Only in 1480, when the Mongol-Tartars grow week, did one monk -Vasian Ryla, the spiritual guide of duke Ivan III of Moscow, dare to call the duke the "real Tsar" and to call Mongol Tsars the usurpers of the throne. This way he inspired Ivan to fight the "Tsar" of Mongols Achmat who came with a huge army to make Rus' obedient once again. In the long battle of several weeks - "standing at Ugra river" the Russians managed not to let Mongol-Tartars pass the border river Ugra for the first time. they were lucky that Grand duke of Lithuania (that was very powerful and the biggest state in Europe at that time) - Kazimieras (Casimir) came too late with his army to help the Mongols.
From then on Ivan the III began to collect Russian lands and to make Russia (Muscovy) a really big state calling himself Tsar (=Caesar/ Emperor / king of kings) when communicating to Western Rulers, but he was very humble with the "Tsar" of the last remnant of Mongol world power - the khanate of Crimea, calling himself in a letter to him "Moscow duke Ivashka".
But when Russia (Muscovy) gained real power and began to add vast Tartar lands to its territory it acted like a restorer of Golden Horde and Tsar was presenting himself to the Eastern tribes as "The White Tsar" (equivalent to former title Ak Khan/ White (=noble) Khan of Mongols. This way the power of Tsar was made legitimate in a territory which had to become the greatest country (better to say country composed of many countries) in the world.
Such a tremendous territory needed one ruler to govern it effectively.
And even the "native" Russian lands = the lands that they colonized before freeing from Mongol rule in nowadays European Russia were very big - biggest in Europe.
SO gradually Russians developed their type of autocracy - rule of Tsar alone, their special system which adopted many features from Great Mongol Ulus including army organization and "jam" - the efficient imperial post that carried messages in enormous steppe lands enabling efficient control of information and managing the events in such big spaces. So the people viewed such an efficient system as the only possible one and securing the power of their state.
Of course Tsar needed local officials, which were sometimes good and sometimes bad but the simple Russian folk blamed first of all the abuses of the officials for all the troubles, viewing "Tsar batiushka" - (The little father) as their protector, who did not know about bad actions of local oppressors. The portrait of Tsar was in every peasant house in the most honorable place near the Icon of Our Lady and/or Christ - even before the October revolution in 1917.
Did the Russian folk itself need and long for a liberal system? If we explore Russian history with conscience it seems they did not. The liberal rearrangements were the dream of some representatives of "intelligentsia" PART of lawyers, doctors, students, etc. mainly so called zapadniki ("westerners") there were strong tendencies between Russian thinkers to argue that liberalism is not the system for Russia and is contrary to human society in general.
Part of the "westerners' " stream were the social-democrats (founded by merely 9 Marxists) and their fraction - communists with Lenin as their leader. They were calling for "liberation" of peasants and workers, though Tsar Alexander II gave personal freedom to 48 million of serfs in 1861. Though in is an open question what was better for the serfs - liberation or previous condition. They were used to the care of the landlords. After liberation they had too little land and they could not pay for the received land - they went into debt/ The peasants had a sense of disorientation because of abrupt change in the only way of life they knew. He reduced punishments and time of service in the army.
Despite the fact that started reforms he was killed by liberals who hated all authority the very day he signed a reform program permitting representative assembly (Russia had partly similar assemblies in XVI century).
Alexander II tried to do reforms and was murdered. So his son Alexander III pursued more conservative policy. His successor Nikolai II, the last tsar was good hearted but week in character
In 1905 the workers were going to complain to the Tsar Nikolai II for their troubles, trusting him. But unfortunately he was not there in the palace at the moment. The soldiers opened fire. Indecisive Nikolai (Nicholas) did not punish the guilty for the massacres. This was one of the events that broke loyalty of the folk to their "Little father".
Did socialists really care for good of the people? It is hard to believe it. When a new prime minister Stolypin tried to find a real solution for the land question, creating a large group of productive farmers who received land. Though his reform solved the social problems it needed time and peace. The Socialists did not give it - During 1906-1907 there were nearly 4000 terrorist murders. Socialists murdered Stolypin in 1911. In fact they prevented the real solutions for problems to be found.
Unsolved question of land along with other problems including the I-st world war which exhausted millions of soldiers gave a pretext for Bolsheviks to blame Tsar and the entire system of tsarism which Russians loved so long, for any problem.
In the beginning of war people gathered to the square near the Tsar palace to urge him to defend Serbia. The crowds sang the hymn "God save the Tsar", expressing loyalty to him. After Russia declared mobilization to defend Serbia, and Germany did the same in return, WW I began. After spending 3 years in muddy trenches soldiers listened eagerly to Bolshevik agitators who whispered them that Tsar was to blame for everything. This impression was strengthened by influence on Tsar made by pseudo-monk Rasputin who was pretending to be a Saint, but he was in fact a drunkard and sexual maniac. He had almost complete control on actions of the Tsar after he healed his son.
Rasputin ruled biggest country in the world in fact appointing bad ministers, giving moral scandals to everybody, etc. When Tsar decided to lead the army himself, though he was not a military professional, he was accepted with enthusiasm by soldiers and officers. But he left governing of Russia in the hands of Rasputin in St. Petersburg. Rasputin influenced Tsar to start a foolish maneuver - to relocate big mass of soldiers to Baranovichi (now Belarus). After exhausting trip many of those soldiers were killed by German army.
Many facts like that, actions of Rasputin, war problems and Bolshevik propaganda destroyed the authority of the Tsar in the eyes of people. They started the February revolution in 1917 but revolution only brought more chaos, economic misery in the army and society. Gradually Bolsheviks took the steering wheel of the revolution and started a second revolution in October 1917, which was financed by Germany and some other states in the West.
Did Bolsheviks give more freedom or representation for the people? No, they established total control of power and minds of people that was not seen in world history ever before.
Did they make the people breath more freely? No they established reign of terror where millions were massacred or exiled to Siberia.
Did they improve economy give land to the peasants and factories for the workers as they promised? They pretended to do so at the beginning, but later they made land property of Bolshevik state and peasants and workers were in fact turned to slaves. In Ukraine the famine was caused ARTIFICIALLY with the sole aim to kill the "disobedient" Ukrainian nation by starving. When Stalin occupied Lithuania and other countries he also ordered exile of the most successful farmers to Siberia.
Did they improve the moral atmosphere in the country? Well they were the first country in the world to declare officially that there is no God and his law and commandments "do not exist" - it was the first country in the world to declare godlessness the main principle of the state. They aimed to destroy family, "nationalizing" the women so that everybody could use their bodies for their pleasure, especially communists. They were the first to start "gay parades" in the world. Massive sexual diseases began and Stalin had to moderate the immoral policy, restore the rights of the families etc. though he continued to persecute non-communists. Such "experience" of (im)moral reforms was later used in other countries by communists and liberals (in a wide sense).
I suggest the students themselves to find more facts showing that simple Russian folk, especially the peasants was not really against the rule of the Tsar itself, they only wanted some problems to be solved and they did not really wish liberal system to be introduced. And liberals and socialists did not really solve the existing problems, but often increased them.