Before 1917,
Russia was the largest country under one empire. However, on July 17th, at
approximately 1 a.m., the Romanov family was murdered at a mansion in the city
of Ekaterinburg. The Russian Revolution was caused by the effects of the
public opinion of the Romanov family. The tsar was
considered by some, the symbol of Russia’s failing or the power they were
trying to get rid of. There was very little experience in government and the
revolution was triggered by the poor decision making of the Tsar.  Being one of the most seminal events during
the 20th century it continues to be in the minds of people who live there and
still provokes a terrible fascination today. However, while the Romanov’s
political position was finished in Russia, the story of the Tsar that caused
the Revolution continues to be thought of by many.

 

        First, one of the initial problems with
the Romanov family was that the Tsar was considered by many a symbol of
Russia’s failings or the power that they were trying to get rid of. Throughout
Russian history, Russia was always thought to be a force to be reckoned with,
with an impenetrable army. While the Tsar was ruling the Russian army, Russia
had endured many defeats, some of which affected the soldiers quite harshly. An
example of this is, “The fall of
Tsarism is the psychological effect of WW1 on returning soldiers … This is
because the Russian’s suffered a series of defeats… this damaged Russian
prestige so much that the frontline subsequently collapsed” (Bos,
2018). As the Russians began to lose more battles, the Tsar began to lose his
followers. People began to lose family members and soldiers were treated very
poorly. There were drastic supply problems which created suspicion among the
people that the loss of battles was due to the fact that the soldiers weren’t
supplied properly and were guided without any professional background because
the Tsar had no form of formal military training. Suspicion began to arise among
the Russian people because they had no faith in Nicholas. Aside from the
battlefield his wife wasn’t doing much better with the people back in Russia.
An example of this is, “With
no experience at all in politics Alexandra managed to wreak havoc within
government. It was a disaster and was surely the turning point for the all the
horror that would unravel towards the end of the war” (Biography, 2016). As
well, many Russians and troops were left exposed to political indecision
resulting in loss of food shelter and munitions. This shows that after
Nicholas left his German wife, the Tsarina
Alexandra to govern it was in a time of political instability, making it a very
poor decision. Firstly, she wasn’t liked because she was suspicious to Russians
because of her German roots. As well, she was viewed as a weak leader whom is
easily misguided. This was a widely thought about issue because of the
influence of her confidant Rasputin. 
This caused a large amount of rumors about his relationship with the
Tsarina, especially as he oversaw constant ministerial changes. This was shown
when Trotsky said that the Tsar is simply, “not fit to run a village post
office” (Biography, 2016) This was said after the Russians had lost the
Russo- Japanese war. This shows that the loss of this war was arguably the
greatest incident that lead to the revolution of 1905 because of its
significance and how it affected the public opinion of the Romanov family. This
defeat was humiliating as it was the first time that a European nation had lost
to an Asian one. “It exposed Russia’s inept military and bureaucracy. The
loss acted as a catalyst to the revolution, however the immediate cause was an
event called Black Sunday, when a peaceful march of 150,000 St Petersburg
workers hoping to bring a petition to the Tsar were shot by Cossack troops killing
an estimated 1,000 people” (Batra, 2015). This was the last time the Tsar
was called the ‘Father of the People’ which destroyed the myth that Gods
appointed the Tsar. As well, he was a symbol of failure to Russian’s because he
had managed to destroy Russian prestige in a very short period of time.

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         Another contribution to the poor
opinion of the Tsar was that there was very little experience in government.  Even before he came into
power the Tsar knew he was not prepared to rule over Russia. Shortly after he
came into power the Tsar wrote in 1894, “I am not prepared to be the Tsar.
I never wanted to become one. I know nothing of the business of ruling.”
(Batra, 2015). This shows the very little
experience that Nicholas II had. An example of this is after he had become the
Tsar, he decided to fire his uncle, Nicolai, as commander-in-chief. After many
defeats, he led the army very poorly. However, it was not surprising to the
people because he had no experience whatsoever. 
This only raised tensions in the army, and undermined Nicholas II. The
defeats made it easy to argue that his removal was a way to secure victory for
Russia. People quickly started to realize the Tsar was far from suitable to
hold the Russian throne and that something had to be done to secure Russia’s
reputation. An example of this is, “None of the
military decisions made between his assumption of command and his abdication in
1916 owed anything to his input. Instead, familiarity bred neglect. The tsar
was no longer a figure of awe and mystery” (Tutor, 2016). This proves that
Russia’s strong reputation was slowly getting weaker. Nicholas’ reputation led
countries to believe that it was a good time to take advantage of Russia’s
vulnerability at the time. Specifically, to the French and British governments,
it was deemed as a good opportunity to battle the tsar’s government. One of the
French General Staff stated, “One key to the salvation of France lay in
immediately setting the Russian colossus in motion” (Massie, 1967).  While the Tsar was taking care of war measures
he left his wife authority over Russian government, this proved to be a poor
decision as she had just as little experience as him with a very bad reputation
from the people.  This frustrated the
Russian’s because they were not only being misled on the battlefields but
mislead in their own country as well, due to extreme lack of experience. Many
believed that Alexandra would complete the devastation of the Russian’s. This
had proven to be the last straw for the Russians as it also bothered the people
that a woman was in charge, let alone a German- born one. Her bad reputation
just added to the conflict in Russia because it was believed that Alexandra was
used to help Germany while backstabbing Russia.

 

 

         Lastly, many incidents that the Tsar may have neglected to think about
or miscalculated were conducted poorly. 
“Nicholas was raised in
the Imperial Family where monarchs wielded power over, but didn’t talk to,
their subjects. Unless it was opportune, rulers rarely looked at the living and
working conditions of the ruled” (Bos, 2018). This suggests that had the
Tsar talked to his subjects, he would have
understood the desperation of the poor and had he visited some of the
factories, he would have seen the terrible conditions and could have
potentially altered the way things were going in Russia. Tsar Nicholas was
known to be a stubborn man. Stuck in his ways, the Russians felt there was no
room for change in Russia for as long as the Tsar was in charge. For example, “By
insisting on old ways of the past, he wrote himself out of a place in the
future” (Massie, 1967). This
shows that if he had tried to make improvements to the Russian Empire there
would have been a bright new Empire for Russia to grow into. Some reasons this
failed to happen was because he failed to grasp that his country and he needed
some measure of change. As well, he didn’t realize that the Russian system was
beginning to take a toll. Lastly, once the impulse of radical change had
started he was ineffective in trying to stop it. “To celebrate his marriage to Alexandra, Nicholas
held a customary banquet for his subjects. This traditional wedding feast
turned into a stampeding mass of humanity as people – trying to grab morsels of
food – crushed each other” (Cox, 2017). After the banquet was
finished many people died, and Nicholas was
criticized for not canceling plans to attend a celebratory ball in his honor.
His uncles encouraged him to attend the ball, because they felt it would be
rude not to attend. It was unprofessional and not appropriate for a man like
the Tsar to throw such a banquet without thinking about the repercussions this
event may have, therefore; it left a very bad impression on the Tsar by his
people.

 

      
Russia has been forever changed since the revolution. The Tsar had a
public opinion that was negative by most which led to the Revolution. His
personality and weak-minded nature created complications for him because he
neglected to notice and attempt to fix many situations thoughtfully. His
solutions to “fixing” Russia made it so much more noticeable that he had very
little previous experience in government and in fact made things worse. This in
turn meant that he was a constant symbol of Russia’s failings which led to
vulnerability throughout Russia. After
Lenin’s government secured power, its first major goal was to get Russia out
of the War. After his Decree on Peace, Lenin sent out diplomatic notes
calling for everyone to stop fighting immediately if they did not want Russia
to seek a separate peace. The effort was ignored, however; on December 15,
Russia signed an armistice with Germany and Austria. In the peace, Lenin
consented to give up most of Russia’s territorial gains. Eventually, the
Soviets would regain these territories at the end of World War II. However,
Russia remains a communist country with arguably more issues now than ever
before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Bibliography

 

Batra, V.
(2015, November). THe successes and failures of Tsar Nicholas ll Between
1894 and 1917. Retrieved from Vedant blog: https://vedantbatra.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/the-successes-and-failures-of-nicholas-ii-between-1894-and-1917/

 

Biography.
(2016, August 25). Alexandra Feodorovna. Retrieved from The
Biography.com : https://www.biography.com/people/alexandra-feodorovna-37295

 

Bos, C.
(2018, January 17). Nicholas ll Abdicates. Retrieved from
Awesomestories.com: https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/NICHOLAS-II-ABDICATES-Nicholas-and-Alexandra

 

Cox, S.
(2017, August 15). End of Empire. Retrieved from ati: http://all-that-is-interesting.com/romanovs-last-days

 

Paléolque,
M. (1923). An Ambassador’s Memoirs. Retrieved from New York Doran: http://portalus.ru/modules/english_russia/rus_readme.php?subaction=showfull=1188908984===&>

 

Tutor, M.
(2016). Why did the Romanov Dynasty Collapse in 1917? Retrieved from My
tutor : https://www.mytutor.co.uk/answers/1939/A-Level/History/Why-did-the-Romanov-dynasty-collapse-in-1917>

 

Massie, R.
K. (1967). Nicholas and Alexander The story of the love that ended an empier .
In R. K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexander The story of the love that ended an
empier (p. 293). Canada, Toronto: Atheneum Publishers .

 

 

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