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|Emperor of Alaska|
|Reign||August 12, 1964 - April 1, 1991|
|Coronation||25 August 1964|
|Aleksandr Mikhailovitch Dmitrov|
|House||House of Dmitrov|
|Father||Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevitch|
|Born|| February 2, 1919 |
|Died|| August 11, 1994 |
|Burial|| August 15, 1994 |
Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel, Sitka, Alaska
Aleksandr Mikhailovitch Dmitrov (Russ: Александр Микхаиловитч Дмитров) (2/4/1919-8/11/1994), who reigned under the regnal named Aleksandr III (Alexander III in the West), was the eighth Tsar of Alaska, reigning from 1964 until 1991. He ascended the throne upon the death of his cousin, Alexander II, in 1964, and oversaw the further reduction of the Tsar's power during his reign and expanded the office's role as that of a figurehead as opposed to having an actual role in government, often to the chagrin of the conservatives who were in power in the elected government for most of his reign. He was also Tsar during the economic boom of the late 1960's and early 1970's, as well as the successful 1976 World Cup and 1982 Olympics, both held in his country. However, his legacy was somewhat tarnished by the vast corruption uncovered in the late 1980's, and as the social movement known as the Revolution of 1991 took hold, he became the first and to date last Alaskan monarch to willingly abdicate the throne.
Aleksandr Mikhailovitch Dmitrov was born to Prince Michael (Mikhail), the youngest of Tsar Nikolai I's three sons. While his eldest uncle, Alexander (his namesake) was being groomed for the throne, the younger two Princes, Nicholas and Michael, were busy exploring business opportunities in trade, although both him and Alexander II took up duties in the Pacific War. However, Nicholas was killed at the Battle of Unalaska aboard the Anasenko, when the Japanese Navy sank the Alaskan Navy's flagship in one of history's greatest naval routs.
The death of his uncle when Alexander was a mere eight years old appears to have had a severe affect on the child - Alexander had never left Sitka, and so many believe that an early association about the dangers of leaving his comfort zone were formed at that time.
By all accounts, Prince Michael was at home even less after the death of his elder brother, traveling to the United States as official ambassador in the late 1920's and soon setting up a residence in New York. Alexander was brought to New York for several years during the Booming Thirties, where he encountered a varied cultural experience and learned to speak English fluently. In 1934, however, the family rushed back to Sitka for the coronation of his uncle, Alexander I.Alexander entered a military academy at the age of nineteen and received the rank of lieutenant. When the Siberian-Alaskan War broke out, Alexander insisted on serving on the front, perhaps to emulate his late uncle, and quickly earned a promotion in the field. "Captain Dmitrov," as he insisted to be called, earned the chagrin of military leaders who wanted to keep him safe by constantly seeking transfers to the most vicious of fighting. Eventually, Premier Yakov Saghovaryin approved a permanent transfer to the front for Alexander, with the reluctant permission of his uncle and father.
In 1948, with little under a year left in the war, Prince Michael died under mysterious circumstances, although signs indicated a suicide. Alexander, who had at this point been wounded three times and was now serving a safer position as a Major, despite being 29 years old, returned to Sitka to deliver a stirring eulogy for his father.
Alexander I had long admired his fiery nephew, but favored his own son, also named Alexander, for the usurpation of the throne upon his passing. Throughout the 1950's, during the Saghovaryin Era of Alaskan politics, the preparations were made for the eventual transition of power.
Secretary-General of the Army
Alexander Mikhailovitch, however, was a war hero. Saghovaryin had used the image of a member of the royal dynasty fighting side-by-side alongside the impoverished soldiers and the Native Alaskans to combat the Marxist Siberian threat as a cornerstone of his propaganda campaigns in the 1940's. Alexander was a national hero, and in 1954 Saghovaryin appointed him Secretary-General of the Army, to work alongside the Minister of Defence.
The rapport between Alexander and Saghovaryin was strong - the premier liked the prince and vice versa. However, Alexander disapproved of the near-dictatorial powers the premier assumed in the mid-1950's, and bizarre personality cult that had grown around him, similar to that fostered by Anasenko fifty years prior. When Alexander I died in 1960 and Saghovaryin resigned, Prince Alexander welcomed the coronation of his cousin as a moment to treasure.
With Alexander II's promised role as a progressive reformer, who pledged to take an active role in the governance of Alaska as "their beloved Tsar and surrogate father," Prince Alexander continued his work in modernizing the military. The Siberian-Alaskan War had been a brutal, vicious affair - new French and American guns and planes were imported during the late 1950's, and with the emergence of the Cold War, Alaska found itself a willing trade partner in the United States, who helped train and buffer the Alaskan military.
Assassination of Alexander II and Succession Controversy
The four year rule of Alexander II was one that began to become marked with social strife and turmoil. While the communist threat had subsided, Alexander II was a liberal-leaning leader, supporting vast, ambitious social-welfare programs, state-funded education programs and an overhaul of the abysmal health care system into a nationalized medicine program. He also believed in increasing the Tsar's role in the day-to-day affairs of the government to go along with the expansion of the Duma's oversight. In 1961, not long after the resignation and death of Saghovaryin, Alexander II appointed his cousin Aleksandr Mikhailovitch to the new title of Grand Duke of Alaska. While his own son, Nikolai Aleksandrovitch was studying at Harvard in the United States, Alexander II wanted his powerful and popular cousin to have a newfound role in the re-affirmation of the government in fighting corruption. The new Grand Duke was ambivalent about this role, but went along with his cousins wishes. After the Great Alaskan Earthquake on Good Friday, 1964, the Grand Duke was the figurehead of the government's recovery efforts, staying in Aleksandrgrad for two months after the earthquake to coordinate rescue and cleanup efforts.
On August 12th 1964, while traveling through earthquake-ravaged Kodiak, Alexander II was assassinated as he left his car to speak to striking shipyard workers. The assassins were found to be part of a greater Marxist conspiracy, according to a much-questioned government report filed by the Duma itself.
The young Crown Prince Nikolai immediately returned to Sitka to attempt to claim the throne. At the age of 22, he was eligible, but the country's entrenched elite felt that he was a remote figure to the Alaskan populace - having spent the past five years abroad, Nikolai's only actual time spent in the country was to be present for the death of his grandfather and the coronation of his father before returning to his studies at Harvard. Many members of the Duma, especially longtime backers of the Saghovaryin-Oropek coalition, were also worried that the young, idealist Nikolai would only further his father's grand schemes for liberal overhaul. As a result, the Duma held a referendum blocking the coronation, which they had the right to postpone under the Alaskan constitution.
Nikolai, in fury over the Duma's schemes (led by Saghovaryin's longtime ally Igor Golovko) announced that he would return immediately to the United States and continue to pursue his graduate business degree there, unless he was immediately coronated. Grand Duke Aleksandr advised Nikolai that continuing to aggravate the Duma would only cause further problems for him politically in the event he ever was coronated. When the Patriarch of Alaska, Pyotr II, announced that the Patriarchy would not side in the matter, Nikolai was suddenly without any real allies. The populace was still reeling from the assassination of the fallen Tsar and each day ticked by without a new Alaskan leader. Grand Duke Aleksandr stepped forward to announce that he would gladly assume the throne should Nikolai grant him the right - he saw the move as a compromise, to break the Duma's refusal to grant a coronation and to convince the hotheaded Crown Prince to back down and save the country from a continuing constitutional crisis and more anguish.
Finally, on August 24th, a whole twelve days after his father's death, Crown Prince Nikolai Aleksandrovitch announced that he would renounce his claim to the throne. In turn, Grand Duke Aleksandr, whose only child was his daughter Natasha Aleksandrovna, announced that should he ever die or abdicate, Nikolai would have claim to the throne before his daughter. The controversial altering of primogeniture caused outrage in the public - some accused the new Tsar of orchestrating a deal with the Duma to put him in power. However, the Duma accepted the terms and was relieved when he promised them the potential of a male on the throne as opposed to Princess Natasha.
On August 25th, Tsar Alexander III of Alaska was coronated in Sitka by Patriarch Pyotr II. The next day, Nikolai returned to the United States - the Crown Prince would not return to Alaska until 1982.
Due to the partisan, vicious nature of the post-Saghovaryin 1960's in Alaska, Alexander III did as he had planned to do and removed himself largely from the sphere of the Duma. During Igor Golovko's infamous roast of his colleagues in front of the Duma, Alexander received word of the dialogue and was noted to have actually audibly laughed and shaken his head, smiling. Alexander III did, however, assume a major role as the face of Alaska in the foreign policy sphere. Due to his personal dislike of Kirill Osopek and most members of the Duma from both major coalitions, Alexander often made foreign policy decisions and appearances without speaking to the Premier or his cabinet first. In 1966, during the brief Premiership of Konstantin Sarugin, Alexander dismissed three high-ranking ministers from their bureaucratic posts due to his disagreement with their implementation of policy. Sarugin protested and Alexander threatened to dismiss his entire cabinet if he did not ease off. Alexander, almost more than the conservatives in Duma, had a heavy hand in blocking liberal legislation during the fifteen month Premiership of Sarugin.
Alexander travelled overseas often and hosted foreign dignitaries at the Swan Palace at a staggering rate of two trips per month and three guests per month. One of the most famous pictures of Alexander III is of him playing golf with American President Richard Van Dyke and Governeur-General of Canada Francois Petterice in Kialgory during the North American Economic Summit in 1967.
With Golovko and Osopek old and weak by the late 1960's, Alexander with joy swore in numerous new Duma members after the 1968 general election, in which the conservatives won by a thin margin. The new premier, Stanislav Mergeyev, had built his political capital in the late 1950's and 1960's and was not an old Saghovaryin stalwart. Alexander III embraced Mergeyev's anti-corruption initiatives as the Kialgory Boom began in 1968.
Alexander III's recognition overseas made him an excellent spokesman for the Alaskan Empire - he spoke five languages fluently and by the early 1970's was one of the most respected and well-liked world leaders. In 1971, he secured Alaska's bid for the 1976 World Cup, despite strong bids from other nations of similar, mid-range economic status. The presence of the 1976 Cup was also expected to factor heavily into the booming city of Kialgory's 1982 or 1986 Olympic bids.
The economic and population boom across the country in the 1970's went hand in hand with a period of nearly even representation in the Duma by the liberal and conservative coalitions. The growing Moderate Party eventually chose to side with the liberals in the 1973 general election and it became clear that the Moderate Party now held the keys to the Duma's success - for six years, the conservatives would struggle to regrow themselves.
Alexander III, however, notably neglected many of the social projects he had inherited from his cousin and predecessor, and despite his encouragement of corruption reform under Mergeyev, once the Pushkin/Edmarovsky governments were in power during the 1970's, government-sponsored construction projects and the growing economy took a backseat to corruption reform. Alexander did help push a huge bill through the Duma in 1975 which hiked up rates on foreign oil companies, which helped usher in explosive growth of the Alaskan oil industry at home.Due to the enormous success of the 1976 World Cup, the Olympic Commission agreed to stage the 1982 Olympic Games in Kialgory. It was a huge victory for not only the liberal government but also Alexander, who personally handed the victorious French national soccer team the World Cup and declared, "We'll see you all again in six years!" in reference to the Olympic Games in front of the largest television audience in World Cup history. The moment vaulted Alaska into the consciousness of the world and made Alexander even more recognizable than he already was - and thus cemented his power alongside the Duma.
In March 1979, despite a strong showing by the liberal coalition in the general election, the Moderate Party's new, young leader Aleksey Valenko announced that his expanding party would form a coalition with the resurgent conservatives, thus giving them a majority government. Valenko was granted the position of Premier due to his decision, a much-maligned move in Alaska and a negative way to start the new coming decade.
The global economic boom of the 1970's came to an abrupt end in 1979-80 and Alaska's top-heavy economy was ravaged, sending the country into a deep recession. Valenko and the government passed an emergency financial "blanket act" to seize four failing major banks in late 1980 and created "profit pipelines" from oil companies to keep the country afloat. Alexander III made a speech in front of the Duma and the world on March 2nd, 1981, where he condemned "moderate communism" and essentially went head-to-head with Valenko in what was termed, "the Civil War in Sitka."Many expected that if Valenko and the Moderates were able to survive a general election in January 1982 after the Duma liquidated on December 13th, 1981, Alexander III would step down and allow Crown Prince Nikolai to take his place. Alexander III, however, had an even deeper personal feud with the liberal coalition's leadership, especially the Liberal Party's leader, Yuri Pushkin, the son of the late Premier Pushkin.
The January 1982 election was delayed on a technicality and Alexander III assumed emergency governmental primacy during the legislative and executive stoppage, taking control of all Cabinet bureaucracies and even the legislative authority reserved for the Duma. The much-touted political battle between the beloved Czar and the fiery young Premier fizzled, however, as Valenko and the Moderates managed to cut a new deal with the conservative wing of the Duma to maintain their coalition, and the Premier and his party survived the elections when they were held in early March. Alexander III invited Valenko to form a government the next day and the rivalry eroded as they approached the Kialgory Olympics, which injected newfound life and gusto into the country.
The rivalry with Valenko abated over time as both Czar and Premier focused on fighting the stronger opposition elements within the Liberal Party, who were up in arms during the 1980's. To appease the strong center-left wing of his party, Valenko proposed an ambitious anti-corruption measure in 1985 that had strong support from the Czar. Alexander III, in July 1985, gave a nationally televised address praising the efforts to rid of corruption in the Duma and in the various entrenched bureaucracies, lobbies and oligarchies.However, when the double news broke of an illegal Alaskan KGB operation on American soil to assassinate smugglers piping heroin into Alaska as well as the intricate governmental contacts that most criminals had, the anti-corruption wave Valenko had tried to set off turned into an anti-establishment frenzy across the country in the wake of the 1986 North-South Scandal, a publication of the findings of foreign spies Sergey Orlov and Vladimir Putin, who had uncovered deep connections between American crime figures and Alaskan politicians.
With near-anarchy and local government shutdowns ongoing throughout 1987, as well as the 1988 trial of three of his Cabinet members, Valenko resigned under disgrace and pressure as Premier and Iosef Antonov took his place and largely took the fall. Alexander III's reputation was also irreparably damaged due to his close friendship with many of the conservative politicians who were fingered in the investigation.
In 1989, Alexander III proposed a general election with mounting pressure on the government since one had not been held since the summer of 1986, but his calls for the election were declined by Antonov, who feared a "liberal landslide" should an election be called and the national government faced its second stoppage of the decade.
Revolution of 1991 and Abdication
Government Stoppage and Mass Revolt
The biggest problem facing Alexander III through most of 1990 was the fact that there was no functioning government at the legislative or executive level any longer, and that every local government was on its own while Antonov struggled with keeping the Duma in line. Alexander III proposed a dissolution of the Duma, the appointment of an interim Premier and then a transitional authority, but was concerned about the effects of dissolution due to the disastrous results the measure had afforded when practiced before in the 1920's, 30's and 40's.
Pundits in Alaska and the United States agreed that Alexander III would likely have to abdicate in the event of a dissolution of government as a sign of good faith to the Duma, since he was now essentially the dictator of the country. Alexander III dismissed the heads of every bureaucratic department in Sitka and closed the Financial Ministry in Aleksandrgrad to appoint new members. For three months in 1990, the country was at a complete standstill and in near-economic ruins as the Duma refused to meet as a body.
Alexander III allotted a tremendous amount of power to the more liberal Crown Prince Nikolai in late 1990, hoping that a "dual monarchy" would appease critics who accused Alexander of trying to suppress the liberals in the Duma through his stronghanded tactics. Dan Quagle of NBC's influential Tonight announced that Alaska was seeing the "death throes of its monarchy" and predicted that Alexander III would likely be the last monarch of the Empire of Alaska. In November 1990, a mass revolt erupted in the industrial east, resulting in nearly 300 deaths in Kialgory, Novominsk, Evgenigrad and Mikhailgrad. Alexander locked himself in at Severovsky Castle with the leaders of the Duma, including Antonov and Liberal Party leader Boris Molotov, to hash out an agreement and end the nearly year-long government stoppage.
Midnight Agreement and Constitutional Crisis
After a year of on-and-off government stoppages, takeovers by the monarchy and bureaucratic "resets," Alexander hoped to bring a lasting agreement to the table in January 1991. Antonov and Molotov at last agreed to a set of compromise terms that Alexander suggested and the Duma returned to work on January 25th, 1991 with promises of "permanent progress."
However, Antonov soon refused the demands of Alexander and the Liberals to hold a general election that summer. Antonov set a general election date for fall 1992 to give him time to organize support in local elections. The mass revolts kicked up again and Alexander was forced to move to dissolve the Duma, only a month after having hoped that his "Midnight Agreement" would have saved the country.
In turn, Antonov and the chiefs of the conservative coalition, which was stronger than Molotov's fragmented liberal wing, refused the terms of dissolution and introduced a measure to unseat the monarch. Alexander then announced an immediate government stoppage and closed all bureaucratic headquarters in Sitka, essentially crippling the country again.
Alexander was well aware that his health was failing slowly but surely and that his struggle with appeasing both sides of the Duma was near impossible. His longtime devotion to the conservatives had somehow kept Antonov alive and now his only hope was to remove himself from the equation. He wrote in his journal that he felt that he himself was somehow a part of the problem in Alaska, despite his best efforts to curb the issues affecting the nation, and that he would immediately forfeit his claim to the crown.
On April 1st, 1991, Alexander III of Alaska stepped aside and allowed his cousin's son to be coronated Nicholas (Nikolai) II of Alaska. As agreed upon with his predecessor, Nicholas dissolved the Duma twice in 1991 before he was finally able to force another government stoppage in 1992 and finally force Antonov's hand into holding a general election, which Molotov won handily.
Post-Reign and DeathAleksandr travelled to Paris in 1991 shortly after his abdication and spent an unheard-of four weeks as the personal guest of Emperor Albert II. He then embarked on a four-month speaking tour across Europe, including a lauded one in Russia. He met with the Pope in Rome, the Patriarchs of Athens and Alexandria during a tour of the Ottoman Empire, and spent significant time in Tibet. In November of 1992, after travelling the world, he finally arrived in Los Angeles, where he spoke in front of a crowd of nearly 30,000 at the Rose Bowl.
In the spring of 1993, Aleksandr fell ill while visiting Kialgory and he returned to Sitka. He was diagnosed with cancer and he battled the illness into 1994. In June, he finally refused treatment and made one final speaking appearance on August 1st, 1994, in front of the Duma. He left the hall with a standing ovation.
On August 11th, 1994, Alexander III of Alaska died in his sleep. He would die one day before the 30th anniversary of his predecessor and cousin's death. His state funeral was held at the Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel in Sitka and his funeral procession rivaled that which met his predecessor's, and was even larger than Sighovaryin's. He was interred at a private mausoleum he had built for himself and his wife, Oksana, at his home thirty miles east of Sitka.
His autobiography, A Warrior and a Tsar, was published in 1996, compiled from notes he had written during the final years of his reign, his world tour and his lengthy illness. A second autobiography, using the leftovers, was published in 2001 under the title Alexander the Great, a name more commonly associated with his uncle, Alexander I.
His wife, Tsarina Oksana Ivanovna, died in 1998, and was interred alongside her husband. His daughter, Natasha, served as the chairwoman of the Royal Medical Institute, having earned her medical degree from the University of Chicago in 1971. She took the office in 1995 and retired in 2008 after her 63rd birthday.