- nicholas ii is often viewed by historians, as he was by many of his contemporaries, as weak willed, poorly educated, lacking confidence, a bad judge of people and devious. he is said to have 'lacked the taste for power which is vital for an autocrat'. he could also be very obstinate, as was displayed when he took charge of the russian military during the first world war. however, nicholas could also be gentle, kind and benevolent, prompting one historian to state that his 'character may be said to be essentially feminine'.
- the attitude of nicholas towards governing was based on a faith in god, a sense of duty and a rigid belief in autocracy. the tsar, like his forebears, believed that religion and tsarism were inextricably linked. in the fundamental laws of 1906 it was stated that: 'the all russian emperor possesses the supreme autocratic power. not only fear and conscience, but god himself, commands obedience to his authority'. furthermore, nicholas stated that it was his duty to 'uphold the principle of autocracy as firmly and unflinchingly as did my ever lamented father.' thus, adherence to the dogma of autocracy would also have meant that he prioritized the maintenance of the romanov dynasty .
- given the character of nicholas and his attitude towards tsarism it is difficult to see that he had any kind of ability to rule successfully. indeed, his weaknesses as ruler are often cited as the main reason for the downfall of the romanov dynasty and the spiraling of russia into revolution and a state of civil war. however, nicholas did show an ability to instigate reforms (such as the establishment of the duma's) and to enforce them with a firm hand. it is sometimes the latter ability that has led to him being viewed as obstinate.