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Considered Russias last true autocrat Alexander III was the epitome of what a Russian Tsar was supposed to be Forceful formidable fiercely patriotic and at 6 4 towered over his fellow countrymen He was the embodiment of the fabled Russian bear He came to power at a critical point in Imperial Russian History The Industrial Revolution had finally come to Russia and capitalism was taking root Foreign investment within the country was at an all time high His father Alexander II was within hours of granting the country its first constitution Ironically Alexander III was not born heir to the Russian throne Born in St Petersburg on February 26 1845 he was the second son of Alexander II the Tsar Liberator who had freed the serfs His older brother and heir to the throne Nicholas died in 1865 The young Grand Duke was greatly influenced by his tutor Constantine Petrovich Pobedonostev who instilled into him conservative fundamentals of autocracy Orthodoxy and nationalism that were required to govern the Russian Empire Pobedonostev believed that all opposition to the government be ruthlessly crushed and viewed liberal ideas as constitutions and free press as a threat to the state It was also Pobedonostev that taught Alexander III to be anti- Semitic and view the Jewish community of the Empire as Christ Killers The reign of Alexander III began in tragedy On March 1 1881 on the eve of the signing into Russias first constitution two assassins threw bombs at the Tsars carriage in St Petersburg Alexander II was mortally wounded and died shortly thereafter Russias hope for a constitution also died that day One cannot fault the reaction to his fathers death His father the Tsar Liberator had freed the serfs predating Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation by two years One can only imagine the rage he his wife and children felt as they watched the Tsar bleed and die in a St Petersburg palace This
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