What events weakened the Czar before the Russian Revolution?
Czar Nicholas II was a ruler isolated from the Russian people. His inner-circle of advisors from among the Russian nobility was made up of conservative thinkers intent on maintaining the Russian status quo that had divided the Romanov Dynasty from the vast majority of the Russian people since its inception. When enlightened advisors like Count Witte sought to move Russia into the Industrial Age, drawing upon its vast reserves of natural resources within the Ural Mountains and Russian Steppes, the Czar’s Inner Circle sought to chain the Russian peasants to a serfdom-based agriculture whose antecedents extended well into the Middle Ages. Witte sought to create a thriving Russian urban culture with greater worker participation in the Russian industrialization process.
When Father Gapon rallied the Russian poor and peasantry during the Uprising of 1905, seeking to tender legitimate grievances to the Czar’s government, the Czar’s Inner Circle of advisors called out the Cossacks and Russian Army to brutally repress the uprising, killing many and imprisoning more.
Nicholas II also failed to perceive Russian entrance into the First World War as sheer folly for a nation that had yet to face its societal demons. The vast expenditures of Russian wealth to finance the war and the terrible loss of Russian life upon the Eastern Front accelerated the internal collapse of the Czarist regime and promoted the rise of the Bolsheviks under Lenin.
Nicholas II was also reticent to share power and authority with the Russian Duma or Parliament under the proposed reforms of Alexander Kerensky, although in so doing might have preserved his throne, while blunting the Bolsheviks massing for a violent transfer of Russian power in October and November of 1917.