Konstantin Nikolaevich

Konstantin Nikolaevich

 

Born Sept. 9 (21), 1827, in St. Petersburg; died Jan. 13 (25), 1892, in Pavlovsk, now in Leningrad Oblast. Russian grand duke; second son of Emperor Nicholas I; brother of Emperor Alexander II; admiral (1831).

Konstantin was raised under the guidance of Admiral F. P. Litke. From 1850 he was a member of the State Council and chairman of the Committee for the Review of Naval Regulations. In 1852 he was assistant to the chief of the Naval Head-quarters. From 1853 he was acting director of the Ministry of the Navy, and between 1855 and 1881 he was its director. He held moderately liberal views and gave assistance to the progressive activity of Admiral G. I. Butakov, Admiral A. A. Popov, and others for the creation of a fleet of military steamships and for the reform of the navy (by introduction of new regulations, the abolition of corporal punishment, etc.)

In the 1850’s, Konstantin’s circle was the center of the liberal bureaucracy, which was discussing the need to abolish serfdom and to carry out other bourgeois reforms. In 1857 he became a member of the secret Committee on the Peasant Question, and in 1860 he became chairman of the Chief Committee on the Peasant Question. He took part in the preparations for the abolition of serfdom and later lent his support to the judicial reform of 1864. From 1862 to 1863 he was viceroy of the Kingdom of Poland. While the national liberation movement in Poland grew, he carried out halfway measures; thus he aroused the dissatisfaction of both democratic and reactionary circles. From 1865 to 1881 he was chairman of the State Council.

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