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Alexander Iii

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ALEXANDER III, Emperor of Russia, second son of Emperor Alexander II and Em press Maria: b. 10 March 1845; ascended the throne 13 March 1866 at the age of 36; d. Livadia, 1 Nov. 1894. He married Princess Dagmar, the daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark, who changed her name, at the moment of adopting Orthodox faith, to Maria Feodorovna. Alexander's education was ex ceedingly careful and austere, which potentiated his innate love for stern order and strict adher ence to everything Russian even to the purity of the Russian language. He was more in favor of French civilization than the German culture and became a powerful Slavophile. At the time of the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78) he had a brilliant opportunity to put in practice his military education, for. he participated in that campaign as the commander of the Rust chuk division, in which capacity he rendered splendid services by his shrewd tactics. After his father's violent death, he secluded himself for some time in his palace at Gatchina. For that same reason his coronation was postponed till 1883 and was celebrated with an extraordi nary magnificence and with great national festivities. Through the fall of Merv, the sub jugation of the Turkomans in central Asia was completed. In 1885 hostilities with Great Britain with regard to the defining of the frontier between the Russian territories and Afghanistan for a time seemed imminent, but Alexander succeeded in annexing to his empire a considerable stretch of land on which a rail way was constructed, uniting the centre of the Russian possession in central Asia with the Caspian Sea. In European affairs he broke away from the Triple Alliance between Russia, Germany and Austria and directed his attention to France whose friendship he wished to culti vate. He was aggrieved by the new Bulgarian spirit of ingratitude for the liberation of their country by his father Alexander II; but he •finally crushed Stambulov and his bancL With regard to home affairs Alexander III announced at the very time of his accession to the throne that he had no intention of limiting or reduc ing the autocratic power exercised by his pred ecessors; on the contrary he suppressed even the liberties which were granted by his father and his grandfather and he maintained that Nihilism and Anarchism in Russia could not be changed by democratic and parliamentary institutions but by austere principles of Ortho doxy, nationalism and, if need be, autocracy As he believed in uniformity of customs, lan guage and religion throughout his vast empire he imposed, sometimes in a cruel manner, the Russian language on his Polish, Finnish and German subjects and caused many bloody perse cutions of the Jews. If one could not call him

an absolute autocrat, one is safe in characteriz ing his rule as an iron imperialism, for he sought, more than any of his predecessors, for centralization of imperial administration which he strove to place almost wholly under his con trol. He made strong efforts to prevent mal versation by officials, hitherto corruptible to an incredible degree, and stern economies were practised. The liberties granted by his ancestors to the Baltic provinces and Finland were also curtailed. Despite the most rigid police sur veillance several Nihilist attempts were made on his life. That unfortunate Tsar was forced, throughout his reign, to keep himself practically a prisoner in his palace. Consult Andrews. 'Historical Development of Modern Europe' (Vol. II, New York 1898) ; Flourens, E., 'Alex andre III, sa vie, son (Paris 1894); Lothrop, A. S., 'The Court of Alexander III' (Philadelphia 1910) ; Lowe, C.,