Alexander III Alexandrovich (1845 – 1894), born Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov, was the Tsar of Russia from 13 March 1881, until his death in 1894.
He was also known as Alexander the Peacemaker, due to the peace his rule heralded with his European and Asian neighbours. However, this peace was often done at the expense of the working class and peasantry.
As Alexander's elder brother Nicholas was expected to be the next Tsar, Alexander was instead trained and educated to become an ordinary Grand Duke. As a result, he learned French, English, and German, and gained an amount of military insight.
Rise to power
In 1865, Nicholas suddenly died, and Alexander was made the heir. Before his death, Nicholas desired for Alexander to marry his bride, Princess Dagmar of Denmark. On 9 November 1866, Alexander wed Dagmar, forming a happy marriage.
Alexander was then forced to study the principles of law and administration under Konstantin Pobedonostsev. He came to realize that Alexander had little interest in abstract or intellectual studies, but did manage to make Alexander believe that Russian Orthodox thought was essential for Russian patriotism, and for every Tsar.
Likely around this time, Alexander eventually became an ally to the Templar Order, just as his father had been. In time, he was entrusted with the Staff of Eden, popularized as the Russian Imperial Scepter.
On 13 March 1881, Alexander's father fell victim to an assassination plot by members of the Assassin Order, who strove to free Russia from Templar control. Alexander succeeded his father as Tsar, and vowed not to have the same fate befall him, thus arresting the Assassins based throughout Russia.
On 1 March 1887, another group of Assassins - among which were Aleksandr Ulyanov, Pakhomiy Andreyushkin, Vasili Generalov, Vasili Osipanov, Petr Shevyrev and Bronisław Piłsudski - plotted the assassination of Alexander. Alexander's secret police found out about the plot, however, and arrested them. Piłsudski and some others were pardoned by Alexander, but the rest were hanged on the 20th of May.
Borki train disaster
- "I pray that you have children, Assassin, for once I have finished with you I will see them thrown into the Neva."
- ―Alexander to Nikolai Orelov during their fight.[src]
In 1888, Alexander and his family travelled from Crimea to Saint Petersburg on a high speed train. As the train would pass through open countryside, the Assassin Order saw this as an opportune time to strike, though they were under the impression that Alexander was travelling alone.
As the Mentor's personal request, the Assassin Nikolai Orelov was sent to strike Alexander aboard the train. After catching up to the train on horseback, he leapt aboard and quietly infiltrated a cabin.
After silently dispatching the guards, Nikolai drew his rifle and entered the dining car, where Alexander supposedly was, but found only the Tsar's family. Alexander sneaked up from behind the Assassin and attacked him.
A fight between the two started, with the physically imposing Tsar holding a significant advantage over the younger Nikolai. The Assassin only managed to inflict a minor wound to Alexander's abdomen, though this light injury would later result in the kidney failure that caused Alexander's death.
As a result of the struggle, the train derailed from the tracks. After the crash tore apart many of the trains cars, Alexander struggled to hold the remains on his shoulders, in order to allow his children to escape.
While doing so, he noticed Nikolai lying a few yards away from him and attacked the Assassin. While Nikolai was recovering from the attacks, Alexander carried a box out of the rubble and opened it, revealing the Staff of Eden. He asked the Assassin whether the artifact was what he was looking for, and tauntingly threw it into Nikolai's hands, daring the Assassin to attack him with it.
Alexander was faster with his attack, but suffered a blow to the head with the Staff nonetheless. He managed to disarm the Assassin and punched him to the ground, who in turn showed his Hidden Blade, ready to attack. Alexander pinned the other's blade arm with his foot, and readied to kill the Assassin with the Staff, when the Imperial guard called out for him, saying that his family awaited him.
Alexander spared Nikolai's life, to avoid having his children witness the death, and so the Assassin could report his failure. Alexander and his family returned to Saint Petersburg by carriage, continuing on to Kazan Cathedral, where their survival was celebrated; so much so that university students wanted to unharness the carriage and pull it by hand.
Personality and characteristics
- "How weak you are, little man! [...] You should be ashamed to call yourself Russian!"
- ―Alexander to Nikolai Orelov.[src]
Personality-wise, Alexander was very different from his soft-hearted, liberal father. He was more straightforward and direct in his expressions, and moved roughly and sluggishly, in accordance with his immense physical strength.
Alexander strongly believed in centralized power, and ambitiously strove to transform the Russian Empire into a "new Eden" under the Romanov's autocratic rule. He would constantly repress the emergence of popularist movements, and emphasize the authority of the imperial family.
To the Assassin Order, Alexander's rule would unnecessarily strengthen the Russian autocracy, instead of balance it, as they had hoped. He remained a constant threat to them throughout his reign, and many of the Order's attempts at political reform failed during his time. As a target, however, they acknowledged Alexander to be a "formidable man."