Czar Alexander III
Being the Emperor of Russia
Czar Alexander II (1845-1894) became Emperor of Russia in 1881 following the assassination of his father, Alexander II. He used the assassination as an excuse to suppress civil liberties, unleash a brutal police force, and violently suppress any form of dissent. He also imposed a series of measures called the May Laws, severely restricting Jewish housing, property, and business rights, and later establishing quotas on Jewish students and doctors, curtailing Jewish political participation, and expelling some 20,000 Jews from Moscow. These May Laws were harsh enough that more than 2.5 million Jews eventually fled Russia, kindling a greater interest in Zionism and Palestine.