Although Russians of all political persuasions, socialists, all the way through to rightists, initially supported the Tsarist regime,
Nicholas the Second managed to squander this good will with his insistence on retaining all autocratic power.
Yet when the February Revolution sprang up in St. Petersburg,
Nicholas meekly abdicated the throne and accepted his fate with resignation.
Segment 20b: Tsars and Terrorists. Unlike his father, Nicholas the First,
Alexander the Second who ruled 1855-1881 had little interest in the military.
The Crimean War had not only exhausted and humiliated Russia, it had pointed out dangerous structural flaws in Russian government and Russian culture.
After getting Russia out of the war in 1856, Alexander had to address internal issues like serfdom, education, serfdom, industry, serfdom, bureaucracy, and serfdom.
Those Russians who had obtained a liberal education, the so-called intelligentsia,
although alienated by Nicholas the First, also understood that Russia had a problem.
They pledged their support.