Gouvernement Imperial de Russie - 1880 125 Roubles Bond (Uncanceled)Inv# FB5027 Bond
125 Roubles. Czar Alexander III. Text in German and French. Large Romanov Dynasty Eagle and detailed borders along the sides. Uncanceled. During the reign of Alexander III (Russian: Алекса́ндр III Алекса́ндрович, tr. Aleksandr III Aleksandrovich; 10 March 1845 – 1 November 1894) was Emperor of Russia, King of Congress Poland and Grand Duke of Finland from 13 March 1881 until his death in 1894. He was highly reactionary and reversed some of the liberal reforms of his father, Alexander II. This policy is known in Russia as "counter-reforms" (Russian: контрреформы). Under the influence of Konstantin Pobedonostsev (1827–1907), he opposed any reform that limited his autocratic rule. During his reign, Russia fought no major wars; he was therefore styled "The Peacemaker" (Russian: Миротворец, tr. Mirotvorets, IPA: [mʲɪrɐˈtvorʲɪt͡s]). It was he who helped forge the Russo-French Alliance.
Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich was born on 10 March 1845 at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire, the second son and third child of Tsesarevich Alexander (Future Alexander II) and his first wife Maria Alexandrovna (née Princess Marie of Hesse). He was born during the reign of his grandfather Nicholas I.
In disposition, Alexander bore little resemblance to his soft-hearted, liberal father, and still less to his refined, philosophic, sentimental, chivalrous, yet cunning great-uncle Emperor Alexander I. Although an enthusiastic amateur musician and patron of the ballet, Alexander was seen as lacking refinement and elegance. Indeed, he rather relished the idea of being of the same rough texture as some 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.
Alexander was 190.5 cm (six foot three inches) tall.
Alexander was extremely strong. He tore packs of cards in half with his bare hands to entertain his children. When the Austrian ambassador in St. Petersburg said that Austria would mobilize two or three army corps against Russia, he twisted a silver fork into a knot and threw it onto the plate of the ambassador. He said, "That is what I am going to do to your two or three army corps."
Unlike his extroverted wife, Alexander disliked social functions and avoided St. Petersburg. At palace balls, he was impatient for the events to end. He would order each musician of the orchestra to leave and turn off the lights until the guests left.
Alexander was afraid of horses. In his childhood, he had had an unpleasant experience on a bad-tempered mount. His wife once convinced him to go on a carriage ride with her. As he reluctantly entered the carriage, the ponies reared back. He immediately left the carriage and no amount of pleading from his wife could convince him to get back in.
An account from the memoirs of the artist Alexander Benois gives one impression of Alexander III:
After a performance of the ballet Tsar Kandavl at the Mariinsky Theatre, I first caught sight of the Emperor. I was struck by the size of the man, and although cumbersome and heavy, he was still a mighty figure. There was indeed something of the muzhik [Russian peasant] about him. The look of his bright eyes made quite an impression on me. As he passed where I was standing, he raised his head for a second, and to this day I can remember what I felt as our eyes met. It was a look as cold as steel, in which there was something threatening, even frightening, and it struck me like a blow. The Tsar's gaze! The look of a man who stood above all others, but who carried a monstrous burden and who every minute had to fear for his life and the lives of those closest to him. In later years I came into contact with the Emperor on several occasions, and I felt not the slightest bit timid. In more ordinary cases Tsar Alexander III could be at once kind, simple, and even almost homely.
Though he was destined to be a strongly counter-reforming emperor, Alexander had little prospect of succeeding to the throne during the first two decades of his life, as he had an elder brother, Nicholas, who seemed of robust constitution. Even when Nicholas first displayed symptoms of delicate health, the notion that he might die young was never taken seriously, and he was betrothed to Princess Dagmar of Denmark, daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen-consort Louise of Denmark, and whose siblings included King Frederick VIII of Denmark, Queen-consort Alexandra of the United Kingdom and King George I of Greece. Great solicitude was devoted to the education of Nicholas as tsesarevich, whereas Alexander received only the training of an ordinary Grand Duke of that period. This included acquaintance with French, English and German, and military drill.
Alexander became tsesarevich upon Nicholas's sudden death in 1865. He had been very close to his older brother, and he was devastated by Nicholas' death. When he became tsar, he reflected that “no one had such an impact on my life as my dear brother and friend Nixa [Nicholas]" and lamented that "a terrible responsibility fell on my shoulders" when Nicholas died.
As tsesarevich, Alexander began to study the principles of law and administration under Konstantin Pobedonostsev, then a professor of civil law at Moscow State University and later (from 1880) chief procurator of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in Russia. Pobedonostsev instilled into the young man's mind the belief that zeal for Russian Orthodox thought was an essential factor of Russian patriotism to be cultivated by every right-minded emperor. While he was heir apparent from 1865 to 1881 Alexander did not play a prominent part in public affairs, but allowed it to become known that he had ideas which did not coincide with the principles of the existing government.
On his deathbed, Nicholas allegedly expressed the wish that his fiancée, Princess Dagmar of Denmark, should marry Alexander. Alexander's parents encouraged the match. On 2 June 1866, Alexander went to Copenhagen to visit Dagmar. When they were looking at photographs of the deceased Nicholas, Alexander proposed to Dagmar. On 9 November [O.S. 28 October] 1866 in the Grand Church of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Alexander wed Dagmar, who converted to Orthodox Christianity and took the name Maria Feodorovna. The union proved a happy one to the end; unlike nearly all of his predecessors since Peter I, there was no adultery in his marriage. The couple spent their wedding night at the Tsarevich's private dacha known as "My Property".
Alexander and his father became estranged due to their different political views. In 1870, Alexander II supported Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War, which angered Alexander. Influenced by his Danish wife Dagmar, Alexander criticized the "shortsighted government" for helping the "Prussian pigs".
Alexander resented his father for having a long-standing relationship with Catherine Dolgorukov (with whom he had several illegitimate children) while his mother, the Empress, was suffering from chronic ill-health. Two days after Empress Marie died, his father told him, “I shall live as I wish, and my union with Princess Dolgorukova is definite" but assured him that "your rights will be safeguarded.” Alexander was furious over his father's decision to marry Catherine a month after his mother's death, which he believed “forever ruined all the dear good memories of family life.” His father threatened to disinherit him if he left court out of protest against the marriage. He privately denounced Catherine as "the outsider" and complained that she was "designing and immature". After his father's assassination, he reflected that his father's marriage to Catherine had caused the tragedy: “All the scum burst out and swallowed all that was holy. The guardian angel flew away and everything turned to ashes, finally culminating in the dreadful incomprehensible 1 March."
On 13 March 1881 (N.S.) Alexander's father, Alexander II, was assassinated by members of the extremist organization Narodnaya Volya. As a result, he ascended to the Russian imperial throne in Nennal. He and Maria Feodorovna were officially crowned and anointed at the Assumption Cathedral in Moscow on 27 May 1883. Alexander's ascension to the throne was followed by an outbreak of anti-Jewish riots.
Alexander III disliked the extravagance of the rest of his family. It was also expensive for the Crown to pay so many grand dukes each year. Each one received an annual salary of 250,000 rubles, and grand duchesses received a dowry of a million when they married. He limited the title of grand duke and duchess to only children and male-line grandchildren of emperors. The rest would bear a princely title and the style of Serene Highness. He also forbade morganatic marriages, as well as those outside of the Orthodoxy.
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