Russian emperor Alexander III (reigned 1881-1894), the country’s second-to-last monarch, was one of its most beloved and respected.
He presided over an era of peaceful development in which the nation fought no major wars, and Russia was united around the ideals of God, Tsar, and Country.
Nevertheless, Alexander ensured Russia had an adequate military establishment. Believing western powers could not be trusted, he stated that in the long term, Russia had better only rely on herself.
Hence one of his most famous quotations:
Russia has only two allies: her army and her fleet
Nowadays, it seems like not much has changed in the West’s treatment of Russia.
And Alexander III’s wisdom has not been lost on the country’s current leader, Vladimir Putin – who has taken the lesson to heart:
I would like to remind you Alexander III, our emperor, once said that Russia has just two allies, the armed forces and the navy. In a message addressed to his son he warned that everybody feels scared at the vastness of Russia…
We will certainly be strengthening our defence precisely for the sake of ensuring nobody develops the wish to be at war with Russia.