Food shortages, rationing and wild inflation were rife in Russian cities, and Bolshevik agitators promising “peace, bread and land” captured the public attention. In February 1917, strikes in Petrograd led to a demonstration and Cossack soldiers refused the Tsar's orders to fire on demonstrators. Nicholas’ loss of support and weakening leadership led to his abdication.
Students could consider how much the Tsar was the main cause of his own downfall. The class should come up with a list of causes that Nicholas II was responsible for and a separate list of external factors over which he had little or no control.