On April 2, 1879, the third attempt on Russian Tsar Alexander the Second’s life failed.
Alexander II was known as "the Liberator" for making numerous reforms, which included abolishing serfdom, but his authority was challenged by many and several assassination attempts followed.
The first attempt on the tsar’s life was in 1866. Alexander was taking a walk with his nephew when a young man, Dmitry Karakozov, appeared from a crowd pointed a gun at him. Two versions exist on what happened next. According to some, the shooter missed his aim because of his inexperience in handling the weapon. Others suggest that the gun was pushed away at the last moment by a bystander, with the bullet just missing Alexander’s head. Either way, Karakozov was caught before he could make another shot and subsequently sentenced to death by hanging.
The following year Alexander was visiting Paris. Along with his children and French Emperor Napoleon III, Alexander was riding in an open horse carriage. Among the rejoicing throng awaiting the official procession was Anton Berezovsky. When the royal carriage was near, he twice fired a gun at Alexander II. Thanks to Napoleon’s brave security officer, who noticed Berezovsky in the crowd just in time and pushed away his hand, the bullets missed the Russian tsar, wounding just the horse. Alexander escaped death again. Berezovsky’s reason for the attempt was revenge on tsar who suppressed the January Uprising in Poland, which was part of the Russian Empire at the time.
After miraculously surviving two attempts on his life, Alexander did not increase the number of his security guards and did not go into hiding. He continued to attend social functions and freely rode around the city, but he became more repressive on more popular revolutionary members and made many arrests. It put a stop to the assassination attempts, but only temporarily.
In the middle of the 1870’s a new wave of revolutionaries criticizing the tsar began once more. On this day in 1879 Alexander was near his palace, when Aleksandr Solovyov shot at him five times. Alexander managed to dodge bullets once more. Guards captured Solovyov and he was hanged soon after. This became the last unsuccessful assassination attempt on Alexander’s life.
In 1881 he was killed on the streets of St. Petersburg by a bomb thrown by a member of the revolutionary ‘People’s Will’ group.