Maybe it was fated for Russia to become a democracy or a socialist state; for all signs pointed towards an empty throne. Tsardom, in Russia, had proved successful in the past as the Tsar carefully managed his power and, at least in the Golden years of the Tsarist era, somewhat appeased or completely suppressed the people. And the people did not expect much more in that the Tsar did not offer much more. As long as they stayed out of his pursuits, they lived to see the sun rise the next day (instead of seeing a firing squad taking aim at them).
But it was the evident weakness that the people saw in Tsar Nicholas II, and the manifest repercussions that rippled forcefully throughout the economic and social sectors of Russian life, that made the Imperial Throne no more than a threat to the people and the Crown: no more than a symbol of power, wantonly used because of insecurity. The conditions were right: the Revolution1 would take place. Tsar Nicholas II was an interesting Tsar; interesting in that he did possess any of the essential traits required for leadership.
To lack leadership traits in a country consisting of 150 million people all belonging to various ethnic groups (and all of which have different interests and expectations) proved to be a serious mistake. Furthermore, he lacked the personality that the Tsarist era was so famous for. He proved to be exactly the opposite. He was irresolute (he was often at loggerheads with himself and, more than once, regretted the decisions he had made), susceptible and vulnerable. All this contributed to his succumbing to his wife’s power.
His wife (in turn) was under the influence of a certain Rasputin. His weakness as a Tsar was evident to the people and more importantly, the revolutionists2. They saw the perfect situation and, unlike the Tsar, did not fail to view the ground realities and the change that the people expected. If one could sum up the entire public opinion of Russia at that time in one word: it would be dissatisfaction. There was dissatisfaction in almost all aspects of the Russian community: the military, workers and peasants.
The feudal framework had been abolished by Tsar Alexander II, in which serfs were tied to their land and were answerable to feudal lords. Ironically enough, he replaced the feudal lords with land captains and communes. And the serfs were not happy: they had been taken out of the frying pan and thrown in the fire. This found its climax, until 1917, in the 1905 Revolution, which was quickly suppressed. Now, under Tsar Nicholas, their resentment was beginning to show again: they expected change, they got now. The military was equally distressed.
They were forced to fight in the Great War and suffered heavy losses. There were not enough guns for every soldier and a soldier had to depend on the death of his colleague for a gun to fight with. The Russian army faced massive losses, which resulted in severe demoralization to the military segment. But the factory worker population proved to be the most important segment as far as dissatisfaction was concerned. Firstly, unplanned industrialization took place; secondly, working hours were much too long and the wages were barely able to meet the average daily expenditures required to survive.
The workers felt as if they were uncared for. And with so much distress all around and a sole source of power, one could imagine the results: the Tsar was blamed for everything. If one analyzes this semi-empirically, one finds that the ground realities for the Revolution existed in almost absolute perfection. There was dissatisfaction, there was an individual with absolute power to blame and there was an alternative out; the revolutionary way. This was probably the greatest reason why the Revolution occurred.
The Tsar was expected, at this point of crisis, to install some amount of hope into the people and to bring about some change. When he failed to, the revolutionaries could make their promises, (the socialists could promote their ideology as a better alternative), and offer a better future. And the millions of peasants and workers that supported them later proved to be their biggest asset; and the Tsar biggest loss. The fragility of Tsardom under Tsar Nicholas II was proven through the quick disintegration of the Throne.
He was so weak in personality that he himself abdicated his crown. Revolutionaries, from then on, had to assume the role that the Tsar played in a more democratic fashion: and this was almost blindly accepted. The Revolution occurred could end as quickly as it started. One can conclude that the Tsar left the throne dishonored not only in that he abdicated himself but in that he was the key factor that placed upon the throne leaders who were driven by ruthlessness3: he took Russia with it when he fell.