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1917 in Russia

  • Strikes to commemorate Bloody Sunday

    January 9: 140,000 strike in Petrograd to commemorate Bloody Sunday; strikes in other cities.
  • Petrograd strikes over food shortages

    February 14: 100,000+ strike in Petrograd; Duma reconvenes and attacks the government over food shortages.
  • Rationing to occure

    February 19: Petrograd authorities announce that bread will be rationed from March 1st; panic buying ensues.
  • Nicholas leaves Petrograd to visit troops

  • International Womens day demonstrations

    a large gathering of working-class women convened in the center of Petrograd to mark International Women’s Day. The gathering took the form of a protest demonstration calling for “bread and peace.” While the demonstration began peacefully, the next morning it turned violent as the women were joined by hundreds of thousands of male workers who went on strike and flooded the streets, openly calling for an end to the war and even to the monarchy.
  • Unrest continues

    Massive strikes and demonstrations occur throughout the capital
    Mensheviks meet and set up a “Workers’ Soviet” Nicholas II orders military to stop riots.
  • Mutiny Army

    More than 80,000 troops mutiny and engage in widespread looting
  • Provisional Government is prepared

    Duma and Workers’ Soviet gather separately and begin making decisions about restoring order and establishing a new state
  • Nicholas II abdicates

    At the end of the "February Revolution" of 1917 (February in the Old Russian Calendar), on 2 March (Julian Calendar)/ 15 March (Gregorian Calendar) 1917, Nicholas II chose to abdicate. He firstly abdicated in favour of Tsarevich Alexei, but swiftly changed his mind after advice from doctors that the heir-apparent would not live long apart from his parents who would be forced into exile. Nicholas drew up a new manifesto naming his brother, Grand Duke Michael, as the next Emperor of all the Russia
  • Stalin

    Stalin arrives in Petrograd after being released from prison.
  • Period: to

    Provisional Government

  • Fail by Provisional government.

    March 19
    The Provisional Government refuses to pass an agrarian act for the desperate food crisis in the nation, and the wide-scale disenfranchisement of the peasantry. Instead, the Government condems looters and forced seizures of the land.
  • Liberalisation by Prov.Govt.

    The Provisional Government abolishes all religious and ethnic restrictions formerly imposed by the Monarchy. Non-Russian languages are now allowed at private educational institutions and record keeping.
  • Trotsky leaves New York / War is to continue

    Trotsky leaves exile in New York to return to Russia. Meanwhile, the Provisional Government declares that its purpose in continuing the war is solely for the defense of Russia. This serves as a compromise position with the Petrograd Soviet, which accepts this new formulation.
  • Georgi Plekhanov

    Russian revolutionary and a Marxist theoretician. He was a founder of the Social-Democratic movement in Russia and was one of the first Russians to identify himself as "Marxist."
    Plekhanov arrives in Petrograd, after nearly 40 years in exile. Plekhanov is a different man from when he left, now supporting the War for territory, and the advance of capitalism in Russia.
  • Lenin is back

    During the February Revolution, Vladimir Lenin had been living in exile in Switzerland. Though historians disagree about specifics, they concur that the government of Germany deliberately facilitated Lenin’s return to his homeland in the spring of 1917. Without question, the German leadership did so with the intent of destabilizing Russia.
  • April Thesis / Trotsky stopped

    Lenin delivers his April Thesis. The Bolsheviks soon produce an educational pamphlet for workers on Political Parties in Russia and the Tasks of the Proletariat. Meanwhile, the steamer Trotsky is traveling on is stopped for inspection by the British Navy in Canada, and despite the General Amnesty and having his visa in order, he is thrown into a British prison, along with several other Socialists for their opposition to the War.
  • May Day / Miliukov's promise

    Massive May Day celebrations occur in Russia. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Miliukov secretly promises the Allies that Russia will continue the war until complete victory and the annexation of new territory is achieved.
  • Promise of Miliukov leaked

    Miliukov's secret note is leaked, prompting armed demonstrations of furious soldiers in the streets for two days. The Bolsheviks resolve that the resignation of Miliukov is not enough; a new Soviet government must be formed, and give party members new instructions.
  • Decision on Bolshevik/PG Coalition

    The Petrograd Soviet votes in favor of forming a new, Coalition Government, despite Bolshevik condemnation and in contradiction to the March 1 decision of the Soviet. Weeks earlier, Lenin warned about the dangers of this new Dual Power. Miliukov's resignation comes on the following day.
  • Kerensky

    Alexander Kerensky, lawyer from Ulyanovsk, a Social Revolutionary, Minister of War/Justice, replaces Georgi Lvov as leader of the PG.
  • The First All-Russian Congress of Soviets

    The First All-Russian Congress of Soviets begins in Petrograd. The Congress almost unanimously agrees to end World War I, though only through tremendous consternation agrees to support the Provisional Government, despite Bolshevik protests. Tensions flare between the parties, with the Mensheviks insisting that the Bolsheviks must be disarmed, despite not having weapons, which would in practice mean disarming the Soldiers' Soviets. The Bolsheviks insist that all power must go to the Soviets.
  • Ukraine declares independence

    The Central Rada (formed in Kiev on March 4) proclaim the independence of the Ukraine. The ongoing Congress of Soviets unanimously supports this declaration of independence.
  • July Days 1st July

    uly Days. After receiving an order to go to the front, thousands of machine-gunners hold a meeting about an armed insurrection. The Bolsheviks try to cool things off, while the Anarchists stoke the fire. The soldiers decide to march, fully armed, and send delegates from one factory after another, with workers dropping everything to join the march. Tens of thousands go marching, demanding All power to the Soviets!
  • Period: to

    Kerensky Goverment

    workers in the city rioted against the Provisional Government, as advocated in Lenin's April Theses. After the rising was put down, the Bolsheviks were blamed for it, and their leader Vladimir Lenin went into hiding, while other leaders were arrested.no cabinet could be formed to the end of the month. Finally, on August 6 (July 24) 1917, a new coalition cabinet, composed mostly of socialists, was formed with Kerensky at its head.
  • July Days 3rd July

    The Bolsheviks change tactics. No longer trying to restrain the masses, they agree to support them, so long as they peacefully march to the seat of government, elect delegates, and present their demands to the Executive Committee of the Soviets. The masses agree.Meanwhile, the Government spends the entire day calling on troops from across the country to come in defence of the capital. The leadership of the Petrograd Soviet changes its composition and becomes a Bolshevik majority.
  • July Days 4th July

    Even in factories where Mensheviks and SRs hold influence, four out of five workers join the demonstrations. Nation witnesses a massive General Strike. Lenin speaks to the demonstrators, encouraging slogan of All power to the Soviets! Over 500,000 people attend the demonstrations in Petrograd. The first of the soldiers from the front arrive ready to support the Provisional Government, and frightened that a revolution is imminent, are ordered to launch ambushes against the masses. 400 killed.
  • July Days July 6th

    Red guards and Kronstadt soldiers stand up to the government.The General Strike comes to an end, and workers return to their jobs, fearful of arrest. The Government induced terror becomes near hysteria, and countless numbers are arrested as spies. All troops called in from the front arrive in Petrograd.
  • Lenin to be hunted.

    The Provisional Government orders the arrest of Lenin, claiming he is a German spy, and that the Bolsheviks incited the uprising. The Provision Government further orders the disbandment of the Petrograd garrison.
    He goes into hiding on 11July.
  • Kornilov appointed

    General L.G. Kornilov becomes the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Russian Armed Forces.
  • 2nd Coalition Government

    The Second Coalition Government is formed; Kerensky appoints himself President. The Mensheviks, Cadets, and SRs join the government.
  • Kornilov affair

    August 25-30: The Kornilov affair. Believing Russia to be at the mercy of the Soviet, right wing hero Kornilov marches to Petrograd to restore 'strong' government and crush the socialists. He has the support of many but not, as he believes, Kerensky, who turns against the coup and denounces the General.
  • Reforms to prevent more revolution by PG

    August 29-30: The PS forms a committee to act against the 'counter-revolution'; Bolsheviks are given equal power. Over 40,000 workers and soldiers form 'Red Guards' and disarm the approaching army; this new militia remains active.
  • Effects of the Kornilov affair

    • September 1-30: The Kornilov Affair has renewed the radicalism of the people and broken many remaining bonds between soldiers and their officers, workers and the upper classes; strikes reach their high point, including a 3 day, 700,000 strong railway workers protest.
  • Trotsky and other leaders released

    September 4: Trotsky and other Bolshevik leaders released from prison.
  • The Democratic Conference

    September 14-25: The Democratic Conference, a meeting of socialist and government parties invited by Kerensky and intended to end the growing crisis; the Bolsheviks walk out. Finishes with a vote for a third coalition government and a Council of the Republic (in which the Bolsheviks take part).
  • Trotsky elected head of PS

    September 25: With the other socialist parties largely seen as failures, the Bolsheviks - having gained a majority in the ruling committees of the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets - elect Trotsky chairman of the Petrograd Soviet.
  • MRC created by Petrograd Soviet

    October 9-12: The Petrograd Soviet creates a Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC), developed from the counter-revolutionary committee of the Kornilov Affair. Devoted to defending Petrograd by arming workers and organising solders, the Bolsheviks are its leading creators and commanders.
  • Bolshevik Party vote for Lenin and a revolution

    October 10: Having gained a majority in the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets, the Bolshevik Central Committee vote 10-2 in favour of Lenin's demand to seize power (he is present, in disguise). No timetable is set, but a 2nd All Russian Congress of Soviets is to be organised so it can also vote.
  • Zinoviev and Kamanev

    October 17-18: Articles by Bolshevik dissenters (notably Zinoviev and Kamanev) appear in non-Bolshevik newspapers, talking of the revolution and expressing dismay; Lenin reacts by publicly countering their arguments. Rumours of a Bolshevik uprising are now common; the PG does little to react.
  • Trotsky persuaes Lenin to delay Revolution until support is higher

    October 23: Bolshevik leaders debate launching a coup immediately, but delay until a Congress of Soviets has met and agreed. The Peter and Paul fortress garrison agrees to support the MRC; in response, the PG declares the MRC a criminal organisation and tries to arrest its leaders.
  • Kerensky sabotages Bolshevik facilities

    October 24: The PG moves against Bolshevik printers and meetings in the morning, while the MRC continues to either occupy key buildings with their troops, or gain support from the existing garrisons. Lenin is frustrated that no one has officially seized power.
  • Soviet Power spreads

    October 25-November 3: Soviet power spreads across Russia, with Bolshevik and other Socialist groups seizing control. In some regions this is easy and peaceful; in others, there is violence. Moscow's Bolsheviks attempt to copy the PS and create an MRC, but they are opposed by an active local Duma.
  • Winter palace taken by bolsheviks

    October 25: Lenin goes to a Bolshevik HQ and drafts a declaration: power passed to the MRC, but the arrest of the government has been delayed. Shortly after,Trotsky announces to the PS that the PG has been usurped and all ministers will soon be arrested; Lenin then outlines his plans for a new Soviet govt. The Second Congress of Soviets begins without a majority, the Bolsheviks need to negotiate; Menshevik and Right SR delegates walk out in disgust. That evening, the MRC occupy the Winter Palace
  • provisional Government arrested. Lenin's decrees to be passed

    October 26: Antonov-Ovseenko arrests the PG. The Congress of Soviets passes several of Lenin's decrees, including those on war, land reform and government: the Council/Soviet of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom) is created. This ruling council is entirely Bolshevik and will rule until a Constituent Assembly is elected. General opinion is that the Bolshevik government won't last long.
  • Censorship

    October 27: The Decree of the Press is issued, censoring Russian publications and press; many socialists are dismayed.
  • Kerensky attempts to fight back; fails

    October 29: Kerensky and General Krasnov advance on Petrograd with the few loyal forces they can muster but are beaten by larger Bolshevik forces at Pulkoso heights. Vikzhel, the Executive Committee of the massive railway workers' union, pushes for an all-party soviet government and forces the Bolsheviks to negotiate.
  • Moscow taken

    November 3: Bolsheviks finally take control of Moscow and the Kremlin.
  • November 10: All ranks and titles abolished.

  • Elections to the constituent assembly

    November 12-19: The elections to the Constituent Assembly in which over 44 million votes are cast across Russia. The Bolsheviks gain 23.9% of the vote, with much larger support amongst soldiers, urban workers. Moscow and Petrograd. SRs get 40%.
  • Peace negotiations begin

    November 19: Official peace negotiations begin on the Eastern Front.
  • Sovnarkom

    December 2: The Supreme Council of the National Economy created to organise the entire Russian economy; answers to the Sovnarkom.
  • The Cheka

    December 7: The Cheka, the All Russian Extraordinary Commission for the Struggle Against Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, is created. Within a year it has the right to arrest and execute people without question.
  • Coalition Government: Sovnarkom

    December 9: The Bolsheviks and Left SRs agree to a coalition government in the Sovnarkom; several SRs take up important positions.