The Decembrists

The Decembrists were, however unfortunately for themselves, just another group of revolutionaries that failed to make an impact or bring about a change.  They fought to put the rightful heir, Constantine, on the throne, rather than Nicholas. The strange part of the revolution is that Constantine renounced his claim to the throne years before, but Alexander kept this secret from the public until his death.

After the passing of Alexander in December of 1825, a small group of officers and soldiers (numbering about 3000) marched on the palace. Their hope was to overthrow Nicholas, who wasn’t yet fully recognized as the next tsar, and have Constantine take the throne. The Decembrists were quickly and easily defeated by forces loyal to Nicholas, but their actions caused a small amount of other units in South Russia to rebel as well. These units were also stopped quickly.

Despite the ease with which Nicholas defeated the revolt, it needn’t have happened at all. In 1823, Constantine legally denounced his claim to the throne, making Nicholas the next tsar in line. Alexander did not reveal this information, though; rather, it was kept secret from the public until the time of Alexander’s passing.

I think that Alexander kept this information a secret because he expected a revolt to occur upon the public finding out that Constantine would not be his successor. This way, should any group try to make a move to take the throne from Nicholas and put Constantine on it, they would not have had the time to prepare properly. Without having months to prepare a coup d’etat, any conspirators would not have the support, the structure, or the plans to be successful.