Alexander II was known as the liberator of serfs, because under his rule, in 1861, serfs were granted the freedom to marry without having to gain consent, to own property, and to own businesses. In 1862, Alexander II signed off on the ethnic cleansing of Circassians that began as a simple resettlement, and led to (by official Tsarist documents, more by other accounts) over 400,000 deaths. Circassians in fact protest the 2014 Olympics in Sochi being that it was the supposed site of their final expulsion. [more inside]
World War I in Color is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
Veuve Clicquot- oldest drinkable fizzy grape juice? A missing shipment of some fine French vino, that Luis XVI sent over to the Tsar of the Russias, may have been located, and are currently being confirmed by the home vintners.
Czar Nicholas II was an early and ardent fan of film, and commanded that some of the significant events of his life be captured on celluloid: including his coronation in 1896 (the first film of a state occasion anywhere, nicely narrated and expanded upon at the HowStuffWorks video site), and the retreat with his family in 1917 (a repost from the excellent but difficult to navigate WPA Film Library). More (still, color) film from Czarist Russia previously on Metafilter.