Isn't it strange how Russia's Imperial interests coincided so neatly with France and Britain, hence the Triple Entente? But if you had a cousin like Wilhelm II you would probably have gone to war against Germany too. Nicholas II and his wife Alexandria were hopeless Romantics, but Nicholas really did have a genuine concern and love for his people, hence his early tentative attempts at introducing a western-style constitutional monarchy, like his cousin in Britain. This probably failed due to the absence of any real urban middle-class in Russia, the emergence of a more radical revolutionary elite and the hostility of the majority of the nobles to any real constitutional reform. Unfortunately Nicholas hopeless romanticism saw him over-commit to Catherine II and Peter the Great's vision of an ever expanding empire spanning Europe and Asia, when common sense should have told him that he had neither the vision nor the resources to hold on to what he already controlled (or not). This commitment led him to fully identify with the Slavs in Serbia against the Austrian threat, and to see the Balkans themselves as some kind of stepping stone in a possible invasion of Turkey. Not the only European politician to have done so! He also saw the Prussians as a threat to Russian interests in Poland.The Balkans ?
A thoroughly fascinating study of a man... Apparently, since Catherine II who saw the Orthodox faith as a pillar of public order, Russians have had an immense distrust of the Rosicrucians! This would also have brought him into religious and social conflict with the secret societies of Wilhelm II's Germany. Whatever his faults, the manner and brutality of the Royal princesses deaths (an interesting read for anyone who can stomach the entire account, which is said to have lasted at least half an hour and a dozen attempts) by a bunch of drunken Bolshevik thugs, leaves one in no doubts as to the competence or humanity of his successors.