Czar Nicholas II
Czar Nicholas II came to power in 1894. He believed in his father, Alexander III’s, belief that absolute power of the tsars should be preserved. However Nicholas II lacked the vision and responsibility required of a leader. Nicholas II allowed many of his decisions to be heavily controlled by his wife, Alexandra, and a peasant named Rasputin. Rasputin was able to stop their hemophiliac son from bleeding so Alexandra and Nicholas trusted everything Rasputin said. Also, Tsar Nicholas II felt a moral responsibility for Russia and decided to take control of the army despite the fact that he had no experience. In addition to poor leadership, Russia was unable to produce all the weapons needed for the army. This left the military ill lead and ill armed, which made Russia suffer terrible losses in war. The Russian people were appalled by the incompetent and inefficient bureaucracy of the political and military system which led to strikes and ultimately the Tsar and his family’s execution in 1918.
Alexandra was the wife of Tsar Nicholas II. She was of German decent which left her unpopular with the Russian people. When their only son and heir to the throne, Alexei, was born a hemophiliac and no doctors could help, Alexandra turned to a holy man named Rasputin. Alexandra believed that Rasputin cured her son and because Nicholas relied on his wife’s judgment, Rasputin was allowed into the court. Alexandra and Nicholas relied heavily on Rasputin for Alexei’s health. This reliance gave Rasputin immense political power, which undermined the rule of Nicholas II. Because Nicholas took so much political advice from his wife and Rasputin, it left the Russian people dissatisfied with him, taking advice from a woman and a peasant. This distrust in government ultimately lead to the execution of their family.
Rasputin was a holy man who Queen Alexandra believed cured her hemophiliac son Alexei. Because he was so trusted by Alexandra, he became an advisor to the Romanovs. Rasputin was referred to by the Tsar as "our friend" and a "holy man”. The Romanov family placed a lot of trust in him. Rasputin had a large personal and political influence on Alexandra and the Tsar. Alexandra believed he was a man of God and a religious prophet. Alexandra came to believe that God spoke to her through Rasputin. This gave Rasputin, born a peasant, immense political power. Rasputin used his position with the Romanovs to gain power and status. The Russian people did not approve of a peasant having such power and believed that his influence over Alexandra made him a threat to the empire. This led to his assassination in 1916.
Karl Marx was a German philosopher who was a major contributor to the philosophies of the Communist Party. Marx published his ideas in “The Communist Manifesto” and “Das Kapital”. These publications heavily influenced the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks during the Russian Revolution. Marx believed that for a society to reach Communism, it had to go through 6 steps: Primitive Communism, slave society, Feudalism, Capitalism, Socialism, and then Communism. Marx believed that everything came down to class conflict and to get to a state of classless utopia, each stage had to be followed. Like Marx, the Mensheviks believed that each stage had to naturally occur before revolution could bring about change to the next stage. However, Lenin and the Bolsheviks believed that Russia was ready for a top down revolution of the elite. This sparked Lenin to lead a Revolution against the Tsarist government in an effort to reach Communism.
The Romanovs were the last imperial dynasty to rule over Russia. From 1801-1917 the tsars were Alexander I, Nicholas I, Alexander II, Alexander III, and Nicholas II. They ruled from 1613-1917 when the monarchy was overthrown during the March Revolution.