Sunday, 13 March 2016

Emperor Alexander II of Russia: The many assassinations of Tsar Alexander II

Alexander II of Russia: The Many Assassinations of Tsar Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II was the Russian Emperor from the 2nd of March, 1855 until his death by way of Ouch-That-Really-Hurt on the 13th of March, 1881.
Alexander II, the Russian Emperor, Alexander II, was also known as Alexander the Liberator, or Hedgehog-Nose to his friends. He was also the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Finland at the same time. There's a bloke who liked to keep busy.
Alexander-The-Second-Time-I-Have-To-Ask-I-Kill-You, was known as Alexander the Liberator due to his impressive reforms.
He reorganized the judicial system by setting up elected local judges and abolishing capital punishments. He also promoted local self-governance, imposed a universal military service, and ended a lot of privileges of the nobilities.
However, and there's always a however, he was also a right git.
His secret police, known as the Third Section, captured, imprisoned, and tortured, tens of thousands of people who had anything bad to say about him. When they said really bad things, he sent them into exile in Siberia.
The Many Assassinations of Alexander II of Russia
On the 4th of April 1866, Tsar Alexander suffered his first assassination attempt. It was a cold day in St. Petersburg when Dmitry Karakozov decided he'd had enough of the Emperor.
Alexander was out for a walk in the Summer Garden of St. Petersburg admiring a couple of humping hedgehogs when Dmitry Karakozov fired at him six times. The hedgehogs, unknown to Karakozov, were secret ninja hedgehogs. They interrupted their activities and leapt into action.
Each of the first five shots were either punched or kicked away from Alexander, doing the Russian Emperor no harm. The sixth shot was deflected by the male hedgehog with its fun-stick. It ricocheted off the tip and impacted a wall three miles away, killing two thousand peasants on the way to its very speedy destination.
Wanting to keep the identity of the hedgehogs a secret, and not wanting their ninja abilities to become public knowledge, a local peasant by the name of Ossip Komissarov was asked to take credit for saving the Emperor's life.
A story was invented that made him the hero. He saw Dmitry Karakozov pull a gun from between his butt cheeks and rushed forwards to knock the gun from his hands.
After the attempt on his life, Alexander rushed to Kazan Cathedral and gave thanks for his narrow escape from death. It was said he was more peeved that the assassin was of noble birth, than an attempt being made on his life.
Karakozov attempted escape, but the Tsar's guards woke from their afternoon nap and captured him. Karakozov was then tried, found guilty, and finally hanged to death on the 3rd of September 1866.
On the 6th of June, 1867 at the World Fair of 1867, held in 1867 in Paris in 1867, Antoni Berezowski, who, like Karakozov, was also of noble birth, made another attempt on the Russian Tsar's life.
Antoni Berezowski, son of a Polish Nobleman, fired at Alexander at Longchamps Racecourse in the Bois de Boulogne.
The Emperor was trundling along in his carriage, with his two sons, and Napoleon III, when Antoni Berezowski fired into it with a self-modified, double-barrelled pistol.
There's a handy lesson to learn if you plan on assassinating the Russian Tsar: Don't buy a cheap, second-hand gun.
The gun broke. The shot went wide. Very wide. It killed a horse of a cavalryman escorting the motorcade of John F. Kennedy at Dallas in 1963.
And to top it off, it blew Berezowski's hand off.
The Polish Nobleman's son was arrested, tried and, guess what, he was also found guilty. Although, this time he didn't suffer death by hanging. He was sentenced to lifelong imprisonment with hard labour on Nou Island.
He did eventually get pardoned in 1906 but didn't dare go home.
The 20th of April 1879, Alexander II was out speed walking towards the Square of the Guards Staff, his little butt cheeks chewing on his Lycra shorts, when Alexander Soloviev blocked his path.
Alexander Soloviev was a 33-year-old former student, which you could say about a lot of people, with a mean looking face and something menacing in his pants.
It is presumed the Tsar saw the menacing revolver that Soloviev pulled from his man-cave, as his reactions would have seemed really weird if he hadn't.
Alexander, the Russian Emperor, the Tsar, the most feared and powerful man in Europe, ran from Soloviev in a zigzag pattern, whilst flailing his arms around like an epileptic octopus who had just been strobed.
Soloviev, after he managed to stop laughing, fired at the fleeing Emperor five times. Each shot missed. Due to Soloviev's inadequate gunmanship skills, or the constant chortling, nobody knows.
Alexander Soloviev was tried, found guilty and sentenced to death by way of hanging on the 28th of May, 1879.
During December 1879, the Narodnaya Volya, or People's Will, felt an uncontrollable urge to kill the Russian Tsar. They planted three explosive devices on the train tracks at Odessa, Alexandrovsk, and Moscow.
Their plan was to blow up the Tsar's train as he journeyed back from his holiday down south in Livadia to Moscow. Bad weather made the train take a diversion and Alexander avoided the first device at Odessa.
As the train passed by Alexandrovsk, it failed to detonate.
The third explosive did go off. However, it exploded under the wrong train.
It was a dark, cold night on the 5th of February, 1880. The fires were lit at the Winter Palace and Tsar Alexander II had planned an elaborate meal for a select guest list, which included his immediate family and also a special guest in his nephew, Alexander of Hesse-Darmstadt, the Prince of Bulgaria.
Stephan Khalturin, who was also a member of the Narodnaya Volya, had snuck into the Winter Palace and planted a bomb in the rest-room of the guards, which was immediately below the dining room where the Tsar and his family were to dine that evening.
Alexander was suffering from some serious cramping. When he found out his nephew would arrive later than expected, he used the delay to sneak off to his private chambers for a some much needed evacuation of his bowels.
Stephan Khalturin had already set the timing of the fuse on the dynamite and it exploded whilst the Tsar was away creating his own explosions.
The bomb killed eleven people and wounded over thirty more. The Tsar and his family were unharmed.
The one that that hit the mark
On the 13th of March, 1881, Alexander II was in St. Petersburg conducting a roll call for the military stationed at the main barracks. This happened like clockwork each Sunday morning.
After the previous five attempts on his life, Alexander had taken special precautions with his safety.
Although, as it turns out, not enough.
He journeyed to the Mikhailovsky Manege to the Roll Call in a specially constructed and closed, armoured carriage.
He was accompanied by five Cossacks, Frank Joseph Jackowski, a Polish Noble, and another Cossack who sat on the front to the coachman's left. He also had two sleighs following which contained the Chief of Police and the Chief of the Emperor's Guards.
In the crowds was Nikolai Rysakov, part of the Narodnaya, or People's Will, the revolutionary movement who was rather upset by the Tsar. He had a small package wrapped in a handkerchief.
Nikolai Rysakov said afterwards
"After a moment's hesitation, I threw the bomb. I sent it
under the horses' hooves in the supposition that it
would blow up under the carriage.
The explosion knocked me into the fence.
Nikolai Rysakov threw the bomb, and it did manage to land beneath the Tsar's carriage. It exploded, but did the armoured carriage little damage, although it did kill one of the Cossacks.
Alexander exited the carriage a little shaken, but unharmed.
Rysakov was captured with little effort, too shaken to try to flee. As the guards grabbed him, he shouted something into the crowds.
I didn't even blow the bloody doors off.
Although the Tsar's guards and advisors advised him to leave the scene immediately, Alexander was too curious. He insisted on being shown the damage to the carriage.
As he was inspecting the damage, Ignacy Hryniewiecki, a compatriot of Rysakov in the Narodnaya Volya, shouted something and threw another device at the Tsar's feet.
It's thought he said,
"It's too early to thank God."
Tsar Alexander II was rushed by sleigh to the Winter Palace. His legs were blown off, his stomach torn open, his face mutilated, and he was bleeding profusely from various other wounds. All in all, he was not in good shape.
His family were summoned and they attended post haste, after completing the Sudoku puzzle they had been working on all morning, and the Emperor was given Communion and Last Rites.
After seeing the badly mutilated face, the torn off legs, the ripped open belly, and all the blood, Captain James T. Kirk asked, "So, will he survive?"
Sergey Botkin, the attending physician said, "I'm a doctor, Jim, not a specialist cyborg builder."
He then added, "He'll be dead in fifteen minutes. Three if he farts."
At 3:30pm on the 13th of March, 1881, Alexander II's personal flag, The Standard, was lowered for the last time.
But, there's more.
Turns out, they came prepared.
It was discovered later, Ivan Emelyanov had been standing with a briefcase which contained another bomb. His instructions were to throw it at the Tsar, Alexander II, if the first two attempts to blow him up failed.
The Police Chief, Dvorzhitsky, who had accompanied the Emperor on that fateful day wrote:
I was deafened by the new explosion, burned, wounded and thrown to the ground. Suddenly, amid the smoke and snowy fog, I head His Majesty's weak voice cry, "Help."
Gathering what strength I had, I jumped up and rushed to the emperor. His Majesty was half-lying, half-sitting, leaning on his right arm.
Thinking he was merely wounded heavily, I tried to lift him but the tsar's legs were shattered, and the blood poured out of them.
Twenty people, with wounds of varying degree, lay on the sidewalk and on the street. Some managed to stand, others to crawl, still others tried to get out from beneath bodies that had fallen on them.
Through the snow, debris, and blood you could see fragments of clothing, epaulets, sabres, and bloody chunks of human flesh.

1 comment:

Tabatha Morrow said...

Wow, this was really interesting. I like his nickname of hedgehog nose. :) A very interesting man.