It is absolutely true that Nicholas lacked a backbone and essentially followed the opinion of the last person he spoke to.
And he was pretty blind for the changes of society and how that could (should?) affect his position as Autocrat.
What surprised me especially was that Alix was so steadfast in her commitment to the autocratic state-form. Queen Victoria took over some of the upbringing of Alix after her mother Alice died, and as such, I would expect Alix to have been more openminded towards the idea of a constitution (and functioning parliament). But she was often a hardliner in these discussions and whenever she could, she steered away her husband from more liberal forces at court and in society.
The fact that these liberal voices also were quite critical , if not downright negative, about the charlatan Rasputin, didn't exactly help either.
You need not go that far. If one of their first two children had been a healthy male (something that did happen in Queen Victoria's family) Alix' position would have been different. An other option would have been if Alexei would have been a fifth daughter Alexandra. In that case Olga would probably have become the heiress after altering the line of succession somewhere before WWI.
That would have given the oldest daughter an even more independent role than she took anyway when it comes to her mother. It would also have freed Alix from the constant worry over Alexei that must have taken it's toll on her.
Had Nicholas married Helene d'Orleans he would have had an equally strong minded and opinionated wife as he ended up with. The issue is also more with Nicholas and how badly he was prepared (or more correctly how unprepared he was) to be the Tsar. He had no clue about the role of a Russian monarch or how to deal with that position. That was not so bad for his cousins George V and Christian X who were constitutional monarchs in stable democracies but it was detrimental to his reign.
So had Nicky had a bit more of a backbone and/or a better sense of what was expected of him as Tsar who he married would have been much less of an issue.
I have just finished reading the book Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore. For a historian like Mr. Sebag Montefiore, he makes a few massive mistakes and has some omissions, like calling Anna Paulowna, daughter of Tsar Paul I, Queen of Holland . Which is of course dead-wrong, she was Queen of The Netherlands .
A mistake that can be expected by the average tourist, but a historian should know better.
Nonetheless, the sources he uses are quite good and give a balanced view on the numerous tsars and their families.
And this included Tsarina Alexandra (Alix of Hesse), but even with all the balance, she comes across as unstable, arrogant and totally not in touch with society, not even the top-layer of society, let alone the Russian society as a whole.
That would in itself perhaps not be so bad if she was kept out of politics and if her husband had been more secure in his actions and opinion.
That made me wonder, what if the Tsar had married a French princess, like his parents wanted? Or any other woman than Alix?
Of course not marrying Alix would also have meant there would have been a healthy heir and that would have made the presence and influence of Rasputin less likely.
What do you think?