Aлександра је наследио његов син [[Николај II]] ([]–[]). Индустријска револуција, која је почела да има све већег утицаја у Русији, је стварала силе које ће коначно збацити цара. Либерални елементи међу индустријским капиталистима и племством су веровали у мирољубиве друштвене реформе и уставну монархију, коју би формирале Уставотворне Демократе или [[Kaдети]]. Социјални револуционари су следили Народник традицију и тражили су расподелу земље међу онима који су је у ствари обрађивали —сељацима. Још једна радикална група су били Социјалне Демократе, представници [[марксизма]] у Русији. Придобивши подршку радикалних интелектуалаца и градске радничке класе, захтевали су комплетну социјалну, економску и политичку револуцију.
In [] the party split into two wings—the [[Menshevik]]s, or moderates, and the [[Bolshevik]]s, the radicals. The Mensheviks believed that Russian socialism would grow gradually and peacefully and that the tsar’s regime should be succeeded by a democratic republic in which the socialists would cooperate with the liberal bourgeois parties. The Bolsheviks, under [[Vladimir Lenin]], advocated the formation of a small elite of professional revolutionists, subject to strong party discipline, to act as the vanguard of the proletariat in order to seize power by force.<sup>[[#Notes|2]]</sup>
The disastrous performance of the Russian armed forces in the [[Russo-Japanese War]] ([]–[]) was a major blow to the Tsarist regime and increased the potential for unrest. In January [], an incident known as "[[Bloody Sunday (1905)|Bloody Sunday]]" occurred when [[Father Gapon]] led an enormous crowd to the [[Winter Palace]] in [[Saint Petersburg|St. Petersburg]] to present a petition to the tsar. When the procession reached the palace, Cossacks opened fire on the crowd, killing hundreds. The Russian masses were so aroused over the massacre that a general strike was declared demanding a democratic republic. This marked the beginning of the [[Russian Revolution of 1905]]. [[Soviet]]s (councils of workers) appeared in most cities to direct revolutionary activity. Russia was paralyzed, and the government was desperate.
In October 1905, Nicholas reluctantly issued the famous [[October Manifesto]], which conceded the creation of a national Duma (legislature) to be called without delay. The right to vote was extended and no law was to go into force without confirmation by the Duma. The moderate groups were satisfied; but the socialists rejected the concessions as insufficient and tried to organize new strikes. By the end of 1905, there was disunity among the reformers, and the tsar's position was strengthened for the time being.
''Main article: [[Russian Revolution of 1917]]''
[[Слика:Soviet Union, Lenin (55).jpg|мини|десно|[[Лењин]] по повратку у Петроград]]
Tsar Nicholas II and his subjects entered [[World War I]] with enthusiasm and patriotism, with the defense of Russia's fellow Orthodox Slavs, the [[Serbs]], as the main battle cry. August []: Not having finished mobilization Russian army entered Germany to support the French armies. However, the weaknesses of the Russian economy and the inefficiency and corruption in government were hidden only for a brief period under a cloak of fervent nationalism. Military reversals and the government's incompetence soon soured much of the population. German control of the Baltic Sea and German-Ottoman control of the Black Sea severed Russia from most of its foreign supplies and potential markets.
By the middle of [] the impact of the war was demoralizing. Food and fuel were in short supply, casualties were staggering, and inflation was mounting. Strikes increased among low-paid factory workers, and the peasants, who wanted land reforms, were restless. Meanwhile, public distrust of the regime was deepened by reports that a semiliterate mystic, [[Grigory Rasputin]], had great political influence within the government. His assassination in late [] ended the scandal but did not restore the autocracy's lost prestige.
In 1916 armament of Russian armies improved. Russian armies battled against German, austro-hungarian, turkish armies on wide front from Baltic sea up to Transcaucasia and hold down up to half of military forces of the Central Powers.
On [[March 3]], [], a strike occurred in a factory in the capital [[Petrograd]] (formerly St. Petersburg). Within a week nearly all the workers in the city were idle, and street fighting broke out. When the tsar dismissed the Duma and ordered strikers to return to work, his orders triggered the [[February Revolution]].
The Duma refused to disband, the strikers held mass meetings in defiance of the regime, and the army openly sided with the workers. A few days later a [[Russian Provisional Government, 1917|provisional government]] headed by [[Prince Lvov]] was named by the Duma. The following day the tsar abdicated. Meanwhile, the socialists in Petrograd had formed a soviet (council) of workers and soldiers' deputies to provide them with the power that they lacked in the Duma.