Before 1917 in Russia there was one supreme ruler with full autocratic power, there were no elected policies by law and the tsar was seen to have been put into his position by god. Between 1894-1917 the tsar came under pressure generally not suffered by any of his predecessors. The opposition came from four main sides; The government and reform; the actual character of Nicholas II hindered his time in office, for example his outlooks on situations meant he did not trust a lot of his advisors, he was also seen to have been very lazy with respects to making decisions, other observations included him being, weak, timid and lacked guts. This all adds up to a very weak leader that is vulnerable to opposition, due to his tunnel vision and un-ability to see the main needs of the country. The duma was another challenge to the tsar; after the 1905 revolution the tsar had set up an elected body called the duma, this was a way of showing the public that he could be open minded in that delegating decisions to other people, looking back in hindsight this would also be seen as a challenge to the tsar as he never gave the duma any real power, and were easily dissolved, this meant that people were further angered and he was receiving opposition from all sides, it did however hold off opposition for a small period of time in order for the tsar to retain his power.

Other individuals had an influence to the challenges facing the tsar, Nicholas had brought some new people in to try and conquer some problems, these included Rasputin who he had originally appointed to become saviour of family, he managed to influence the tsar in many of his decisions, this inevitably caused there to be conflict as the he was relying on Rasputin to relay details of the state of the country, these were not accurate which meant that tsar could not act upon opposition. Other people did help the tsar for example stolypin and his reforms. The need to modernise in Russia was a problem that the tsar had to face between the years, at the time in question, Russia was very backwards in the way that it farmed its lands, its economy was behind that of the rest of Europe, this meant that action had to be taken, in this area the tsar did have some successes. This can include his decision to employ sergi witte who looked at the countries economic problems and managed to secure foreign loans that could develop other areas of the country, which include the trans Siberian railway, at first the reforms were seen as a success but looking back it is seen that Russia was too dependent on foreign loans, the railways were also never actually finished. The tsar at the time was facing problems but it has to be argued that he could have worked upon these before, as he only started to implement a lot of his reforms after the scare of the 1906 revolution. The agriculture side of Russia was another factor that was causing the tsar a challenge, this factor was however conquered through Stolypin's reforms; the peasants were now given more space / land to farm and live in.

Opposition groups were also seen to have been a big opponent to the tsar: in 1906 Nicholas faced opposition never seen before, the tsar was however able to easily stop the 1906 revolution as they groups were not organised. This showed how he successfully sustained a challenge however by 1917 he came under fire from another revolution, this problem stemmed from his inability to deal with other challenges for example he was not able to set up a successful duma which meant that the main groups who were looking for a democracy were bound to oppose the tsar, this major challenge took place in 1917 where all the opposition groups had became untied through one common goal; The 1917 revolution proved to be the biggest challenge for the tsar within his time in power, in 1917 he was forced off the throne and a new provisional government was set up. This challenge came about because of all the previous factors, but was catalyzed by the introduction of war, previously the opposition groups were not united but between 1894-1917 they had one common goal; a revolution. The coming of war and the bad decision made by the tsar to become commander in chief had meant that he was leaving himself vulnerable to attack, his choice of Rasputin meant that he was not receiving detailed information on the rise in opposition. Between the years 1894-1917 it has to be argued that times would be rough for any tsar in power at the time, the need to modernise would have still been a challenge to any leader at the time; however the other above factors could have been isolated by looking at what the people of Russia were demanding. This mainly included a step towards a democracy which Nicholas was not willing to do, his inabilities in this area through not seeing the bigger picture meant he led himself into increased challenges and inevitably an overthrow..