Biography of Zar de Rusia Alejandro III (1845-1894)

Russia Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty, born in Petersburgo on March 10, 1845 and died in the Palace of Livadia in Yalta (today in Ukraine) on November 1, 1894. It was the third (second man) of the numerous sons of the zar Alejandro II and his first wife María Feodorovna of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Biographical synthesis

The impressive Alejandro III was a Tsar autocrat who defended with ardour the paneslavistas ideas. For this reason many Russian Jews persecuted, imposed the Russification of non-Slavic territories of their great Empire (such as Poland or Finland) and promoted the occupation of the main positions in the Administration and the army by pure Russians (there were many of German origin). In the same way, tried to make the great military project of its predecessors: the conquest of Constantinople, which did not hesitate to intervene actively in the Balkans, especially in Bulgaria. Initial ally of Germany, ended up approaching and reaching an agreement with France (1894). He/She also began the construction of the Trans-Siberian railroad and boosted the industrialization of Russia.

Militarism and slavism Alejandro III

Very high and enormous physical strength, he/she was educated in military way. In 1866 he/she married Dagmar of Denmark, daughter of the Danish King Cristian IX, with whom he/she had several children: zar Nicolás II (1868); Alejandro (1869); Jorge (1871); Xenia (1875); Miguel (1878); and Olga (1882). Unlike other Romanov, his life was faithful to his wife. It was Tsar in 1881, following the murder of his father (the solemn Coronation was not until 1883). His first actions were the override provisions that Alejandro II had approved the day before his death (which would introduce a parliamentary government), and rapidly prosecute the killers, who were sentenced to death. He/She refused requests for forgiveness that, for religious reasons, suggested that the writer Leo Tolstoy, and criminals were publicly hanged on April 3. Alejandro III was concerned about his personal safety, then forming a large personal guard and moving his residence to the Gatchina Palace, 65 kilometers from Petersburgo, that it was safer to be surrounded by forests, making it soon, in addition, into a true fortress. It would disrupt major terrorist groups, but always with the fear that the history of his father is repeated with him.

Having received a military education, was austere habits, worker, saver almost in excess (in the dressing and eating) and retailer. I used to visit annually to his father-in-law, Cristian IX of Denmark, accompanied by his family. Educated by Konstantin Pobedonostsev, he/she was staunch supporter of Pan-slavism fell, synthesizing his ideology in the phrase "Russia for Russians". One of the steps given in this sense was the persecuting the Jews, that it was soon considered indirect contributors to the murder of Alejandro II; thousands of them were killed, confiscating their property. 1882 may laws limited the freedom of movement of the Jews, with numerous prohibitions (own land, occupy administrative positions, mixed marriages, books in Hebrew, etc.); hundreds of thousands had to leave the country. Those that remained were sent to the spaces of colonization, isolating them to assimilate them.

Another important nationalist Alejandro III was the intense Russification of non-Slavic territories of the Empire, such as Poland, the Baltic countries and Finland: the study of the Russian became compulsory and abolished the autonomy they had. The Germans from various parts of the country were monitored, and banned, as to all foreigners, own land. The Tsar tried also to the Russians as possible from administrative positions (many were occupied by individuals of German origin), and even gave the army a new Russian-style uniform. He/She continued in pursuit of the dreams of his father to dominate the Balkans and the Straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles, noting with particular attention to Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece. As he/she did not want an open war, he/she sent secret agents to those countries that engaged in instigating and formed rebel groups. The difficulties reached Alejandro III of his cousin Alejandro de Battenberg, Regent of Bulgaria, who did not want to support Russian plans; the Tsar agents abducted him and forced him to abdicate with threats. If the British protests succeeded in their liberation, Battenberg Alejandro resigned then voluntarily, disappointed; but the new Bulgarian Government has also refused to collaborate with Alejandro III. Like its predecessors, continued incorporation of Asian territories, and he/she also had some difficulties with Britain in Afghanistan, in 1885.

Improve economic and new alliances

In 1888 was a railway accident with his family, seems that fortuitous: the train which was travelling derailed and plunged embankment below; his strength allowed him to hold the ceiling until his wife and children could get out. During those years he/she promoted the industrialization of Russia, helped its Minister of finance Sergei Wittecommunications, for which obtained large loans of foreign capital that enabled to create new industries (textile, extraction of minerals such as coal or petroleum) and communications (the Trans-Siberian railway). At the same time economically growing ambition of Alejandro III; Otto von Bismarck, the German Chancellor, It was quick to sign with the Tsar the reinsurance treaty, by which the two countries would remain neutral in the event of a war with a third party. The Treaty, after being crowned German Emperor Guillermo II, was not renewed in 1890, which pushed the Tsar to sign with France a Treaty (1894) military who left Germany and Austria between the borders of two powers: was the origin of the large European blocs that would end in the first world war.

In 1892, at the suggestion of Witte, he/she had appointed his son and heir, Nicolás, President of the company responsible for the Trans-Siberian, trying to involve him so in Affairs of State. Contrary initially had to give permission to marry Alicia de Hesse, in 1894 he/she became ill of dropsy and worried about the future of the dynasty. He/She went to the benign skies of Yalta (Ukraine), but its purpose was already inevitable and died the first day of November. He/She was 49 years old. His remains were transferred to Petersburgo and buried in the Cathedral, the 19th of the same month.


BENSIDOUN, S. Alexandre III: 1881-1894. (Paris, headquarters: 1990).

COWLES, V. The Romanovs. (Barcelona, Noguer: 1975).

LOWE, Ch. Alexander III of Russia. (London, Heinemann: 1895).

MOUROUSY, P. Alexandre III et la France. (Paris, France-Empire: 1990).

WARNES, D. Chronicle of the Russian Tsars. (London, Thames-Hudson: 1999).

Links on the Internet ; Page with genealogical data of Alejandro III (in French). ; Page with information about the Romanovs (in English). ; Page with various information and images on the Romanov (in Russian).