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Alexander Ii

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ALEXANDER II, Emperor of Russia, eldest son of Emperor Nicholas Pavlovitch and Grand Duchess Alexandra Theodorovna: b. 29 April 1818; d. Saint Petersburg, 13 March 1881. After having received a careful education, under the conduct of Professors Merder and Zhukov ski, which covered especially natural sciences, statistics, law and modern languages (French, English, German and Polish), he applied his attention to practical military subjects. In order to acquaint himself with governmental machinery and affairs, Alexander, while still a youth of 17 years, was frequently present at the sessions of the Senate and the Holy Synod. His theoretical education was completed by ex tensive travels through Russia and Europe, of which he visited every country with the ex ception of France and Spain. On 16 April 1841 he wedded Princess of Darmstadt, who is known as Maria Alexandrovna, by whom he had eight children: Alexander, Nicholas, Vladi mir, Aleksey, Marie, Serge and Paul. Alex ander succeeded his father Nicholas I in '1855, before the Crimean War, which he conducted to a satisfactory close, considering the number of his enemies, on 31 March 1856, at the confer ence of Paris, by virtue of which the Black Sea was proclaimed neutral and Russia lost a part of Bessarabia. The new emperor immediately after the war set about effecting important re forms in the empire, among the first being the improvement of finances and state budget, judiciary system, city and country police and the system of popular education. The judiciary reform found expression in the publication of the ((Judiciary in 1864 by virtue of which the judicial authority was severed from the executive, administrative and legislative powers, the positions of judges became life permanent ; court of caseation, juries and nota ries public were also instituted. In the sphere of interior administration one of the most im portant is the reform combining city police with district police, in which latter a considerably larger power of administration was vested. But the greatest of all the reforms carried out by him was the emancipation of the serfs (about 23,000,000 people) by the ukase of 2 March 1861. This met with an unbounded enthusiasm of the people and was considered as a new epoch in the Russian history. His reforms in Russian Poland introduced by the imperial ukase of 26 March 1861 were also of a very liberal character, but they were not well re ceived by the Poles, who, in 1863, protested against them by several armed insurrections. The rebellions were, however, speedily quelled and the rebels severely punished by the notorious Berg and Governor-General Mura viev. Tsar Alexander also effected important reforms in the military affairs of his empire. Thus in the very beginning of his rule he sup pressed military settlements, reduced the length of service from 25 to 15 years, discontinued the humiliating corporal punishment and directed attention to the improvement of the education of the army officers, for which purpose a number of military academies were established. Al though Alexander's rule might be considered comparatively a peaceful one, it was marked by several important wars. Soon after the Crimean War (1859) he had to quell the insur rection of the Caucasians, against whom he sent General Prince Baryatinski. The imperial armies, after having won several important bat tles (at Voden, etc.), surrounded the rebels and forced their chieftain, Shamil, to surrender in September 1859. Thus the eastern Caucasus was freed and occupied and the western fell into the hands of Alexander's armies five years later, when Grand Duke Michael Nikolayvitch was appointed governor of that region. In the course of that same year the Polish insurrection and the occupation of Turkestan took place. In

the Far East, too, Alexander II effected im portant and advantageous changes without hav ing recourse to arms. But the most important event of Alexander's rule is undoubtedly the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78), for it was by that successful campaign that Russia announced to the world her Panslavistic aims and her readiness to protect the smaller Slavonic nations against foreign rule. It came as a protestation on the part of the Russian people against the refusal of the Sublime Porte to introduce re forms in the Christian regions of European Turkey which had been promised by the Otto man government and signed, in the form of a protocol by the six Great Powers in London, 25 March 1877. Simultaneously with the Rus sian declaration of war on Turkey the Serbians and Montenegrins even the Rumanians made invasions of European Turkey for the purpose of freeing their Christian co-nationalists inhabiting Macedonia, the Sandjak of Novi Bazaar and Dobrudja, respectively. Russian armies, under the supreme command of Grand Duke Michael Nikolayvitch, joined by the Serbian and Montenegrin insurgents, utterly de feated the Turks; they were stopped only at the gates of Constantinople, not by the Turkish re sistance but by British intervention and the Sultan's request for peace. The conditions of peace were agreed upon temporarily at the conference of San Stefano but were definitely settled by the Treaty of Berlin, 1878. By virtue of that treaty, which sensibly modified that of San Stefano, greatly to the disadvantage of Serbia, Bulgaria was recognized as a vassal, but fully autonomous principality, with the right of electing her own prince and maintain ing her own army, while eastern Rumelia was placed under the suzerainty of the Sultan but with complete administrative autonomy. Serbia, Montenegro and Rumania were also proclaimed and recognized as independent states. With the exception of the Delta in the Danube the whole of Bessarabia, lost to Russia in 1856, was now restored to Alexander's empire.

While the first years of Alexander's rule passed in a wholesome internal peace, the period following (from 1851) was greatly dis turbed by the revolutionary element, in the empire, which exacted from the government a national-constitutional form of administration. This movement at first was conducted by the so-called "intelligentzie (or educated classes) by means of circulars and pamphlets, but when the peasantry and craftsmen joined the college students it assumed rapidly terroristic pace and measures. Toward the end of Alexander's reign several attempts on his life were made by Nihilists, and at last he was assassinated by an explosive missile thrown at him in a street in Saint Petersburg. On the spot of his murder a magnificent church i. e., has been built, and many Rus sian cities have erected monuments to the memory of the "Tsar Liberator." The Bul garians, too, have erected in front of their princely palace in Sofia a splendid monument to Alexander.

Bibliography.— Appleton, N., 'Russian Life and Society as Seen in 1866-67' (Boston 1904) ; Ashevski, S., 'Reformy imperatora Aleksandra II) (Sovremenyi Mir, Petrograd 1917); Dzhanshiev, G. A. (Epokha Velikikh Reform' (Moscow 1900) ; Kogan, imperatora Aleksandra II) (lstoricheski Viestnik, Saint Petersburg 1913) ; Lavrova N. W., qmperator Aleksandr II i died (lstoricheski Viestnik, Petrograd 1915) ; Pfeil and Klein-Ellgrith, 'Das Ende Kaiser Alcxanders IP (Berlin 1913) ; Roux, F. C., 'Alexandre II, Gortchakoff et Napoleon III) (Paris 1913) ; Vasili, P.,