1925: Emperor Nicholas I's accession to the throne
On 19 November 1825 the Emperor Alexander I died and the succession passed to his brother, Grand Prince Constantine Pavlovich. Constantine, however, rejected the throne and thus the younger brother, Nikolay, was to be the new Emperor. The ceremony of swearing loyalty to Nicholas I was to take place on Senate Square on 14 December 1825, but Nicholas was renowned for his severity and extremely conservative political views and a large number of young officers of aristocratic birth sought to prevent his ascension to the throne. They stirred up a rebellion against the autocracy and serfdom - not against the monarchy as such - in an effort to introduce much needed political reform. But the rebellion was cruelly suppressed, some of the participants being shot and many others sent into exile. They came to be known as the Decembrists after the date of the revolt.
Sadly, the result of the uprising was to make Nicholas I even more strict in his political repression, exacting unwavering support both for his policies and for himself personally. Yet during his reign the Emperor did much to enrich the imperial art collections and in 1852 the Emperor founded the Imperial Hermitage Museum, which was to be open to the public - or at least to gentlefolk.
Portrait of Nicholas I