chapter  9
16 Pages

Under the Banner of Unshakable Autocracy

We have already referred several times to Alexander III, the son of Alexander II, who came to the throne when a terrorist's bomb killed his father in 1881. As we have seen, under Alexander III Russia carried out a major shift in its foreign policy, from its traditional alliance with Germany to an alignment with France. While still heir to the throne, Alexander Aleksandrovich had shown conservative sympathies, and upon coming to power he initiated a review of the innovations of the 1860s and the 1870s. Clearly, the era of Alexander III, from 1881 to 1894, played a vital role in the history of Imperial Russia. His reign marked the last period of protracted political stability in the empire, a time when the authorities still had the opportunity to mitigate, if not resolve, many of the problems that faced the country. They failed to do so. Beginning in the mid-1890s, social, political, ethnic, and religious tensions began to snowball, producing a full-scale crisis. The revolutionary upheavals of the early twentieth century buried the Romanov monarchy and ushered in the new Soviet period of Russian history.