Alexander III, b 10 March 1845, d 1 November 1894 in the Crimea. (Portrait: Alexander III.) Russian emperor in 1881–94, son and successor of Alexander II. Alexander set himself as his main task the preservation and strengthening of the autocratic control of all areas of life under the Russian Empire, using increased police repression, censorship, religious persecution, and Russification. At the beginning of the 1880s Alexander III was forced by the circumstances that led to the assassination of his father to make minor concessions in favor of the peasantry. He abolished the poll tax and lowered the payments for land. However, it was not long before he began to restrict the liberal reforms of the 1860s–1870s, particularly those pertaining to the court system, zemstvos, municipal government, public education, and the universities. Bureaus for zemstvo affairs, comprised of governors and nobles, were introduced and granted wide powers over the peasantry. The Nobles' Land Bank was established to promote land ownership by the nobility. Alexander's foreign policy aimed at safeguarding Russia's position in Europe (through an alliance with France), in the Balkans (attempts at making Bulgaria a Russian satellite), in Central Asia, and in the Far East without disruptive conflicts and wars. Alexander III continued his father's anti-Ukrainian policy, based on the Ems Ukase.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]