Essay On Nicholas Romanov
Nicholas Romanov was an ignorant, incompetent and insensitive leader. His character was the decisive factor in bringing on the revolution
The last Tsar of Russia was a tragic figure a classic case of being a leader in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing within his power could have prevented the forces of change from overtaking Tsarist Russia.
To what extent do you agree with these explanations of the collapse of autocracy in Russia?
Nicholas Romanov was an indecisive man who was easily influenced by others. Although it was not his character that was the decisive factor in bringing on the revolution. He may have been a leader at the wrong time, but if he had related better to the Russian peopale for the time he was in power his leadership may have been more effective.
Russia before 1917 was the largest country under one empire. In economic terms it was backward, as it was late industrialising and late to emerge from feudalism. In political terms it was also backward, there was no legal political parties nor was there any centrally elected government .
Russia at this time was under tsarist rule by Nicholas II of the Romanov empire. Nicholas II was brought up by his father Alexander III who didnt believe that his son could take an intelligent interest in anything and therefore did not educate him in the business of state . The fact that his father who died at age 49 thought that he had many more years ahead of him may also be another factor behind Nicholas poor leadership of Russia .
Alexander who died in 1894 had left Russia with a society no longer controlled by tsarist rule and when Nicholas took the throne after his fathers death Russian society was not prepared to turn back . Nicholas II was 26 when his father died and was soon to marry the German princess, Alix of Hess, granddaughter of Queen Victoria .
Nicholas nor Alexander III were well trained for the job of ruling this vast country. Alexander was not so much superior to the son in character of abilities to justify admirers hopes that he lived longer, so the monarchy would have. There is some evidence to suggest that had Alexander ruled 22 years, like his son, instead of just 13 he would have had to face the wars and revolution and he too would have shown the deficiencies in character and intellect that close observers had already seen in the leader . This shows that Nicholas had inherited many of his own flaws from his father so it is possible another tsar from the Romanov empire may not have been able to prevent the revolutions which were to come.
As he was even more poorly prepared for his role as Tsar, Nicholas had no knowledge of the world of men, politics or government. His training was only adequate for the role of constitutional monarch. Yet he only recognised an inherited belief in the moral rightness of the autocracy and a religious faith that he was in Gods hands and God inspired all his actions .
In the early years of the twentieth century the Russian economy entered a depression, this aroused extensive urban and rural unrest, partly due to this unrest the government led Russia into a war with Japan . The feat of Russian forces led to the onset of revolutionary events which reached to 1907.
The real starting point of revolutionary activities was the January 9 1905 protest which became known as Bloody Sunday. The protest was a large crowd bearing icons and pictures of the tsar marched towards the winter palace in St Petersburg . This crowd went with the hopes of presenting the tsar with a petition which attacked the exploitation of the people by capitalist factory owners and demanded a series of measures designed to improve the workers position and reverse some of the wrongs under which they had suffered . The tone of the petition seemed to be one of loyalty to the tsar, appealing to him to sort out their difficulties. This protest showed the unshaken confidence in the Tsar as a source of charge and initiative. Although this confidence did not last long as the response to this protest was for the troops to open fire on the crowds . Even though the tsar wasnt in the winter palace at the time and hadnt ordered the troops to fire the popular image of the tsar was eroded as was the structure of tsarist regime.
Bloody Sunday stimulated the widespread unrest that had now erupted in towns and the countryside. In townships workers carried out demonstrations and strikes and some of these were of a violent nature. Workers organisations began to sprout up spontaneously, trade unions also began forming .
Tsar Nicholas II under pressure from these disturbances had to make concessions to try and win over support from the intelligentsia and professional sections of Russian society. He tried to meet the peoples demands by introducing the October Manifesto of 1905 . The main aspects of which were to provide to the population unshakeable foundations of civil liberty on the principles of true inviolability of person, freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and association .and a state Duma that would be elected on an indirect vote from certain sections of the population.
It was at this time that Nicholas beloved wife Alexandra gave birth to the longed-for heir, Alexei, after 4 daughters were born he was certainly a welcome member to the Romanov family. Not long after Alexei was it was discovered that he suffered from
haemophilia, a disease which slows the blood forming clots and can lead to internal haemorrhaging and possibly death . Haemophilia is passed on to the child by the mother and Alexandras shame of this may have been one of the factors why she turned to the uncouth holy man Gregory Rasputin.
Rasputin had lead Alexandra to believe that he was able to relieve Alexeis suffering. Due to her deep believe in Rasputins power Alexandra became a creature of Rasputins power Alexandra became a creature of Rasputin. Even though he didnt cure Alexei, he did cheer him up along with his parents. For the work he did with Alexei, his parents were grateful, especially his mother . Rasputin found that his close proximity to the court opened doors and opportunities for him in church, society and possibly in government .
Rasputins name soon became a by-word for intrigue and sinister influences in high places. He hinted he was closer to the tsar and tsarina than he in fact was and used this to win favours for friends and obtain an expensive lifestyle for himself. Alexandra who was 22 when she married Nicholas II was a powerful and stern women who, even before her wedding, had started nagging Nicholas at his fathers deathbed. She also tried to confine the family in an everlasting tea party at the tsars royal retreat. She trusted no one and thought the worst of everyone who tried to advise her husband . The relationship between Alexandra and Nicholas was a critical relationship at a turning point in history . He was weak and indecisive but he wasnt an imbecile, Alexandra, if not an imbecile was politically and socially illiterate, dominating him and towards the end of their lives forced him to make chaotic decisions. For most of their marriage her political interest was minimal, but near the end of their reign she was in charge Russia as Nicholas had gone to the war front to assist his generals. She was sacking ministers and advisors on Rasputins behalf.
With Nicholas away from St Petersburg rumours of scandals within the royal family were running through the public arena. Despite Rasputins murder in 1916 the image of the tsar and tsarist rule as incompetent and dominated by religious mysticism was firmly implanted in the community .
Ultimately the principle forces of the revolution were the rapid industrialisation of the period and the first world war. Inevitably the industrialisation process put stress and pressure on Russian society especially those who had to pay for industrial growth, such as peasants and workers from factories. The war affected the Russian economy as it would any other country although due to its economic backwardness it put more pressure on the Russian society. The tsar and his government may have been out of touch with the Russian people and few steps were taken to meet the demands from them, such as the state Duma being formed. Yet overall it was not Nicholas II, personally, nor the war which caused the revolution they were just factors which brought it on.
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