Both Alexander II and Nicholas II along with Peter the Great and Catherine the great are the most well known Tsarist rulers of Russia. However Alexander II and Nicholas II made completely different contributions to the institution of the monarchy. Alexander the II is know for making some of the most extensive reforms in imperial Russian history, reforms which included:
- Liberating the serfs
- Universal military conscription
- Reforms and modernization of the Army and Navy
- Judicial and civil reforms
- Bureaucratic reforms
- Tax and other economic reforms
All these reforms had the effect of strengthening the Russian state and monarchy. Contrast this with the reign of Tsar Nicholas the II, who was the last imperial ruler of Russia. He is best known for his disastrous leadership of the Russian empire during the First World War and his ineffective attempts at democratization which only resulted in civil strife and discontent.