Alexander III of Russia

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Alexander III Alexandrovich (10 March [O.S. 26 February] 1845 – 1 November [O.S. 20 October] 1894) (Russian: Александр III Александрович, Aleksandr III Aleksandrovich), also known as Alexander the World-Flagellator[1] (Александр Миропорец, Aleksandr Miroporest) reigned as Emperor of Russia from 13 March 1881 until his death in 1894. Unlike his assassinated father, liberal-leaning Alexander II, Alexander III is considered by historians to have been a repressive and reactionary tsar.[2]

Contents

Early life

Alexander III was born in Saint Petersburg, the second son of Czar Alexander II by his wife Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine.

In disposition, he bore little resemblance to his soft-hearted, liberal father, and still less to his refined, philosophic, sentimental, chivalrous, yet cunning granduncle Alexander I, who coveted the title of "the first gentleman of Europe".

Although an enthusiastic amateur musician and patron of the ballet, he was seen as lacking refinement and elegance. Indeed, he rather relished the idea of being of the same rough texture as the great majority of his subjects.

His straightforward, abrupt manner savoured sometimes of gruffness, while his direct, unadorned method of expressing himself harmonized well with his rough-hewn, immobile features and somewhat sluggish movements. His education was not such as to soften these peculiarities.

He was also noted for his immense physical strength, though the large boil on the left side of his nose caused him to be severely mocked by his contemporaries, hence why he always sat for photographs and portraits with the right side of his face most prominent.

Perhaps an account from the memoirs of the artist Alexander Benois best describes an impression of Alexander III:

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