The economy all but collapsed, and with it went the Tsar and the Russian Empire.
The economic chaos that ushered in the Soviet Union met the Russian people on the way out of the Soviet Union as well. Despite the problems in the 1990s, ranging from massive unemployment to currency collapse, the Russian economy today is showing signs of improvement, modernization and stability.
Since the currency collapse, Russia has posted consistently high GDP growth figures and ranks first in GDP growth in the G8. Macroeconomic indicators are consistent with an emerging economy. The economy today is based around natural resources, especially oil, and there is an emerging high-tech sector that is capitalizing on Russia's stock of experienced technical and scientific staff. The economy is being opened to investment, which along with oil revenues has fueled the strong growth. Foreign direct investment has risen from $14.6 billion in 2005 to $45 billion in 2007. Exports are significantly higher than imports.
The rate of poverty remains higher than found in the West at 15.8%. This is particularly evident outside of the major cities (an estimated 90% of the country's wealth is in Moscow). The country remains highly dependent on the resource sector, and needs to rebuild its manufacturing base. Russia's banking system is weak compared with those in many other emerging markets, much less developed markets. Inflation remains high, at 12%.
Russia's economy today is as strong as it has ever been. Macroeconomic indicators are generally positive, which could not be said about the economy of the Tsar. The rise of the middle class shows that the income disparity that hallmarked the Tsarist economic system is less prevalent today. However, there are some similarities as well. There are major structural issues that undermine trust in public institutions - today it is the weak rule of law, versus rampant corruption in Tsarist times. The economy still lacks diversity, and still lags behind Western nations. Poverty in the countryside mirrors the Tsarist era - it is often only the lot of city dwellers that has improved over Tsarist times.
Russia may not be at the brink of collapse the way the Tsarist rule was, and there is cause for optimism, but the lessons of that day regarding the building of strong institutions, increasing economic diversification and encouraging income parity are all valuable for Russia today.
No author. (2008). CIA World Factbook: Russia. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved June 23, 2008 from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rs.html