Russiaâ€™s participation in the First World War was not the main reason for the collapse of the tsarist system. It was merely the spark that ignited all the problems that had been brewing for some time under the tsarist regime. The strain of world war one, for which Russia was not prepared, the pressure of the opposition parties, which increasingly used personal abuse as a weapon against the imperial family, general unrest and constant agitation of the Russian workers and peasants, famine and poor leadership were all factors that proved too great a strain on the absolutist society. The downfall of Russia was due to its failure to handle the intense problems that had been intensified by the war.
Although Russiaâ€™s economy had somewhat boomed from 1861 â€“ 1913 it still was not strong enough to support a war. â€œThere can certainly be no doubt that the war will require expenditures exceeding Russiaâ€™s limited financial resourcesâ€(Morcombe and Fielding, 1998, page 59). The problems that grew due to the financial inadequacy of Russia were catastrophic in the eyes of the tsarist system. Famine reigned over Russia and riots began to break out as people were starving and could not afford the rising price of bread. â€œIn Moscow bread has risen by 47 percent in price, in Odessa 80 percentâ€ (Morcombe and Fielding, 1998, page 63). Transport was tied up with porting weapons and soldiers to the front. On February 23rd, a hunger strike broke out in St. Petersburg, demanding food and an end to the war. But nothing was done to address these growing problems, which eventually helped lead Russia into revolution. .
Perhaps the greatest entity that attributed to Russiaâ€™s downfall was lack of leadership and support of that leadership. When Nicholas II left to be on the battlefront, his wife Alexandra was left to rule. But she was deeply influenced by Rasputan, a self-proclaimed holy man that had clawed his way into the family.