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Tzar Nicholas I
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    (July 6, 1796-March 2, 1855)
    Born in Gatchina, Russian Federation
    Emperor of Russia (1825-55)
    He had three kids out of wedlock.
    He increased censorship in education and publishing, and ran a huge network of spies and informers.
    He also suppressed dissent abroad, sending an army into the Austrian empire to put down a revolt in Hungary.
    He was rumored to have poisoned himself over Russia's impending defeat by Britain and France in the Crimean War.
    One of his most devoted civil servants said, 'The main failing of the reign of Nicholas was that it was all a mistake.'
    He was not raised to be tzar, since he had two older brothers.
    When his brother Constantine renounced his claim to the throne (1822), no one made the news public.
    As a result, when his oldest brother, Tzar Alexander I died, 3,000 soldiers revolted, trying to put Constantine on the throne.
    Shortly before his death, he urged his son, Tzar Alexander II, to abolish serfdom.

Credit: C. Fishel

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