Author Topic: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"  (Read 64958 times)

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Offline Forum Admin

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2005, 09:39:57 AM »
There is also a first hand account of the murder in the online edition of Volkov's Memoirs.
http://www.alexanderpalace.org/volkov/1.html

Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2005, 01:25:01 PM »
Karel:

Feel free to send me a private message and I will gladly share material with you. I recently researched this topic for a chapter I was working on.

Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2005, 09:31:02 PM »
Indeed there doesn’t seem to be a lot of books describing Alexander II’s assassination in English. Adding the following to Lisa’s excellent suggestions :

The only biography in English I have is by Edith Martha Almedingen : « The Emperor Alexander II; a study » published in 1962 and she gave his death only 2 pages.

In her book about the Romanov dynasty, Victoria Cowles (« The Romanovs » 1971) has a chapter about Alexander II. Some interesting pages about the Nihilists plots and previous attemps to kill him though. She also quotes from Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich’s memoirs ( « Once a Grand Duke » 1932) who recalls that they were out skating with his cousin Nicky (future Nicholas II) and his mother when they heard the fatal explosion. They rushed to the Winter Palace in time to see the Tsar die.

Some books I don’t have but which I have read a long time ago; alas I don’t recall if there’s anything interesting :

Stephen Graham’s biography : « Tsar of freedom, the life and reign of Alexander II » (latest edition 1968 );

Former French Ambassador Maurice Paleologue « Tragic romance of Alexander II of Russia » , 1927
(At the time of Alexander II  he was in St. Petersburg as a young diplomat and attended his funeral).

The old Alexander III biography by Charles Lowe (I seem to recall an interesting chapter at the beginning). New edition 1972.

Books I have never seen but which may be interesting :

« Five sisters : women against the tsar : the memoirs of five young anarchist women of the 1870s » edited and translated by Barbara Alpern Engel & Clifford N. Rosenthal, 1987 (Library of Congress has it under « Alexander II – Assassination » heading so it should  be relevant)

Alexandre Tarsaidzé’s  « Katia : wife before God » 1970

Werner Eugen Mosser’s « Alexander II and the modernization of Russia » 1992

About the master mind of the plot : David Footman’s « Red prelude : the life of the Russian terrorist Zhelyabov » (latest edition 1979).

Which reminds me of Virginia Cowles’ book  called « Russian dagger; cold war in the days of the czars » 1969. I have it but just can’t find in my library. I seem to recall that she has a chapter about Alexander II’s assassination plots.

You might find some useful insight in general books about 19th century Russian history, such as Edward Crankshaw « The shadow of the Winter Palace; the drift to Revolution, 1825-1917. »

I would also suggest you try to find some British or American publications (newspapers, magazines) from March/April 1881. Most librairies should have at least one or two on microfilm if not any originals. My experience is that contemporary accounts were full of interesting details.

I have a number of other biographies and memoirs relating to Alexander II but there in French or Russian. I also have a photocopy of a fascinating narrative by Prince Romuald Giedroyc’s (Gedroitz?) (« La mort d’Alexandre II – extraits des mémoires du Prince Romuald Giedroyc ») published in 1881 : the most detailed account I have ever seen! 136 pages about the tragic events that happened on March 1st/13 and the days that followed (until the funeral). Sad but fascinating nevertheless.

Good luck!


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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2005, 05:32:34 PM »
Uhh, was Alexander II the Tsar who was blown up?

Offline Olga

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2005, 08:10:35 AM »
Yes. It was rather messy. His assassination was planned and carried out by the revolutionary group Narodnaya Volya.

Offline Karel

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2005, 05:06:21 AM »
thank you all so mutch for the help, i found  some more information now and ill soon be on my way writeing.

Offline Belochka

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2005, 10:00:39 PM »
Despite the fact that Alexander II had quite a number of escapes from being assasinated, it seems to me that an attempt to commemmorate an unsuccessful terrorist act was a very strange idea indeed.

Had SPb been scattered with similar monuments for "what might have been" would have clearly shown its citizens how badly funds would have been expended, and clearly placed terrorism on public display.

Such a pity that Viktor Hartmann wasted his obvious talent on this one.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline Daniel Briere

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2005, 10:07:48 PM »
Grand-Duke, are you sure this monumental gate project was for St. Petersburg? I have it in a Soviet book identified as a 1869 project for a city gate in Kiev. The drawing itself only says “Proekt gorodskykh vorot/ Projet d’une porte de ville” (Project for a city gate) with no mention of the city, but the crest over the door shows an angel, which would indeed point to Kiev. Of course, he may have recycled an earlier project rejected in St. Petersburg.

In any case, a “monument” commemorating Alexander II’s survival from the 1866 attempt on his life was built in St. Petersburg: in 1866-67 a chapel was erected on the exact spot Karakozov had tried to kill him (at the entrance to the Summer Garden on Dvortsovaya Naberzhnaya). Inside was a large mosaic with St. Alexander Nevsky. The architect was R. I. Kuzmin. Here’s a photo.  

It was demolished by the Communists in 1930. At least they spared the Church on the Spilt Blood built 20 years later on the spot where he was mortally wounded.
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Offline Belochka

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2005, 11:40:55 PM »
I completely forgot about this small chapel, I have just found a similar postcard in my collection, except it is colorized.

According to Iroshnikov's book Before the Revolution the following words were inscribed:

Do not touch the annointed Sovereign



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Offline lostfan

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2005, 06:12:04 PM »
This quote is from sparknotes.com:

Quote
Tsar from 1855-1881; known as a reformer for his Great Reforms program that included changes in education, judicial matters, military readiness, and freedom of expression; issued the Emancipation edict of 1861 to free the serfs. However, his record only shows him to be a half-hearted reformer, never really interested in compromising any element of his power. He was assassinated in 1881 by a radical because of his lackluster performance as a reformer.



The piece of this definition that bothers me is that he was never interested in compromising any element of his power. Am I just imagining things, or wasn't he, on the day he was assasinated, on his way to sign a constitution for Russia?
Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we're gone and wonder who we were? How bravely we fought? How fiercely we loved?

Offline Frederika

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2005, 12:37:14 PM »
your right he was on his way so to sighn a constution to start russias first government and make a constutional Monachy the assasins dint now it but he was the one tsar not to kill as he was going for the first time try and make russia like England or France. Aleksandr III scraped the constitution making the beging of the end of the Tsarist russia.

Offline griffh

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2005, 10:00:06 AM »
According to an article in the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica "The Great Gate of Kiev" was built to commemorate a narrow escape from an assassination attempt on  April 14, 1866 on Alexander II's life by Dymitry Karakozov while he was walking in the park.  

Alexander II held a competition for a great gate tp be designed for the city of St. Petersburg.  Architect, painter, and costume designer Vicktor Hartman won the commission and built "The Great Gate of Kiev" which was considered his finest work.  A painting of The Great Gate later became Mussorgsky's inspiration for his famous compostion, "Pictures At An Exhibition."

The famous Church of the Savoir on Blood was built on the spot where, twenty years later 1881 assassination took place.        

Offline Charles

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2005, 07:47:54 AM »
Sorry, you are both wrong.  Alexander II did not have a draft constitution on his desk the day he was assassinated and he was not about to adopt a constitutional monarchy for Russia.  That has been a rumor repeated by many historians, but this was never true.  There has been absolutely ZERO evidence that this was the case.  There is speculation that he was considering a quasi-elected legislative consulting body with Loris-Melikov, but nothing came of it.  This rumor is most likely the result of wishful thinking of behalf of those who mourned the loss of Imperial Russia years after the Revoluion.


Offline leanora

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2005, 09:20:04 PM »
I am curious to know why Alexander II is not considered a great tsar as Catherine II or Peter the great...however, millions of human beings has been delivered from slavery under his reign... It seems to me that Alexander II has not all the consideration he had to. The proof is that there are not a lot of books about him or about his life ... and this forum has not  a lot of threads on him..

What do you think about this? Alexander II the great or not?

Offline Paul

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Re: Emperor Alexander II "the Liberator"
« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2005, 04:44:37 AM »
The Family itself considered him a bit of a weakling and an embarrassment.

Personally, I suspect that the dearth of books on Alexander II is due to bad timing. His reign coincided with those of so many more prominent and/or colourful figures. QV, Franz Joseph, and Napoleon III may have simply pushed him into their shadows?
Also: so much of his reign coincided with events more pressing to the West. The unification of Germany & Italy come to mind. The Franco-Prussian War, The US War Between the States, the Spanish Troubles, and the colonial expansions of the west European powers also tended to relegate Russian issues to the back burner.

...just a guess, mind you....
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