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Nicholas II was in many ways an unfortunate historical figure. He was a devoted family man but ascended to the Russian throne in his twenties and was wholly unprepared to rule a country the size of Russia.
He still believed in the divine right of kings and was determined to hold on to an autocracy that his son could inherit intact. Indeed, at the start of his reign he described as "senseless deams" the idea of having a representative democracy in Russia. He was forced to establish a parliament after the 1905 failed revolution, but he had no desire to let it function effectively and so the aspirations of the people were frustrated.
Nicholas led Russia into two disastrous wars which damaged Russian pride and brought hardship to the people. In 1905 Russia became the first European power to be defeated by an Asian nation (Japan), and in 1914 they were once again dismally unprepared to wage a modern war against an advanced industrial nation such as Germany.
Nicholas made the completely inept decision to personally head the Russian armed forces in World War I. The result was that he could be personally blamed for Russia's disastrous war effort. When the street disturbances which escalated into full scale revolution in Feb. 1917 began he was many hundreds of miles away from the capitol in his military headquarters (Tsarkar Selo) - completely remote and out of touch with his nation's affairs. His response to the disturbances (which were essentially in response to chronic food shortages) was simply to tell his commanding officers to use whatever force necessary.
Finally, Nicholas exercised little control over his wife the Tsarina Alexandra who did enormous damge to the prestige of the monarchy through her very public association with the debauched 'mad monk' Rasputin.
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