This article will be voluminous, but interesting. We will tell you about the greatness of the Russian Empire in a way that is not in textbooks and history books. For those who did not know, the founders of our company are born and educated Russians. We will tell you only the most interesting and important things, so that you familiarize yourself with the most important aspects. Let us dive into the world of history and find out the real secrets and events of one of the greatest eras of history.
About the Empire
The Russian Empire was founded on October 22, 1721, if we use the old calendar, or on November 2, 1721, according to our new calendar. On that day Peter the Great took the title of All-Russian Emperor and declared Russia an empire. The Russian Empire had its first capital, namely St. Petersburg. This event became extremely important in the history of the empire. But it could come true only thanks to Russia’s victory in the Northern War, which closed the country in the Baltic region and opened access to ice-free seaports. The war between Russia and Sweden lasted 20 years and was a war for empire. Before Russia’s victory, there was only one empire in the entire world – the Holy Roman Empire.
The solemn proclamation of Russia as an empire was made quite quickly and humbly. In the Trinity Cathedral of St. Petersburg, where a member of the Senate conferred the title of Emperor on Peter. Peter made a short speech and a new state was born.
After becoming emperor, Peter took an example from the continent he liked so much, and tried to rule in a European way. He did not want Russia to inherit the fallen Byzantine Empire. He tried to do everything possible to ensure that Russia did not repeat the mistakes of the previous example.
Territory and Population of the Russian Empire
Before we go into the origins and history of the Russian Empire, we should look at its territory and population. To understand where the story goes next, you need a little general knowledge.
Let’s note the fact that when the Russian Empire was founded, it still included many territories.
It was thanks to Peter that all this could come true. He was creating a new story. And he managed to create a history that brought Russia back into the ranks of the leading world powers and made it one of the greatest powers.
It was the second largest empire in the world at the time of its formation, after the British Empire, with a territory of 21.8 million square kilometers. The first laws passed divided the Empire into 8 provinces, each governed by a governor who had full power in the assigned territory.
A messenger sent to all corners of the Russian Empire to report the death of one of its rulers arrived in Kamchatka 3 months after he was sent! This was despite the fact that the messenger had traveled almost 200 km per day. At the end of the 18th century, the Russian Empire was the largest country in the world by land area.
At the time of the collapse of the empire, its territory consisted of 78 provinces.
Russia was also the most populous country. The population of the Russian Empire was approximately 40 million in 1800. Already at the end of the 19th century, there were 16 million people on the territory of Russia.
In terms of the form of government, the Russian Empire was autocratic. Only one person, the emperor, held power. Peter was the first to establish in the laws of the empire the unlimited wealth of the monarch, which ensured autocracy. In addition, he simultaneously ruled the church and the state.
After the end of Peter’s reign, the autocracy began to end. This occurred due to the fact that Peter issued a decree that only the current ruler could choose his successor to the throne. After his reign, the tradition of inheriting the throne from father to son was reestablished.
The Russian Empire existed from 1721 to 1917, which is 196 years. Almost two centuries of development and important events. If we go into all the details, then a year will not be enough for us, which is interesting and detailed to tell about each year. Now we can proceed to meet the leaders of the Russian Empire.
1721-1725 Peter the First
It is impossible not to mention Peter the Great separately, for without him there would be neither an article nor the Empire. So we will go thoroughly on this one.
Peter I went down in history as the greatest reformer. During his reign, the country underwent dramatic changes. He not only carried out reforms, but changed the foundations of life. For Peter, there were no unsolvable problems, he solved any problems radically. Being an energetic and hardworking man himself, Peter expected the same from all the people of the country entrusted to him.
Until now, disputes regarding the assessment of his actions do not cease. Some are confident that all his actions were aimed at solving military problems, this also applies to internal transformations. All reforms only helped to find funds for maintaining the army and waging wars.
Others say that Tsar Peter broke the Russian identity. It is no secret that from his youth Peter was fond of European culture. The invitation of foreign experts, the introduction of European fashion, the fight against beards: all this did not pass without leaving a trace for Russian culture. The changes have affected not only the upper strata of society, they have affected everyone.
Still others literally idolize Peter I, believing that everything he did is worthy of veneration. They believed that everything he did had a positive impact on the country. He promoted the development of manufactories, on his instructions, his own natural resources were found and their import stopped, Peter created a powerful army and navy. All this put Russia on a par with other great powers of that era.
The assessment of the events of the past past can be given in different ways. But it is more important for us to familiarize ourselves with the facts and influence of the actions of the emperors on the history of the country.
On June 9, 1672, Peter was born into the royal family. He was the son of the second marriage of Alexei Mikhailovich, in seniority there were 2 more contenders for the throne. The first heir was the elder brother from his first marriage, Fedor, the boy turned out to be physically unwell, and there were always many doctors around him. The second heir, Ivan, turned out to be weak in mind, he would never have been able to rule on his own, these circumstances determined the fate of the future monarch.
His teaching began when little Peter was not even 5 years old. The boy showed extraordinary abilities, books captivated him, especially history, geography and military affairs. In 1676, his father died, and the care of his brother fell on the shoulders of Fyodor.
Fedor was not destined to rule for a long time, in 1682 he died. Given Ivan’s mental weakness, Peter was elevated to the throne. The relatives of the father’s first wife did not accept this and staged a riot. In front of ten-year-old Peter, people close to him were killed, this left a huge scar on the soul of the future emperor.
As a result of the riot, a compromise was still found, there were as many as 2 tsars in the country: Peter and Ivan. In the View of the infancy of the tsars, the elder sister Sofia Alekseevna was appointed regent. Since then, Peter and his mother spend almost all their time in the Preobrazhensky and Izmailovsky estates.
Young Peter is passionate about his hobbies. He creates a funny regiment of children of the same age. Real battles were played out on the fields, whole barns were filled with pawns and other military ammunition. The boys grew up, and comic fights developed into serious training.
He was always interested in making something with his own hands. Peter always loved physical labor, even in entertainment he preferred those where he himself could become an active participant. That is why he did not like theater, where the spectator was assigned the passive role of a contemplator.
Ships became another hobby. He found an old bot near Izmailovo, but did not know how to fix it. Searches for information about shipbuilding and navigation led him to the German settlement. Since then, the German settlement has become a special place for him.
At the age of 17, his mother decided it was time for him to get married. There were good reasons for that. Sotsarevich Ivan was already married, and Peter’s children needed to obtain the right of succession to the throne, moreover, after the wedding, the man was considered an adult, therefore, Peter could independently take the throne, without the regent.
The mother chose Evdokia Lopukhina as the bride. The girl was pretty, but did not fit at all in temperament, so Peter soon returned to his former life, practically abandoning his wife.
Meanwhile, relations with the Moscow court are escalating. Peter begins to openly express dissatisfaction with some of Sophia’s actions. In August 1689, rumors reached Preobrazhenskoe that the archers were preparing to attack. Peter ran out of the house at night, what he was in, panic haunted him. While the king was vainly trying to hear the sound of horse hooves, they brought him clothes and brought a horse.
The Tsar decided that he could find shelter in the Trinity-Sergius Monastery, where he went, accompanied by three of his soldiers. His behavior was a reflection of the past rifle revolt. But this was the only time when he thought only of himself, leaving his mother, wife, and all his amusing shelves Peter begged the archimandrite to protect his life.
In the morning, mother and all his shelves arrived. There was no riot, everything turned out to be just rumors, but this whole situation was the impetus for the beginning of decisive action. Peter takes the reign into his own hands, and sends his sister to the Novodevichy Convent.
Peter was an active person, but so far he did not want to change his old way of life, so he entrusted the reign to his mother and uncle, Lev Naryshkin. Tsarevich Ivan remained in the same place, his name appeared on all documents, he sat at receptions and participated in all solemn events until his death in 1696.
In 1694, Peter’s beloved mother died. His absence from the funeral caused a lot of gossip, but the reason was hidden much deeper. Peter was always afraid to show people his weakness, and clearly knew that at his mother’s funeral he would not be able to restrain himself. He went to mourn the loss of his mother in splendid isolation the next day.
For about a year the tsar performed only ceremonial functions, continuing to be in amusement. The country was ruled by confidants, and Peter himself did not delve into state affairs.
The country went to the new monarch in a state of crisis. Problems were brewing both in the social and economic spheres. However, the first independent steps in the reign of Peter completely stemmed from his youthful hobbies.
In the fall of 1695, a decree was issued on the construction of a regular Russian fleet. From 1697 to 1698, Peter I traveled across Europe as part of the Grand Embassy. He tried as best he could, tried not to stand out and remain incognito, but he did not succeed well. High growth quickly attracted his attention, in addition, acquaintances from the German settlement often met.
What he did
Peter I left a bright mark on the history of Russia. His temperament also greatly influenced the style of government. He is used to solving tasks quickly and getting his way. Ego irrepressible energy has affected all areas of activity. There are few places where you can find a king who would not hesitate to work with his hands.
Peter’s internal policy largely met the needs of the time. Finally, the long-obsolete Boyar Duma was liquidated, and order was restored in the ministries. The policy of protectionism was the impetus for the development of local production.
The creation of a strong army showed the strength of the Russian empire. Peter was the first ruler in Russia who got access to the sea and created a military fleet. With these forces, he defeated the strongest army in the world and won a victory in naval battles with Sweden.
His attitude to the common people remains controversial. On the one hand, replacing the household tax with a poll tax seems fair. At the same time, he calmly ascribes entire villages to factories, not caring about the fate of the peasants. The emperor simply does not think about the fate of individual people, believing that if he strives to exalt the country, the entire population goes with him in a single impulse.
Peter I is a great man and a great sovereign. His actions did not always give the desired result, but he easily learned from mistakes and corrected his actions. Such people are rarely born, but they know how to lead and change the world forever.
1725-1762 The era of the Palace coups
This period of time was called “the era of palace coups”.
In order not to overload you with a lot of information, let me present you with a table with the most significant events of this time.
1762-1796 Catherine II the Great
Catherine the Great devoted herself entirely to serving the Fatherland and her people. Her entire reign was reduced to the interests of the state, its development and prosperity. During her reign, Russia acquired the status of a great European power. Development of Russia in the middle of the reign of Catherine II
Catherine was a progressive person throughout her reign. In the middle of her reign, she carried out administrative and judicial reform. Thanks to the annexation of Crimea, the ruler expanded the borders of the state. During her reign, the population also increased. Thanks to all these factors, Russia had the right to be called the largest camp in Europe.
The borders of the Empire expanded significantly, as did its population. Thanks to Catherine, Russia was able to become the largest country in Europe. But, despite such significant progress in the development of Russia, the country was still agrarian. Russian industry lagged significantly behind the West, since the domestic industry was still patriarchal and serfdom.
Internal politics of the Empress
When characterizing the domestic policy of Catherine II, historians use the term “enlightened absolutism.” Fascinated by the works of famous philosophers of that time, she tried to implement some of the ideas of the Enlightenment. So the empress strengthened the autocracy and strengthened the bureaucratic apparatus. Despite the fact that she was an adherent of the ideas of Diderot and Voltaire, in life she embodied completely different principles. Under her, the deterioration of the position of serfs did not stop, but only intensified, in addition, class inequality grew in the country.
Catherine II created the Legislative Commission, whose task was to create a new legislative framework. At its first meetings, the title for the Empress was chosen, which is forever preserved in history – Catherine the Great. She also carried out a provincial reform, according to which a new administrative division was established, which subsequently led to a significant increase in the cost of maintaining the bureaucratic apparatus. Under Catherine, a number of monopolies were abolished: state-owned for trade with China and private merchant Shemyakin for the import of silk, as well as a number of others. The volume of exports increased significantly: sailboat, cast iron, iron, timber, bristles and other goods. Under the Empress, the State Bank and the loan office were created, besides, under her, paper money – banknotes – was introduced into circulation. Catherine II had an amazing ability to bring all the work started to the end, which characterizes her as a great historical figure, despite her mistakes and some oversights.
1796-1801 Paul 1
Paul I was constantly offended and humiliated in childhood, no one took him seriously, although he had all the makings of a great emperor. But his mother’s opinion was completely opposite. Perhaps that is why, when he nevertheless ended up on the Russian throne, he crossed out all the works of Catherine, all that she achieved during the thirty-four years of her reign.
The future tsar was born on October 1, 1754 in St. Petersburg. Officially, Peter III is considered his father, but in fact, the fact is known that he could not have children, and Catherine II gave birth to a son from Sergei Saltykov. He was born after ten years of childless marriage of his parents, his father always joked that he did not understand how his wife had children.
The childhood years of the future tsar were quite difficult. His grandmother was afraid that something would happen to him, so she managed to protect her grandson from court life. Numerous nannies and teachers watched him, although they simply tried to curry favor, and not take care of the boy. The teachers tried to give him a lot of knowledge, and in various directions. Pavel could use the huge library of academician Korf. In addition to the Law of God, foreign languages, fencing and dancing, which were compulsory subjects, the boy comprehended history, arithmetic, geography, astronomy.
When the throne went to Catherine II, she signed a document stating that she would rule until her son came of age, and then transfer power to him. Until now, this document has not survived, maybe Catherine herself destroyed it, or maybe it did not exist at all. But she was always reminded of this promise, especially by the rebels who were not happy with her rule. In addition, they said that before her death, Empress Elizabeth wanted the crown to go to her grandson, and not to Peter III, who was her nephew. However, her decision was never announced, and the royal chair has not yet “shone for Paul.” Changes in the biography of Paul I happened only many years later.
He turned 42 when he became emperor. He was so eager to show his power that he began to change the laws without waiting for the end of the coronation ceremony. He issued the first decree, which stated that now only men would sit on the Russian tsarist throne, and only the king’s son would wear the crown. Paul wanted to achieve the prevention of palace coups, which took place more and more often. Together with him, the empress was crowned, and this was an innovation for the history of the country.
Paul’s relationship with his mother was so abhorrent that everything she had achieved during her reign was alien to him. After accession to the throne, Paul tried to abolish all the laws adopted by Catherine, he did everything exactly the opposite. He freed the convicted radicals, accepted the reform of the army, and exerted a lot of effort to abolish serfdom. However, apart from populism, Paul did not achieve anything with his decisions.
The radicals who were at large managed to organize the uprising of the Decembrists, serfdom continued to exist, although it was abolished on paper, and corruption in the army turned out to be invincible and resulted in repression. Moreover, Pavel caused discontent equally among the highest ranks, who had lost their titles and privileges, and ordinary military personnel. They were unhappy with the samples of the new uniform, which resembled the uniform of the Prussian soldiers, and also caused discomfort and inconvenience. The emperor decided enough to change the foreign policy of the country.
Paul I was reputed to be a great opponent of the French Revolution and declared a struggle against its ideas. This was followed by censorship of published books in French, fashion fell out of favor, including round hats.
And yet Paul the First was a talented emperor, since he managed to achieve outstanding results in the military battles of that time. Although most likely the victories of the army and navy happened only thanks to the famous military men of that time – Suvorov and Ushakov and cooperation with the troops of Austria and Prussia. The character of Paul the First was distinguished by inconsistency, so he soon abandoned his allies and entered into negotiations with Napoleon. In the French emperor, he considered the strength and reliability that would help him cope with anti-monarchist unrest. But as time has shown, the strategist from Paul turned out to be very bad, and Napoleon was unable to win even years later. On the other hand, the Russian emperor harmed the country’s economy with his decrees. Great Britain found itself in an economic blockade, because of this, Russia was deprived of one of the largest sales markets, and, accordingly, the standard of living of Russians fell noticeably.
Paul the First had two official marriages. The first time he married Grand Duchess Natalya Alekseevna, whose name at birth was Princess Wilhelmina of Hesse-Darmstadt. The family life of Pavel and Natalia was short-lived; she died in childbirth two years after the marriage. Paul’s firstborn was stillborn.
Pavel the First did not grieve much, in the same year his personal life changed. He married Maria Feodorovna, who was previously called Sophia Maria Dorothea of Württemberg. It was she who gave birth to ten children to the tsar, among whom were two crowned rulers – Alexander I and Nicholas I.
This marriage not only brought benefits to the state, it was for love. Pavel was crazy about his chosen one, he wrote that this blonde turned his whole life upside down. Among the children of Paul, not only Alexander and Nikolai managed to achieve fame. His son Mikhail became the founder of the first Russian Artillery School in St. Petersburg. Mikhail Pavlovich became the only one among the many heirs of Paul, whose birth time coincided with the time of his father’s reign.
Despite the intensified struggle against conspiracies, Paul could not avoid the “happiness” of feeling them for himself. They took up arms against him three times, and the last of them was successful. On March 24, 1801, a group of armed officers appeared in the bedroom of the Mikhailovsky Castle, where the emperor was resting, who killed him. According to the official version, Paul I died of apoplectic stroke. When the people were informed about the death of the king, this news caused not shock, but exultation.
The figure of Paul I was very extraordinary, and is perceived by everyone in different ways. Russian and then Soviet historians called him a tyrant and tyrant. Other researchers, on the contrary, believe that he was fair and romantic, they call him “Russian Hamlet”. The priests of the Orthodox Church decided the question of his canonization. Then everyone came to the conclusion that Paul I adhered to his ideology, which has no analogues in the world.
1801-1825 Alexander 1
Alexander I was a ruthless manager. In 1801 he took over the reign of the empire. By his reign, he earned himself the lifetime nickname Blessed.
Alexander I is remembered as a great reformer in history. He began reforming the ministries, the Senate, universities, and schools as soon as he became king. St. Petersburg’s Alexander I was born on December 23, 1777 and became the first emperor to create the Council of State and issue a decree on “free peasants.”
Both his father and mother, Empress Maria Fedorova of Wuerttemberg-Mempelgard, were baptized in the Orthodox Rite, and taken the name Maria Fedorovna afterward.
In 1801, the day after the death of his father, Alexander I ascended the throne. As soon as the young emperor’s first decrees were issued, it was evident that he desired to suppress judicial arbitrariness and require everyone to obey the law. There was an unspoken committee made up of the Emperor, his closest friends, and his family members that decided the changes in Russia. There were no laws in the country at the time or at the time. Later called the Committee of Public Safety, the Emperor Alexander I public movement was led by the Emperor.
Even to the uninitiated, the new emperor’s reforms could be seen as soon as he came to power. In traditional historical accounts, the reign of the emperor is divided into two phases – under the first phase, a man is totally absorbed by reforms, and then, beginning after 1815, disappointments overtake him and he gradually turns back into a tyrant. During this period, the indispensable council – later the Council of State – was established. It consisted of several departments, but may be considered as the most important reform during this period. The emperor then started creating ministries. A majority of votes was used to solve all controversial issues in the country before. Ministry was created under Alexander I, with decisions made by the minister, who answered to the emperor.
Alexander I changed his reformist course after the war with Napoleon. In the end, the emperor decides he will not be able to mobilize the army quickly if he implements all his reforms. In order to deal with state security, he discards liberal ideas. He began to push a new reform, which succeeded better than any other. Alexander I undertook military reforms.
A number of constant hostilities occurred during the reign of Alexander I, resulting in an expansion of the Russian territory. After the campaign with Persia, Georgia joined Russia, and in addition, the military controlled the Caspian Sea. After the war with Turkey, Russia’s territory increased with the annexation of Bessarabia and all the Transcaucasian states. Annexed by Alexander I, Finland was captured from Sweden. Moreover, under him wars were waged with Austria and England, and a war in the Caucasus erupted, which lasted until Alexander’s death.
However, these battles were not the most important for Russia. For the king, then the main threat was France.For the first time the two countries met in a military conflict in 1805. At times it was possible to reach peace agreements, but there was no lasting peace, the conflict flared up again. Napoleon Bonaparte, inspired by his successes, decided to send troops into Russian territory. In 1812, the Patriotic War broke out. Several campaigns are underway to defeat the Napoleonic army and force Bonaparte to abdicate the throne following that victory. After signing an alliance agreement with Prussia, England, and Austria, Alexander I increased Russia’s possessions by annexing the Kingdom of Poland.
1825-1855 Nicholas 1
Nikolas is the third son of Tsar Paul I. His upbringing and education were not determined by the throne, so he was interested in military affairs from an early age, especially from an external standpoint, and he prepared for a life of service.
Alexander I made Nicholas Pavlovich heir apparent after his brother Constantine Pavlovich declared his intention to give up throne succession. Meanwhile, Alexander I issued a manifesto declaring Nikolai Pavlovich the true heir to the Russian throne.
Nicholas I Pavlovich became Emperor on December 14, 1825. That same day, “Decembrists” planned a rebellion against the autocracy, demanding the signing of a “Manifesto to the Russian People” declaring civil liberties. The informed Nicholas postponed the oath until December 13, and the uprising was crushed.
Domestic policy of Nicholas I.
Nicolas I declared the need for reforms from the outset of his reign, and on December 6, 1826, he set up the “Committee for Preparation of Reforms.”. As the state rapidly expanded, many department offices were created at His Majesty’s Chancellery.
Nicholas I appointed a special commission headed by M.M. Speransky to draft a new Code of the Russian Empire. By 1833, two editions had been printed: “The Complete Collection of the Laws of the Russian Empire,” beginning with the Cathedral Code of 1649 and ending with the last decree of Alexander I, and “The Code of the Laws of the Russian Empire.” Russian legislation was streamlined and streamlined practice of law was made easier during the reign of Nicholas I, but did not result in meaningful changes to the underlying social structure of the country.
Nicolas I regarded society as a good army that should adhere to the law and be regulated, and he was a staunch opponent of the introduction of a constitution in the country. The militarization of the state apparatus did not go unnoticed by his empire.
Nicolas I’s social policy focused on enhancing estates. To protect nobility from “littering,” a committee known as “the Committee of December 6” proposed that nobility should only be acquired via inheritance. And for the service personnel should be created new classes – “bureaucratic”, “distinguished” and “honorable” citizens. In 1845, the emperor issued the “Decree on Entitlements” (the indivisibility of noble property in inheritance).
Serfdom under Nicholas I enjoyed the support of the state, and the tsar signed a manifesto declaring that nothing would change in the position of the serfs. However, Nicholas I was not a supporter of serfdom and secretly prepared materials on the peasant question to make it easier for his supporters.
The foreign policy of Nicholas I.
Russia’s struggle against revolutionary movements in Europe and the Eastern Question were at the forefront of foreign policy during the reign of Nicholas I. Russian military participation in the Caucasus War (1817-1864) followed by the Russo-Persian War (1826-1828) led to the annexation of Armenia, Caucasus, and the eastern coast of the Black Sea by Russia.
Crimean War became one of the most memorable events of Nicholas I’s reign. Turkey, England, and France were among the opponents Russia faced. Nicholas I was defeated in the war during the siege of Sevastopol and therefore was unable to have a navy base on the Black Sea.
During the unsuccessful war, Russia proved to be backward in comparison to the states of Europe advanced economically, and its conservative modernization was unprofitable. Nicholas I died on February 18, 1855. Historians summarize Nicholas I’s reign as being the worst in Russia’s history since the Troubles.
1855-1881 Alexander 2
Alexander II remained in history under the name of the Tsar-Liberator and Tsar-Martyr. He became famous for his reforms, but fate was unfair to him, and he did not receive the title of Great, which suited him perfectly. The period of his reign became the most important in Russian history – it was he who had the opportunity to carry out large-scale transformations, which became a kind of transition from serfdom to capitalist systems of government. And as often happens in Russia, this turning point was sharp and quick, because reforms had been brewing for a long time. The tsar shared the fate of all the reformers – fame and well-deserved appreciation came to him only after death, and during his lifetime he was not understood by anyone.
Alexander was born on April 29, 1818 in Moscow. It was Bright Wednesday, when all the members of the Imperial family gathered in the Chudov Monastery to celebrate Easter. He was born at 11 o’clock in the afternoon and in honor of this, a festive salute from cannons that fired 201 times thundered over Moscow. Alexander’s father was Grand Duke Nicholas I, and his mother was Princess Alexandra Feodorovna.
On May 5, Alexander Romanov was baptized by Archbishop Augustine of Moscow in the same monastery. When he was born, his parents were grand dukes, and seven years later his father ascended the throne and Alexander became the heir to the imperial family.
The boy received his education at home, and it should be noted that it was of a fairly high level. The role of the main mentor, who was supposed to follow not only the training, but also the upbringing of Alexander, went to Vasily Zhukovsky. The boy received the basics of the Law of God and sacred history from Archpriest Gerasim Pavsky. He learned the wisdom of arithmetic with Academician Collins, and studied military science with Karl Merder.
When Alexander reached the age of majority in 1834, great changes took place in his biography. He, as the heir to the crown prince, was introduced to all major state institutions. In the same year he became a member of the Senate, in 1835 he entered the Holy Synod, in 1841 he received membership in the State Council, and a year later in the Committee of Ministers.
In the 30s, Alexander went to get acquainted with Russia and visited 29 provinces. Then he went to Europe. In addition, he completed a full course of military training and in 1844 received the rank of general. He was entrusted with command of the Guards Infantry.
The future tsar headed the military educational institutions, served as chairman of the Secret Committee in 1846 and 1848. He is well versed in peasant life, knows their problems, and sees that it is high time to take up the reforms and changes that have long been overdue.
In 1853, the Crimean War began, which lasted until 1856. It became a real test of the courage and maturity of the future Russian tsar. After martial law was declared in the Petersburg province, it was Alexander II who commanded all the capital’s troops.
In 1855, Alexander II ascended the throne, replacing his father, who ruled for thirty years. It is worth noting that his legacy was not an easy one; acute problems had been brewing in the country for a long time, requiring immediate resolution.
The reforms of Alexander II were quite bold and progressive. He expressed support for the Zemsky Regulations in 1864 and the City Regulations in 1870. In the same 1864, the Judicial Charters were earned, and military reforms were introduced in the 60s and 70s. Began transformations and public education. In addition, they decided to abolish corporal punishment, which was a shame for a progressive Russia.
Alexander II, like all other emperors, continued to wage wars. At the very beginning of his reign, he won battles in the war in the Caucasus. Then there was Central Asia and the annexation of a significant part of the territory of Turkestan to Russia. In 1877-1878, the tsar launched military operations against Turkey. At the beginning of his reign, the treasury was empty, by 1867 it was full, and income for that year increased by 3%. This happened as a result of a lucrative deal – Alexander sold Alaska to America
But by the end of his reign, Alexander was no longer so briskly pursuing reforms and changes. They certainly continued, but now they were sluggish and very inconsistent. All who supported him resigned at his own order.
During his years on the throne, Alexander II was exposed to mortal danger several times. Several attempts were made against him. The first time this happened in 1866, after the Polish uprising was suppressed. The assassination attempt was carried out by Dmitry Karakozov in Russia. The second time the tsar was assassinated a year later, in 1867. The emperor almost died at the hands of the Polish émigré Anton Berezovsky in Paris.
In April 1879, Alexander was attempted again. At the end of the summer, by the verdict of the executive committee of “Narodnaya Volya”, Alexander II was sentenced to death. Members of this movement planted explosives under the imperial train, but they were mistaken, and as a result a completely different train exploded.
After that, the Narodnaya Volya made another attempt and planted a bomb in the Winter Palace. Alexander was delayed, and when the explosion thundered, he was not in the room, but several people died.
The government created a High Administrative Commission, which was supposed to protect the emperor. However, this did not help. On March 13, 1881, Ignatius Grinevitsky, a member of the Narodnaya Volya, threw a bomb right at the sovereign’s feet. Alexander received numerous wounds from which he died.
An interesting fact is that the emperor was killed on the day he was about to sign the constitutional draft of M.T. Loris-Melikov, aimed at constitutional reforms in Russia.
1881-1894 Alexander 3
Alexander III – Emperor of All Russia, Tsar of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland. During the years of his reign (1881-1894), Russia forgot about wars, thanks to which the monarch began to be called a peacemaker. This man deserves deep respect, during his reign Russia has strengthened its position in the international arena, has become stronger economically and militarily. Alexander III was a wonderful family man, a loving father, a real master of the Russian land.
Alexander Romanov was born in St. Petersburg on March 10, 1845. This event took place in the Anichkov Palace. The father of the future autocrat is Emperor Alexander II, his mother is Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna. The boy was the third child in the family; there were eight children in total. The elder brother Nikolai, who was diligently prepared for a difficult career, was supposed to change his father on the throne. The plan was for Alexander to join the armed forces. The Tsarevich was not at all a diligent student, but the teachers themselves did not emphasize his attention too much on his studies. He was considered not very quick-witted, slow-witted, but Alexander from an early age was distinguished by his sound mind and prudence.
He grew up a real hero, and like many large, healthy people, he was very kind and somewhat shy. The height of the crown prince is 193 cm, he weighed about 120 kg. With a rather formidable, unapproachable appearance, this young man actively manifested himself in creativity, was engaged in painting, and loved music. Alexander was fond of playing brass and woodwind instruments. He will carry love for music and fine arts throughout his life. During his reign, the Russian monarch will do all he can to support Russian art, and will collect a large collection of paintings by Russian artists.
Alexander anxiously loved his older brother, distinguishing him from the whole family. But Nikolai’s life was short-lived, in 1865 he traveled to Italy and suddenly fell ill. The doctors diagnosed spinal tuberculosis. They tried to help the Tsarevich, but it was too late, Nikolai died suddenly. For Alexander, this loss became irreplaceable, for a long time he could not recover from the loss. In addition, it was he who became a contender for the throne, and this fact was very depressing for him, because the young man was not at all ready to take the throne.
His teachers were also in disarray, they did not count on such a turn of events. It was necessary to urgently correct the situation. The young man attended a whole course of special lectures prepared for him by his mentor Konstantin Pobedonostsev. When Alexander takes the royal throne, Pobedonostsev will become his main adviser. The young tsar will appoint Nikolai Alexandrovich Kachalov as the second adviser, with whom he once traveled across the Russian state.
In March 1881, terrorists attempted to assassinate Emperor Alexander II. The wounds were incompatible with life, the king died. His son Alexander ascended the throne. Only two months will pass from the beginning of his reign, and the young autocrat will publish the “Manifesto on the inviolability of the autocracy.” This document in one fell swoop canceled out all the liberal changes in the structure of the Russian state, for which his crowned parent so stood up.
However, we hardly have the right to condemn the young tsar, because before his mind’s eye still stood his bloody father, killed by terrorists. And the desire to protect yourself, your family from such tragedies was quite natural. Alexander took the place of his father in a hurry, the vast country urgently needed a strong ruler. The sacrament of the wedding to the kingdom took place two months later in the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. The royal family settled in the Gatchina palace during the reign of Alexander III.
Historians call the policy of Alexander III a short and succinct word – counter-reformation. This autocrat put monarchist, nationalist principles at the forefront. He promptly dismissed all Liberal ministers.
All spheres of life were tried to be brought back to order by Alexander III. However, he tended to be strict and fair. People often blame the monarchy for restricting the right to education, and for not allowing peasants to vote in zemstvo elections. However, there was also the possibility of low interest loans being offered to the peasants. Peasants’ material conditions were strengthened by this measure to expand the economy of the peasant. Likewise, he did not forget the nobles and introduced restrictions for them as well.
In the years of tsarist rule, the state hyper-controlled the number of Jewish students in schools, one of the most unrestful segments of the Russian society.
The economic development of Russia has always been a priority for this autocrat, he did a lot for the development of the metallurgical industry, oil and gas production. The welfare of the people has improved dramatically, the terrorists have completely stopped their activities. Alexander III left to his heir a strong state with a strong economy.
In foreign policy, this emperor proved himself to be the standard of wisdom. His word was reliable, politicians and rulers of other countries trusted him. He was called a peacemaker, but the king always remembered the troubled world he lived in. He paid a lot of attention to strengthening the military power of Russia. This was especially true of the fleet. Under this emperor, the Russian flotilla firmly took the honorable third place, it was overtaken only by France and England.
With the main rivals of Russia – Germany, England, France, the calm and self-possessed emperor knew how to find a common language and points of contact. He concluded peace agreements with Germany, managed to strengthen friendly relations with France. During the reign of Alexander III, open negotiations began to be practiced. The rulers of European states treated the Russian tsar as a wise judge capable of resolving any controversial issues arising between countries.
Cause of death
On November 1, 1894, the autocrat died. The official diagnosis is nephropathy, kidney disease. Doctors say that this disease was triggered by the overstrain that the king experienced during the tragic events of 1888. The monarch traveled with his family in Russia, and their train crashed near Kharkov. Part of the train went downhill, there were people killed.
The carriage, where the imperial family was, was badly mutilated. The monarch had to hold the roof of the car for 30 minutes in order to save his loved ones, until help arrived. As a result of his selfless act, the Emperor sacrificed his life to save his family. Stress and overexertion weakened the Emperor, and nephropathy developed. His ashes were buried at the Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg.
1894-1917 Nicholas II
Nicholas II went down in history as a “weak-willed tsar”. His adherents blame Nikolai for connivance, which led to the coming to power of the Bolsheviks. Let’s take a closer look at the biography of the tsar to find out the truth about Nicholas II.
Nicholas II made a feasible contribution to the development of industry in Russia, tried to disarm the planet, wanted to move the capital to Yalta and raised his stepson. Also, the tsar started the first census of the population of Russia and “modestly” called himself “the master of the Russian land.”
Nicholas II was born on May 18, 1868 into the imperial family in Tsarskoye Selo. Nicholas was the only heir to the throne, his parents taught his son the future work of his life throughout his childhood. Nikolai’s parents made sure that the boy learned foreign languages from childhood. Therefore, specifically for the education and training of the future tsar, they hired the Englishman Karl Heath, who was fluent in Russian and English.
The future heir to the throne spent his childhood in the Gatchina Palace, Alexander the Third, Nikolai’s father, was closely involved in upbringing. The upbringing model was based on religion, a certain freedom was allowed, but without prejudice to the educational process.
The future royal man studied at home, but strictly within the framework of the standard gymnasium course for those times. Nicholas II did not show much zeal in his studies. In the biography of Nicholas, one can clearly see a craving for military affairs. Instead of mathematics and good manners, Nikolai mastered jurisprudence, geography and strategy. He liked these disciplines the most.
Lectures to the future monarch were read by the luminaries of science of the Russian Empire and foreign scientists with a worldwide reputation. The parents of Nicholas II did not skimp on the salaries of the best teachers, they personally selected teachers. This zeal to give his son a good education has borne fruit. The eminent heir could perfectly express himself in German, French and Danish. After the gymnasium, Nikolai II studied higher sciences, which are included in the educational course of the economic department of the law faculty.
In 1884, Nicholas II took the oath of office in the Winter Palace, then entered military service. Later he received the rank of colonel. The future tsar liked military affairs, he enthusiastically endured all the hardships of service in the army.
The future tsar began to get acquainted with state affairs in 1889. Young Nikolai attended meetings of the Government, his father taught Nikolai in practice all the intricacies of governing the country. Alexander the Third showed his son the world, having traveled in less than a year to China, Japan, Egypt, India, Greece, and of course Russia.
The ascent of the throne
After the death of Alexander III, Nicholas II came to the throne. He solemnly vows to cherish, protect and develop the Russian autocracy, to continue the glorious work of his father. The coronation of Nicholas II, the last Russian emperor, happened later, in 1896. The festive event was accompanied by riots due to the distribution of free gifts. Because of this, thousands of subjects died.
Nicholas II looked very confused when he was sworn in. The young man was not ready for the responsibility that suddenly fell on him. Nicholas’s mother, Empress Maria Feodorovna, was against the eldest son’s ascension to the throne. She saw the youngest son Michael on the throne.
It is sad that the newly minted emperor was frivolous about what happened. Nicholas II did not even want to cancel the festive ball on the occasion of his official coronation. This behavior of the new king caused a storm of anger among the people. The opposition forces used the Khodynka catastrophe later as a trump card against Tsar Nicholas II.
The new tsar became famous for his tough domestic policy – it was conducted against any dissent in the country. Among the positive achievements of the new tsar is the monetary reform, which established the gold standard for the ruble. Also, Nicholas II conducted a population census, the first in the history of Russia.
Nicholas II was also noted in history by the “Stolypin” agrarian reforms, the introduction of strict factory legislation, the adoption of a law on universal primary education, the abolition of exile to Siberia, and a ban on taxes from landowners of Polish origin. Under Nicholas II, compulsory insurance of workers began.
The reign of Nicholas II in Russia is associated with industrialization, an increase in yields from agricultural land, an increase in the level of oil and coal production In the last century, more than 70,000 kilometers of railway were constructed under the patronage of the Russian emperor. To this day, it is the main transport artery of the country, but for some reason its construction is not always credited to the tsar.
Nicholas II had a shrewd view of the future of Russia and the entire planet. More than 100 years ago, he stated that China’s population is growing rapidly. In those days, little thought about it, China was called “sleeping”. During his reign, Nicholas gave a far-sighted order to strengthen and develop Siberian cities so that they could withstand the actively developing China.
In 1913, the economy of the Russian Empire reached heights: the gold ruble was stronger than ever; the sale of Vologda oil to other countries brought in more profit than the sale of gold; Russia has become the world leader in the grain trade.
The age of government
The period of the reign of Nicholas II coincided with a difficult stage in the internal political life of Russia. The situation was also difficult in foreign policy. The monarch urgently needed to resolve the issue in the Far East. Japan became the main obstacle to establishing strong power in the Far East. She suddenly attacked a Russian squadron in 1904, defeating the Russian army. The Russian military leadership was then accused of inaction. The failure of the Russian-Japanese war could not pass without leaving a trace for the reputation of the monarch, a revolutionary situation was brewing in Russia. Russia was forced to cede the south of Sakhalin, as well as the rights to the Liaodong Peninsula.
After this step, the emperor lost face in the eyes of the Russian intelligentsia and the ruling circles of Russia. Nicholas II was accused of conspiracy with Grigory Rasputin, who gained fame as a charlatan and a swindler. Rasputin was considered a secret adviser to Nicholas II, who has tremendous influence over the weak-willed tsar.
But Germany began an open military confrontation with Russia, so the Russian army had to defend itself. Nicholas II personally traveled to military units and inspected the state and level of training of the army. But the emperor made a number of mistakes, they became fatal for the fate of the entire Romanov dynasty and led to the collapse of the Russian Empire.
The war exacerbated the general negative attitude towards the tsar in Russian society. The government began to create a plan for a coup d’état, but Nicholas II was building a plan for Russia’s victory in the war thanks to the alliance with France and England. As the monarch promised, the war would end by the summer of 1917. But his plans were not destined to come true – in February 1917, uprisings against the tsar and the government began in Petrograd. The suppression of the uprising by force did not work – the military refused to break up the riot.
The entourage of the monarch persuaded the king to abdicate in order to save the situation in the country. Nicholas II agreed to abdicate in favor of Mikhail Alexandrovich, his younger brother. But he did not want to accept the crown. Formally, this meant the end of the Romanov dynasty.
The personal life of the monarch was exemplary, unlike other individuals of royal blood. In 1889, Nikolai Alexandrovich liked Alice of Hesse-Darmstadt, she was a German princess. The young people met during the stay of the German delegation in Russia on an official visit.
Nikolai Alexandrovich asked his father for a blessing for the marriage, but was refused. This did not stop Nicholas II, he did not lose hope of marrying his beloved girl further. Princess Elizabeth Feodorovna helped the young people with secret correspondence.
Five years later, Nicholas II, who was in love, again asked his father for consent to marry Princess Alice. Alexander III, possibly due to his deteriorating health, allowed Nicholas to marry Alice. After chrismation, she became Alexandra Feodorovna. In 1894, the couple got married in the Winter Palace, and two years later they accepted the coronation and officially began to rule the country.
Five children were born in the marriage: four daughters and one son. Alexey, the only heir, had difficulties with blood clotting, he was diagnosed with hemophilia. Due to the illness of their son, the Romanov couple began an acquaintance with the disgraced Rasputin. He not only helped the boy fight the disease, but also gained significant influence on the royal family.
Nicholas II raised adopted children – Dmitry and Maria, their father was the uncle of Nicholas II, Pavel Alexandrovich. Their mother died in childbirth, and their father quickly remarried.
According to the research of historians, for Nicholas II, the family was the main meaning of life. He did not like secular parties, treasured the peace and hobbies of his family members. At the same time, the emperor himself loved to go hunting, skate, horses, participate in horse riding competitions.
Shooting the king and the family
As soon as the tsar signed a decree abdicating the throne, the Provisional Government of Russia decided to shoot Nicholas II and his entire family, but they did not dare to bring the verdict into force. Many then immediately betrayed the emperor and fled, only a few decided to be with the priest-king until the very end. The tsar and his family were exiled to Tobolsk, from where they were later promised to be transported to the United States. But the plan was not destined to come true, the Bolsheviks came to power, who decided to shoot the royal family.
Under the pretext of evacuating the king, his wife and children were taken to the basement, after which they were shot at point-blank range. The bodies were doused with kerosene and burned, then buried in the ground.
All of the above gradually brought us to this very moment, namely the Revolution. To be precise, there were two of them in February and in October.
Let’s briefly talk about the causes and effects.
In Soviet historiography, the events of late February – early March were designated as the bourgeois-democratic February revolution of 1917.
And late October – early November – as the Great October Socialist Revolution. These terms were coined in the jubilee year 1927. Previously, the Bolsheviks themselves, including Lenin, called both events “coup d’etat” and “armed uprising”, and called the whole of 1917 as a “revolution”.
Since 2015, we have returned to this more correct point of view of Ilyich and other direct participants in those events. In accordance with the current concept of studying the history of our country, according to new school textbooks, children will study the events of 1917 as “links in one chain”.
Developments February-March is now officially called the “February coup”, and the October revolution – “the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks.” However, in this publication, we will continue to call the events of 1917 in familiar terms.
Completion of the Empire
A new order of things was established on that day with the repeal of the Russian Empire on September 1, 1917. It was proclaimed by Kerensky, who had no right to do so under the law, so that the proclamation of Russia as a republic can confidently be called illegal. Only the Constituent Assembly had the power to make such a proclamation. With Nicholas 2, the last emperor of the Russian Empire, the collapse of the empire is closely linked to its history. The Emperor was a worthy person who possessed all the qualities of an emperor, but he lacked decisiveness. Nicholas himself took two lives in this crisis, which resulted in unrest in his country. Bolshevik activities were not severely suppressed by Nicholas II during the country’s revolutionary period. A number of objectives are at play. The First World War was an exhausting experience for the Russian Empire, and involved it in its development. As the Soviet Union replaced the Russian Empire, a new type of state structure emerged in the country.
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