Alexander II (Russian: Александр II Николаевич, transliterated Aleksandr II Nikolayevich) was the Emperor of Russia from 2 March 1855 until his assassination on 13 March 1881. He was also the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland.
Alexander's most significant reform as Emperor was emancipation of Russia's serfs in 1861, for which he is known as Alexander the Liberator (Russian: Александр Освободитель). The tsar was responsible for other reforms, including reorganising the judicial system, setting up elected local judges, abolishing corporal punishment, promoting local self-government through the zemstvo system, imposing universal military service, ending some privileges of the nobility, and promoting university education. After an assassination attempt in 1866, Alexander adopted a somewhat more reactionary stance until his death.
Alexander pivoted towards foreign policy and sold Alaska to United States in 1867, fearing the remote colony would fall into British hands if there were another war. He sought peace, moved away from bellicose France when Napoleon III fell in 1871, and in 1872 joined with Germany and Austria in the League of the Three Emperors that stabilized the European situation. Despite his otherwise pacifist foreign policy, he fought a brief war with the Ottoman Empire in 1877-78, pursued further expansion into Siberia and the Caucasus, and conquered Turkestan. Although disappointed by the results of the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Alexander abided by that agreement. Among his greatest domestic challenges was an uprising in Poland in 1863, to which he responded by stripping that land of its separate constitution and incorporating it directly into Russia. Alexander was proposing additional parliamentary reforms to counter the rise of nascent revolutionary and anarchistic movements when he was assassinated in 1881.