Alexander II (1855 – 1881) Alexander II Nikolaevitch (born April 17, 1818 in Moscow; died March 13, 1881 in St. Petersburg) was the Tsar (Emperor) of Russia from March 2, 1855 until his assassination in 1881. He was also the Grand Duke of Finland. Alexander succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father in 1855. The first year of his reign was devoted to the prosecution of the Crimean War, and after the fall of Sevastopol to negotiations for peace, led by his trusted counselor, Prince Gorchakov. Then he began a period of radical reforms, encouraged by public opinion but carried out with autocratic power.