Alexander’s reforms triggered political unrest. Considered an unnecessary luxury, the Imperial Porcelain Factory went into decline. As a cost-cutting measure, the Factory produced numerous additions to existing palace services without venturing into extensive new projects. A notable exception was the Derzhava Yacht Service made in 1873 and decorated with the nautical motif of ship riggings, anchors and chains. The orb on the plates symbolized sovereign power, derzhava in Russian.

Alexander’s Imperial yacht Derzhava was stationed in the Gulf of Finland near Peterhof where the Imperial family stayed during the warm months. Alexander prepared the Emancipation Edict while staying in his Farm Palace in Peterhof. At the Farm Palace, Alexander continued to use the Banquet Service and the Farm Service presented to him by his father Nicholas I on the occasion of his wedding to Princess Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt. The Tsar often traveled between Peterhof and St. Petersburg across the shallow Gulf of Finland on his Baltic Sea yacht. The Livadia Yacht Service was made for the Livadia yacht stationed in the Black Sea, near the Tsar’s Livadia Palace in Crimea.

Extensive reforms notwithstanding, public discontent grew. Liberals demanded a constitutional government, while nihilists and anarchists called for the abolition of the state and the assassination of its leaders. Young radicals made Russia a land of terrorism. Bombs exploded in palaces and governmental offices. Alexander survived six attempts on his life. On March 1, 1881, the Tsar Liberator was killed by a terrorist bomb.


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