Tsar Nicholas plays the most significant role in his own downfall and the downfall of the Russian monarchy. Nicholas, who was ill prepared for tsardom wrote his own death warrant with his action as ruler, his disconnection from and strangle hold over the Russian people and his inability to accept and instigate change within his empire and bend to the needs of his people and parliament which led to revolts among the people and instability within the country. But the final blow to Nicholas’s rule came in the form of the First World War, which was the final straw for the people of Russia who fought back against Nicholas and his terrible and fatal economic and strategic decisions during the war, and brought down the monarchy in a violent and bloody civil war.
Nicholas was ill prepared for his ascension to the throne. He admits as much when he inherits the throne in 1894 ‘I am not prepared to be tsar. I never wanted to become one. I know nothing of the business of ruling. I have no idea of even how to talk to ministers.’ Nicholas believed that it was his god given right to be ruler and even though he had reservations about being tsar he held fiercely onto his autocracy until 1905 when the October manifesto was introduced. His reluctance to release any of his powers meant that any problems involving the country could be directly blamed on him. Thus giving the people a single person to blame.
Russia’s push for industrialisation meant that thousands of workers were moving into cities from the country to find work in factories. In St. Petersburg alone there was a population increase of 55% between 1881 and 1900 by 1900 Russia had 2500000 workers within its urban surrounds. Here is where Nicholas’s problems occur. The Russian workers were living in close unsanitary quarters unfit for living and often working 12 hour shifts, it was not uncommon for workers to die from these conditions. But because of Nicholas’s regime and rigidity the people had nowhere to voice their complaints and seek improvement, as any union groups were illegal. This created frustration and anger among the workers, and living among so many others it was easy to organise protests such as the strikes of 1905. Adding to the rising dissatisfaction of the people were the illegal revolutionary parties such as the social democrats and the socialist revolutionaries who had a willing audience for political change amongst the workers.
As the people of Russia became more and more ill content with the tsars reign more and more illegal parties appeared, these included the liberals who were the most peaceful and wanted a peaceful revolution during which the government could be improved and to instate a parliamentary system like the British democratic system, with which the tsar could work closely with as a constitutional monarch. The liberals gained support mainly from the middle class and a few of the nobles who held the same views. The socialists held a more radical view, that the whole governmental system in Russia needed to be remade, and the only way to do this was to over throw the tsar and his regime. The socialist were split into three main groups, the socialist revolutionaries they aimed to take land from the land owners and share it out amongst the peasants, they were renowned for their terror campaigns against the tsarist regime. The other two parties were the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks both parties followed the ideals of theorist Karl Marx who promoted profit for all and not just the individual, this idea was called Marxism. The two parties differed in their ideas of how best to run a revolution. The Bolsheviks believed in having a small strictly organised party while the Mensheviks believed in an open party with wide membership amongst the workers to spread the Marxist ideals. The final group opposing the tsar and his rule were the nationalists, the ethnic minorities, who were mainly against the Tsar’s rustification. The tsar however