Alexander was the son of Grand Prince Mikhail of Russia and became Grand Prince himself in 1326 on the execution of his older brother Dmitry II by the Mongols who then controlled Russia. Alexander was from the city of Tver, and he had cousins/rivals from Moscow who wanted the Grand Prince's position.

In 1327 the people of Tver rebelled against the Mongols, though Alexander had nothing to do with the rebellion. In the fighting, an envoy who was a cousin of the Mongol Khan was killed. The Mongols sent a punitive expedition with the cooperation of Ivan of Moscow, and Alexander fled to Pskov, farther west, and eventually to Lithuania when Ivan-led troops headed toward Pskov. Ivan I became Grand Prince.

Alexander returned to Pskov in 1331 with Lithuanian backing. He ruled there as prince, and in 1337 the Khan called him to Sarai, the Mongol capital, and made him prince of Tver (but not Grand Prince) again. However, in 1339 the Khan summoned him to Sarai again and had him executed.