion to conservatism. For the next eight years, the tsar’s leading minister—maintaining his influence at least in part by frightening his master with real and imaginary dangers—was Pyotr Shuvalov, the head of the secret police. Contribute to This Article 1 Share 0 Share CitationsPrintEmailAlexander IIArticle Free Pass IntroductionLifeAssessmentRelated Related People Related Places Related Topics Websites Contributors & Bibliography Contributors History Bibliography Life Table of Contents Introduction Life Assessment Related Related PeopleRelated PlacesRelated TopicsWebsites Contributors & Bibliography ContributorsHistoryBibliographyThe future Tsar Alexander II was the eldest son of the grand duke Nikolay Pavlovich (who, in 1825, became the emperor Nicholas I) and his wife, Alexandra Fyodorovna (who, before her marriage to the Grand Duke and baptism into the Orthodox Church, had been the princess Charlotte of Prussia). Alexander’s youth and early manhood were overshadowed by the overpowering personality of his dominating father, from whose authoritarian principles of government he was never to free himself. But at the same time, at the instigation of his mother, responsibility for the boy’s moral and intellectual development was entrusted to the poet Vasily Zhukovsky, a humanitarian liberal and romantic. Alexander, a rather lazy boy of average intelligence, retained throughout his life traces of his old tutor’s romantic sensibility. The tensions created by the conflicting influences of Nicholas I and Zhukovsky left their mark on the future emperor’s personality. Alexander II, like his uncle Alexander I before him (who was educated by a Swiss republican tutor, a follower of Rousseau), was to turn into a “liberalizing,” or at any rate humanitarian, autocrat. Images Videos Alexander succeeded to the throne at age 36, following the death of his father in February 1855, at the height of the Crimean War. The war had revealed Russia’s glaring backwardness in comparison with more advanced nations like England and France. Russian defeats, which had set the seal of final discredit on the oppressive regime of Nicholas I, had provoked among Russia’s educated elite a general desire for drastic change. It was under the impact of this widespread urge that the tsar embarked upon a series of reforms designed, through “modernization,” to bring Russia into line with the more advanced Western countries. Among the earliest concerns of the new emperor (once peace had been concluded in Paris in the spring of 1856 on terms considered harsh by the Russian public) was the improvement of communications. Russia at this time had only one railway line of significance, that linking the two capitals of St. Petersburg and Moscow. At Alexander’s accession there were fewer than 600 miles (965 km) of track; when he died in 1881, some 14,000 miles (22,525 km) of railway were in operation. In Russia, as elsewhere, railway construction, in its turn, meant a general quickening of economic life in a hitherto predominantly feudal agricultural society. Joint-stock companies developed, as did banking and credit institutions. The movement of grain, Russia’s major article of export, was facilitated. The same effect was achieved by another measure of modernization, the abolition of serfdom. In the face of bitter opposition from landowning interests, Alexander II, overcoming his natural indolence, took an active personal part in the arduous legislative labours that on Febuary 19, 1861, culminated in the Emancipation Act. By a stroke of the autocrat’s pen, tens of millions of human chattels were given their personal freedom. By means of a long-drawn-out redemption operation, moreover, they were also endowed with modest allotments of land. Although for a variety of reasons the reform failed in its ultimate object of creating an economically viable class of peasant proprietors, its psychological impact was immense. It has been described as “the greatest social movement since the French Revolution” and constituted a major step in the freeing of labour in Russia. Yet at the same time, it helped to undermine the already shaken economic foundations of Russia’s landowning class. The abolition of serfdom brought in its train a drastic overhaul of some of Russia’s archaic administrative institutions. The most crying abuses of the old judicial system were remedied by the judicial statute of 1864. Russia, for the first time, was given a judicial system that in important respects could stand comparison with those of Western countries (in fact, in many particulars it followed that of France). Local government in its turn was remodeled by the statute of 1864, setting up elective local assemblies known as zemstvos. Their gradual introduction extended the area of self-government, improved local welfare (education, hygiene, medical care, local crafts, agronomy), and brought the first rays of enlightenment to the benighted Russian villages. Before long zemstvo village schools powerfully supported the spread of rural literacy. Meanwhile, Dmitry Milyutin, an enlightened minister of war, was carrying out an extensive series of reforms affecting nearly every branch of the Russian military organization. The educative role of military service was underlined by a marked improvement of military schools. The army statute of 1874 introduced conscription for the first time, making young men of all classes liable to military service. People Places Topics Aleksey Fyodorovich, Prince Orlov (Russian prince) Iakov Ivanovich Rostovtsev (Russian count) Moscow (Russia) Russia anarchism army conscription (military service) Emancipation Manifesto (Russia ) emperor (title) foreign policy (political science) government head of state imperialism (political science) January Insurrection (Polish history) judiciary (government) labour (economics) land reform (agricultural economics) law (society) monarchy (government) Narodnaya Volya (Russian revolutionary organization) Romanov Dynasty (Russian dynasty) serfdom tsar (title) zemstvo (Russian government) The keynote of these reforms—and there were many lesser ones affecting various aspects of Russian life—was the modernization of Russia, its release from feudalism, and acceptance of Western culture and technology. Their aim and results were the reduction of class privilege, humanitarian progress, and economic development. Moreover, Alexander, from the moment of his accession, had instituted a political “thaw.” Political prisoners had been released and Siberian exiles allowed to return. The personally tolerant emperor had removed or mitigated the heavy disabilities weighing on religious minorities, particularly Jews and sectarians. Restrictions on foreign travel had been lifted. Barbarous medieval punishments were abolished. The severity of Russian rule in Poland was relaxed. Yet, notwithstanding these measures, it would be wrong, as is sometimes done, to describe Alexander II as a liberal. He was in fact a firm upholder of autocratic principles, sincerely convinced both of his duty to maintain the God-given autocratic power he had inherited and of Russia’s unreadiness for constitutional or representative government. Practical experience only strengthened these convictions. Thus, the relaxation of Russian rule in Poland led to patriotic street demonstrations, attempted assassinations, and, finally, in 1863, to a national uprising that was only suppressed with some difficulty—and under threat of Western intervention on behalf of the Poles. Even more serious, from the tsar’s point of view, was the spread of nihilistic doctrines among Russian youth, producing radical leaflets, secret societies, and the beginnings of a revolutionary movement. The government, after 1862, had reacted increasingly with repressive police measures. A climax was reached in the spring of 1866, when Dmitry Karakozov, a young revolutionary, attempted to kill the emperor. Alexander—who bore himself gallantly in the face of great danger—escaped almost by a miracle. The attempt, however, left its mark by completing his conversion to conservatism. For the next eight years, the tsar’s leading minister—maintaining his influence at least in part by frightening his master with real and imaginary dangers—was Pyotr Shuvalov, the head of the secret police. The period of reaction following Karakozov’s attempt coincided with a turning point in Alexander’s personal life, the beginning of his liaison with Princess Yekaterina Dolgorukaya, a young girl to whom the aging emperor had become passionately attached. The affair, which it was impossible to conceal, absorbed the tsar’s energies while weakening his authority both in his own family circle (his wife, the former princess Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt, had borne him six sons and two daughters) and in St. Petersburg society. His sense of guilt, moreover, made him vulnerable to the pressures of the Pan-Slav nationalists, who used the ailing and bigoted empress as their advocate when in 1876 Serbia became involved in war with the Ottoman Empire. Although decidedly a man of peace, Alexander became the reluctant champion of the oppressed Slav peoples and in 1877 finally declared war on Turkey. Following initial setbacks, Russian arms eventually triumphed, and, early in 1878, the vanguard of the Russian armies stood encamped on the shores of the Sea of Marmara. The prime reward of Russian victory—seriously reduced by the European powers at the Congress of Berlin—was the independence of Bulgaria from Turkey. Appropriately, that country still honours Alexander II among its “founding fathers” with a statue in the heart of its capital, Sofia. Comparative military failure in 1877, aggravated by comparative diplomatic failure at the conference table, ushered in a major crisis in the Russian state. Beginning in 1879, there was a resurgence of revolutionary terrorism soon concentrated on the person of the tsar himself. Following unsuccessful attempts to shoot him, to derail his train, and finally to blow up the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg itself, Alexander, who under personal attack had shown unflinching courage based on a fatalist philosophy, entrusted supreme power to a temporary dictator. The minister of the interior, Count Mikhail Loris-Melikov, was charged with exterminating the terrorist organization (calling itself People’s Will) while at the same time conciliating moderate opinion, which had become alienated by the repressive policies pursued since 1866. At the same time, following the death of the empress in 1880, the tsar had privately married Yekaterina Dolgorukaya (who had borne him three children) and was planning to proclaim her his consort. To make this step palatable to the Russian public, he intended to couple the announcement with a modest concession to constitutionalist aspirations. There were to be two legislative commissions including indirectly elected representatives. This so-called Loris-Melikov Constitution, if implemented, might possibly have become the germ of constitutional development in Russia. But on the day when, after much hesitation, the tsar finally signed the proclamation announcing his intentions (March 1, 1881), he was mortally wounded by bombs in a plot sponsored by People’s Will. It can be said that he was a great historical figure without being a great man, that what he did was more important than what he was. His Great Reforms indeed rank in importance with those of Peter the Great and Vladimir Lenin, yet the impact of his personality was much inferior to theirs. The tsar’s place in history—a substantial one—is due almost entirely to his position as the absolute ruler of a vast empire at a critical stage in its development. The modernization of Russian institutions, though piecemeal, was extensive. In Alexander’s reign, Russia built the base needed for emergence into capitalism and industrialization later in the century. At the same time, Russian expansion, especially in Asia, steadily gathered momentum. The sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867 was outweighed in importance by the acquisition of the Maritime Province from China (1858 and 1860) and the founding of Vladivostok as Russia’s far eastern capital (1860), the definitive subjugation of the Caucasus (in the 1860s), and the conquest of central Asia (Khiva, Bokhara, Turkestan) in the 1870s. The contribution of the reign to the development of what was to be described as Russia’s “cotton imperialism” was immense. Here also, the reign of Alexander paved the way for the later phases of Russian imperialism in Asia. Alexander’s importance lies chiefly in his efforts to assist Russia’s emergence from the past. To some extent, he was, of course, the representative of forces—intellectual, economic, and political—that were stronger than himself or, indeed, any single individual. After the Crimean War, the modernization of Russia had indeed become imperative if Russia was to retain its position as a major European power. But even within the context of a wider movement, the role of Alexander II, through his position as autocratic ruler, was a highly important one. The Great Reforms, both in what they achieved and in what they failed to do, bear the imprint of his personality. Unfortunately, however, by placing great power in the hands of the influential reactionary minister K.P. Pobedonostsev—whom he appointed minister for church affairs (procurator of the Holy Synod) and entrusted with the education of his son and heir, the future Alexander III—Alexander II, perhaps unwittingly, did much to frustrate his own reforming policies and to set Russia finally on the road to revolution.