|Michael and Alexis, Tsars of Russia|
|Peter I the Great, Tsar of Russia|
|Elizabeth, Tsarina of Russia|
|Catherine II the Great, Empress of Russia|
With her death, the Romanov family began its slow decline as a force to be reckoned with. Peter III and Catherine II's son, Paul I, succeeded to the throne finally but his primary goal was to pass legislation to establish succession law. He downsized the military and bureaucracy and, because of that, was assassinated in 1801. Alexander I, his son, succeeded and the Napoleonic Wars came soon after. Although Alexander began his reign by being a reformist, he ended it repealing the majority of those reforms. He mysteriously died in 1825 and was succeeded by his brother, Nicholas I. Nicholas began the persecution of non-Russians and non-Orthodox which would continue into the 1910s. He led successful wars against the Ottomans but died during the Crimean War in 1855. Alexander II, his son, came next and Alexander was again a liberal emperor. His great achievement was the emancipation of the serfs (peasants), which somewhat led to the overthrow of the monarchy two generations later. His assassination in 1881 led to his son's short reactionary reign where Alexander III undid much of his father's progressive reforms. His son, Nicholas II, was likewise against reform, preferring to maintain the autocracy that had been a part of Russian politics since time immortal. Entry into World War I sparked the end of the Romanov dynasty as disenchanted peasants and communists rallied against the state-run tyranny of conscription. Nicholas was finally forced to abdicate the throne in 1917 but even in prison, his family was deemed too dangerous. In 1918, all of them—Nicholas, his wife, and his five children—were murdered by their Bolshevik captors. The Bolsheviks then went throughout Russia, hunting down and killing any Romanovs they could find. Most fled to western Europe where they still live in exile today.
|Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and his Family|