As a major European power, Russia could not escape the wars involving revolutionary and Napoleonic France. Paul became an adamant opponent of France, and Russia joined Britain and Austria in a war against France. Russian troops under one of Russia's most famous generals, Aleksandr Suvorov, performed brilliantly in Italy and Switzerland. Paul, however, reversed himself and abandoned his allies. This reversal, coupled with increasingly arbitrary domestic policies, sparked a coup, and in March 1801 Paul was assassinated.
The new tsar, Alexander I (1801-25), came to the throne as the result of the murder of his father, in which he was implicated.