I love my Russian History Course. I believe it was said best when Russia was described as "The largest nation in the world. Run by lunatics. A genius. And, a charlot." Today I learnt about the Decemberist Revolt. Basically, after Tsar Alexander the first died/disappeared in 1825, his two brothers, Constantine and Nicholas decided that neither one of them wanted to rule the nation. Constantine had secretly abdicated his position so that he could marry his polish-catholic girlfriend. That left Nicholas in charge but he did not want the position because the guard's regiments that aided and protected the Tsar, hated his guts.
Meanwhile, members of the guard's regiments had formed secret societies which came up with a plan to revolt and turn Russian from a state of absolutism to a republic. The plan was simple. While the Southern society created a diversion by causing trouble in Ukraine, the Northen society would round up its soldiers, march into the senate square and intimidate the senate into creating a constitution. The violence that would occur would only be the execution of Nicholas since he was technically in charge.
However, the soldier that was suppose to kill Nicholas chickened out and told Nicholas what was going on. Nicholas got pissed and arrested the leader of the Northern society. The guard's regiments did march in but, they had no leader. There was one person who was to fill in for the arrested leader; however, he decided not to show up. Another soldier was sent to find someone to take charge but he didn't return. Confusion, bad orders and a few cannons later, people lost their lives and the revolt failed miserably.
Just think about it. If that one soldier did not chicken out, the fate of history could have been changed forever.