possibly the most famous two russians are joseph stalin and rasputin. these two were alive at the time of the book but not important figures the book pre dates the times when they were important.
the people that are in power at the time of the book are alexander II and alexander III. the book is set 5 years after the assasination of alexander II who was emporer of the russian empire. though he died before the book certain changes were still important due to his killing.
1.before alexander the II died he planned to bring plans for an elected parliament to russia. these were completed the day before he was killed but not released in time. had he lived Russia might have followed a path to constitutional monarchy instead of the long road of oppression that defined his successor's reign.
2. anti jewish riots(pogroms) and legislation also followed his death.
3. russian police were supressed under his reign therefore following the assasination their brutality came back in full force.
police and officials would have been strict and brutal during the book. also the plans for elected parliament were not bought in until the 1900's by alexander II grandson nicholas II. therefore russia remained dictated.
at the actual time of the book Alexander III was Tsar. he was known as alexander the peacemaker.