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Russian Empire

Flag of Russian Empire for private use (1914–1917) 3.svg
Greater Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire 1700x1767 pix Igor Barbe 2006.jpg

The Russian Empire (Pre-reform Russian: Pоссiйская Имперiя, Modern Russian: Российская империя, translit: Rossiyskaya Imperiya) was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia, and the predecessor of the Soviet Union. It was one of the largest empires the world had seen. At one point in 1866, it stretched from eastern Europe, across northern Asia, and into North America. At the beginning of the 19th century, Russia was the largest country in the world, extending from the Arctic Ocean to the north to the Black Sea on the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean on the east. Across this vast realm were scattered the Emperor's 150 million subjects, who represented a great disparity in economic, ethnic, and religious positions. Its government, ruled by the Emperor, was one of the last absolute monarchies left in Europe.

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Decembrists at the Senate Square

The Decembrist revolt or the Decembrist uprising (Russian: Восстáние декáбристов) took place in Imperial Russia on December 14 (December 26 New Style), 1825. Russian army officers led about 3,000 soldiers in a protest against Nicholas I's assumption of the throne after his elder brother Constantine removed himself from the line of succession. Because these events occurred in December, the rebels were called the Decembrists (Dekabristy, Russian: Декабри́сты). This uprising took place in the Senate Square in Saint Petersburg. In 1925, to mark the centenary of the event, it was renamed as Decembrist Square (Ploshchad' Dekabristov, Russian: Плóщадь Декабри́стов). The revolt was personally suppressed by Nicholas I of Russia.

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Tsar Nicholas II (1915) by Boris Kustodiev.

Nicholas II of Russia born Nikolay Alexandrovich Romanov (Russian: Никола́й II, Никола́й Алекса́ндрович Рома́нов) (18 May [O.S. 6 May] 1868 – 17 July [O.S. 4 July] 1918) was the last Tsar of Russia, King of Poland,[1] and Grand Duke of Finland. His official title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias[2] and he is currently regarded as Saint Nicholas the Passion Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until his abdication in 1917. He proved unable to manage a country in political turmoil and command its army in World War I. His rule ended with the Russian Revolution of 1917 in which he and his family were imprisoned first in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, then later the Governor's Mansion in Tobolsk. Finally, at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, Nicholas and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks on the night of July 17, 1918. This has led to him being labeled a Martyr by various groups within Russia, but most prominently the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. He was nicknamed by his critics Bloody Nicholas because of the Khodynka Tragedy, Bloody Sunday, and his government's subsequent suppression of dissent. Nicholas II is considered the third richest person in history.

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Arrest of a Propagandist, picture by Ilya Repin (1880-1889, 1892)

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...that the Russian Empire was a natural successor to the Tsardom of Russia. Though the empire was only officially proclaimed by Tsar Peter I following the Treaty of Nystad (1721), some historians would argue that it was truly born when Peter acceded to the throne in early 1682?

...that Napoleon made a major misstep when, following a dispute with Tsar Alexander I, he launched an invasion of the tsar's realm in 1812. The campaign was a catastrophe. Although Napoleon's Grande Armée made its way to Moscow, the Russians' scorched-earth strategy prevented the invaders from living off the country?

...that the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 was the single most important event in 19th-century Russian history. It was the beginning of the end for the landed aristocracy's monopoly of power. Emancipation brought a supply of free labor to the cities, industry was stimulated, and the middle class grew in number and influence; however, instead of receiving their lands as a gift, the freed peasants had to pay a special tax for what amounted to their lifetime to the government, which in turn paid the landlords a generous price for the land that they had lost?

...that the failure of the Russian armed forces in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) was a major blow to the Tsarist regime and increased the potential for unrest. In January 1905, an incident known as "Bloody Sunday" occurred when Father Gapon led an enormous crowd to the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg to present a petition to the tsar. When the procession reached the palace, Russian Royal Army opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds. The Russian masses were so aroused over the massacre that a general strike was declared demanding a democratic republic. This marked the beginning of the Russian Revolution of 1905?

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  1. ^ In 1831, the Russian tsars were deposed from the Polish throne, but they soon took control of the country as part of Russia and abolished the separate monarchy. However, they continued to use this title. See November Uprising.
  2. ^ Nicholas's full title was We, Nicholas the Second, by the grace of God, Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, of Moscow, Kiev, Vladimir, Novgorod, Tsar of Kazan, Tsar of Astrakhan, King of Poland, Tsar of Siberia, Tsar of Tauric Chersonesos, Tsar of Georgia, Lord of Pskov, and Grand Duke of Smolensk, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia, and Finland, Prince of Estonia, Livonia, Courland and Semigalia, Samogitia, Belostok, Karelia, of Tver, Yugra, Perm, Vyatka, Bulgaria, and other territories; Lord and Grand Duke of Nizhny Novgorod, Chernigov; Sovereign of Ryazan, Polotsk, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Beloozero, Udoria, Obdoria, Kondia, Vitebsk, Mstislav, and all the northern territories; and Sovereign of Iveria, Kartalinia, and the Kabardinian lands and Armenian territories; Hereditary Lord and Ruler of the Cherkass and Mountain Princes and others; Lord of Turkestan, Heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Oldenburg, and so forth, and so forth, and so forth.