Abstract and Keywords
The assassination of Alexander II on 1 March 1881 ended the European myth of Russian monarchy—the narratives and imagery that had elevated Russian rulers since the reign of Peter I as exemplars of Western absolutism—and was followed by the introduction of a new governing myth idealizing seventeenth-century Muscovy. This chapter demonstrates that, by entertaining the illusion of a monarchical early Rus’, Alexander III and Nicholas II not only undermined the supra-national culture of their multi-national empire, but isolated themselves from educated society, both liberal and conservative, that looked towards political participation and the formation of a united nation-state on the model of the West. The catastrophic events of early twentieth-century Russia resulted not from a decrepit monarchy collapsing before insurgent oppositional movements, but from the clash of a monarch seeking to restore divinely inspired authoritarian rule with a Russia awakening politically and demanding to be heard.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.