The imperialist war acquired a protracted nature. Already in 1915, the idea that the government should not be unconditionally supported began to mature in the liberal strata of society. Criticism of the king and his entourage has become increasingly acute. Thus, in the newspaper Russkiye Vedomosti, one of the oldest and largest publications in Russia in the liberal direction, an article appeared on the tragic situation of the member of the Central Committee of the Cadet Party V. A. Maklakov.
The article was distributed in multiple copies, as it dealt with the "insane driver" who does not know how to drive a car, leads to the death of himself and passengers, but at the same time "clings to the steering wheel tenaciously" and does not allow people correct the situation. In the mad chauffeur, everyone recognized the king.
Over time, the empress Alexandra Feodorovna’s interference in all the affairs of the state — from retaining the 5-kopeck fare on public transport to displacement and the appointment of admirals, metropolitans, and the commander-in-chief — increased significantly. V. M. Purishkevich, a well-known black-and-white figure, wrote in his diary that "Alexandra Feodorovna controls Russia as his boudoir, but people appointed to ministerial posts, because of her and Rasputin, people feel so insecure that they don’t even move to public apartments , and remain on their private. "
According to the testimony of the French ambassador in Russia, M. Paleolog, in the second half of 1915, the Russian press began to actively talk about dark origins, theft, reveling, debauchery, in-trigs and scandalous ties with the high society of Grigori Rasputin , an adventurer who stood behind the king and queens. Initially, newspaper reporters avoided allusions to Rasputin’s proximity to the crowned heads. However, soon all of Russia began to talk about the fact that "the Tsar is with Egor, and the tsarina is with Gregory."
Numerous and inconsistent changes in the composition of the government have become a characteristic feature of pre-revolutionary Russia. On February 9, 1916, by the decree of Nicholas II, the State Duma meetings resumed. On this day, the king for the first and last time visited the Russian parliament during its entire existence. It was clear to all that this was a cheap political stunt, which had the goal of putting the Duma to the new Prime Minister B. V. Stürmer, who managed to take the place of I. L. Goremykin. The idea of a king visiting the Duma belonged to Rasputin’s entourage. Rasputin himself called the Stürmeier "an old man on a string," allowing himself even to shout at the premiere.
Through Alexandra Feodorovna Rasputin was able to influence the actions of the army. Initially, the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolayevich (Tsar's uncle) interfered with this “affair”, who was the commander-in-chief of the Russian army until August 1915 and promised to hang Rasputin if he suddenly appeared at Headquarters. After the elimination of Nikolai Nikolaevich from his post, the old man began to bring his "strategic advice" to Nicholas II in the form of retelling "dreams" and "visions".
Rasputin and the Empress developed a special activity in this direction during the Russian offensive in the summer of 1916, in an effort to thwart the success of the South-Western Front under the command of General A. A. Brusilov. The Empress repeatedly asked the tsar to order the cessation of the offensive of the Russian armies, because "you have to send soldiers far around the swamps from which there is such a terrible smell ...". Of course, such requests could not have a decisive influence on the actions of the army, but they had a psychological effect on the command during the Brusilov breakthrough.
The intervention of the "dark forces" in the affairs of the state had an impact earlier than others on the extremist Purishkevich, who uttered the historical phrase about the "ministerial leapfrog". The personal qualities of a number of ministers only contributed to this. It is not for nothing that Rasputin is credited with an assessment given to Interior Minister A. D. Protopopov, whose "honor stretches like a garter."
Describing the crisis of the "tops", the famous Russian poet Igor Severyanin wrote:
The image of the board was confused - A threatening example for crowns: Rasputin was outraged and drunk, sitting down with his feet on the throne.
The murder of Rasputin, committed on the night of December 16-17, 1916 by a group of conspirators led by Purishkevich, could not change the situation and prevent a revolution. It is not by chance that the perceiving monarchist V. V. Shulgin, whom Purishkevich devoted to this matter, remarked that the murder of Rasputin is meaningless: "If you kill him, nothing will change."