The more I read about Alexander II, the more I admire him.
Yes, the love affair that turned into his second marriage was in many respects an embarrassment and a trial to his children and other family members. And yes, certain aspects of that affair are difficult to condone.
But as a Tsar he was thoughtful and forward-thinking. While we in the States study and admire Abraham Lincoln--and well we should!--Alexander II, on the other side of the world, wanted to liberate the serfs from a situation which, in many ways, paralleled the despicable enslavement of Negroes in the United States.
Alexander II was a human being who made mistakes. But he did his best. It is not his fault that the son who succeeded him was such a Neanderthal. And, as most of us know, a major reason behind the assassination of Alexander II was to destroy the man who would have curtailed revolution. The anarchists knew that once Alexander II was gone his reactionary son would bring Russia back to a ferment, allowing them to move ahead with their plans.