In 1825, Tsar Aleksandr I of Russia died. His brother, Nicholas I, succeeded him.
Certain military officers revolted at the time, calling for a written constitution and for modernizing Russia. (This was the so called 'Decembrist Revolt'.)
The revolt was suppressed and their leader was ordered hanged.
At the time of the execution, the leader was brought out, the rope put around his neck, but then broke, and the revolutionary leader fell to the ground, unhurt.
Now, in Old Russian tradition, such an occurrence was a sign of God that the man should be spared. (It was also sometimes a sign that the authorities didn't really want to go through with the execution and would use a weak rope to make their point.)
So anyway, Tsar Nicholas began to sign the writ of commutation and asked what the man's reaction was to surviving his hanging.
The witnesses spoke an uncomfortable truth. "'They cannot even make a proper rope in Russia,'" the man had growled.
The Tsar growled and tore the writ in half. "We shall prove him wrong," he said.
And they did.