Timeline for Russian Revolution, Civil War, and Lenin

  • Revolution of 1905 and the October Manifesto

    Revolution of 1905 and the October Manifesto
    Revolt for reform following the Russo-Japanese War, the Czardom narrowly avoids being overthrown through the October Manifesto which established the State Duma, the multi-party system, and the Russian Constitution of 1906.
  • Beginning of WWI

    Beginning of WWI
    Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, war erupts between Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States (the Allied Powers), versus Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers).
  • Czar Nicholas II take sole control of military operations

    Czar Nicholas II take sole control of military operations
    Against the cabinet’s opposition, Czar Nicholas II takes command of the Russian Army. All the discontentment with the war and the army thus reflected onto the Czar, increasing the political opposition against the tsardom.
  • Brusilov Offensive

    Brusilov Offensive
    The Brusilov Offensive was one of the most lethal offensives in history. It broke through the Austrian-Hungarian lines, and forced Germany to divert more resources toward the Eastern Front. However, it came at the cost of many Russian soldiers’ lives, with an estimated 750,000 dead Russians, and 1,000,000 dead on the side of the Triple Alliance.
  • Assassination of Rasputin

    Assassination of Rasputin
    Part of Czar Nicholas II’s inner circle due to supposedly healing Alexei—the son of Nicholas II and Alexandra—of hemophilia. Rasputin was killed by Felix Yussupov in an attempt to regain the power of the nobles in the Czardom. However, his death had only spurred further revolution within the peasantry against the Czardom instead, especially in the Bolsheviks.
  • Trotsky organizes Red Guard to defend Petrograd

    Trotsky organizes Red Guard to defend Petrograd
    The Red Guard were armed factory workers. The Red Guard helped to defend against the July Offensive and later helped to seize the provisional government.
  • International Women’s Day March in Petrograd

    International Women’s Day March in Petrograd
    Thousands of women workers on International Women’s day went on strike and demanded bread as there was a food shortage because of WW1 which then sparked a revolution.
  • Nicholas II Abdicates

    Nicholas II Abdicates
    Due to Nicholas II not being a good leader and the fact that he led the army into another costly war, this worsened the discontent throughout Russia. Then the army along with the striking workers forced Nicholas II to abdicate.
  • Provisional Government formed

    Provisional Government formed
    Following the abdication of Nicholas II, the empty space left in the political atmosphere was replaced with the Provisional Government, in order to organize elections to the Assembly.
  • Return of Lenin from exile

    Return of Lenin from exile
    Lenin being exiled for 10 years, Lenin decided to return in order to take control over the Russian Revolution and overthrow the provisional government, and with the slogan “peace, bread and land” he gained favor from the mass.
  • April Theses published

    April Theses published
    After Lenin’s return to Russia, he published the April Theses. At the time, the ruling system of Russia was controlled by 2 groups: the Provisional Government, and the Petrograd Soviets. Lenin saw this current system as unstable and called for the Bolshevik Party to withdraw from the Provisional Government to prepare for the eventual overtaking of power by the Soviets. Although it met some resistance among the Bolsheviks and Soviets, they eventually accepted his plans moving forwards.
  • First All-Russian Congress of Soviets meets

    First All-Russian Congress of Soviets meets
    This meeting’s aim was to replace the provisional government with the majority of the views being in the hands of the Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionaries.
  • July Days

    July Days
    Workers and soldiers staged armed demonstrations against the Provisional Government. This impacted the influence of the Bolsheviks as it declined temporarily because they were suppressed by the opposing side.
  • Kornilov Affair

    Kornilov Affair
    An attempted coup d'état against the Soviets by the commander-in-chief of the Russian Army, General Lavr Kornilov. The purpose was to subdue the threat of revolution, especially from the Bolsheviks in the capital of Petrograd. In the end, no combat took place due to the efforts of the Bolsheviks, and Kornilov was dismissed, eventually leading to the collapse of the Provisional Government.
  • Bolsheviks overthrow the Provisional Government and take control

    Bolsheviks overthrow the Provisional Government and take control
    Also known as the October Revolution (due to the date on the old calendar being October 25th), Lenin led the Bolsheviks in a revolution against the Provisional Government, taking over control in Petrograd. The mounting dissatisfaction with the Provisional Government led to the Bolsheviks to call for military uprising. This marked the beginning of the Russian Civil War, as not everyone recognized the Bolsheviks as the new leaders.
  • Cheka formed

    Cheka formed
    The Cheka was the secret police of the Bolsheviks and their goal was to undermine new threats to their regime. As the Bolsheviks regime grew so did the Cheka in both power and authority with their first leader being Felix Dzerzhinsky.
  • Wartime Communism created

    Wartime Communism created
    War Communism was established by the Reds during the course of the Russian Civil War in an effort to better finance their army against the Whites. It allowed soldiers to requisition crops from the peasants, taking excess resources without paying them back. It placed massive pressure on the peasants, but it was crucial in maintaining the war effort.
  • Kolchak (one of the White leaders) begins serious attacks against Reds from Siberia

    Kolchak (one of the White leaders) begins serious attacks against Reds from Siberia
    Kolchak was a known and extremist supporter of the Provisional Government, sponsored by the British, and took lead of the Siberian Regional Government to overthrow the Bolsheviks and reenter WW1. During his leadership, he heavily punished anyone who may have been associated with the Bolsheviks, and was able to take large amounts of territory in the early years of the Russian Civil War. However, in the later years of the war, his army ran out of resources, and the war effort collapsed.
  • Constituent Assembly meets and is disbanded

    Constituent Assembly meets and is disbanded
    The Constituent Assembly consisted of a popular elected body, which met in Petrograd’s Tauride Palace. Lenin urges the Bolsheviks to oppose the Constituent Assembly, seeing that it didn’t have a Soviet majority. During the assembly, they voted on the “Law of the Land” decree, which made Russia a democratic federal republic, an appeal to the Entente for democratic peace, and opposed the Bolshevik’s proposed Soviet government. It was disbanded the next day, being locked down by the Bolsheviks.
  • Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

    Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
    The treaty signified the end of the Russian involvement in World War I. The terms of this treaty were highly unfavorable to Russia as they had to cede much of their land to Germany and they to give them a large financial payment.
  • Poles move toward Kiev

    Poles move toward Kiev
    As the newly established Poland began the Kiev Offensive, they aimed to retake control of Ukraine from the Soviets, alongside the Ukrainian leader Symon Petliura after Ukraine fell under control of the Soviets following the Bolshevik Revolution. The overall goal was to create an independent Ukraine, and some Ukrainians viewed the Polish as liberators. Although the Polish were initially successful in their campaign, it was overturned at the end of the Polish-Soviet War in 1921.
  • Red Terror

    Red Terror
    Red Terror was a means to deal with those opposing the Reds. This was sometimes used as a blanket term for all political repressions of the Soviet government. Some of those caught opposing the Red were executed.
    The inscription on the banner says, "Death to the bourgeois and their helpers. Long live the Red Terror!"
  • Tambov Rebellion

    Tambov Rebellion
    One of the largest peasant rebellions opposing the Soviets during the Russian Civil War, which is also known as “Antonovschina,” or “Antonov’s mutiny,” named after Alexander Antonov, a former official who turned against the Bolsheviks. The peasants rose up against the forced requisitioning of their grains, imposed by War Communism. In the end, however, the rebellion was suppressed by the Reds.
  • Soviets attempt to take Warsaw

    Soviets attempt to take Warsaw
    The Soviets wanted to take Warsaw in the Battle of Warsaw. This was a part of a series of battles during the Polish-Soviet War, in which the Polish won which can be seen in this picture as they are holding captured Soviet battle flags.
  • Kronstadt uprising

    Kronstadt uprising
    During this the sailors were once loyal to the Soviet cause and now they are revolting because of the current situation that Russia is in. The Kronstadt hoped for more freedoms, such as the freedom of assembly and speech, also equal rations for all working people and an end to the Bolshevik monopoly on power. The picture above is the flag that the Kronstadt used.
  • Ending of Wartime Communism

    Ending of Wartime Communism
    The War Communism policy which the Reds have employed was effective in supplying the army with the resources to fight, but it put great strain on the peasants, which came to a boiling point in the recent rebellions. Lenin realized that a change must be made in order to solidify Bolshevik power and satisfy the people. It was replaced with the New Economic Programme (NEP), replacing the requisitioning of grains with a tax on all productions instead, and permitted the selling of excess resources.
  • Ukraine brought under Soviet control

    Ukraine brought under Soviet control
    As a representation of the flag, Ukraine became one of the founding members of Russia. They were under their control until the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991.
  • Treaty of Rapallo

    Treaty of Rapallo
    In the treaty, both parties, Russia and Germany, renounced all financial and territorial claims between the two. They hoped to promote trade and economic relations as well as agreed upon how to resolve differences between them.
  • Formation of Soviet Union

    Formation of Soviet Union
    The unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian republics brought about the creation of the USSR. However, there were two conflicting ideals: Vladimir Lenin wanted each republic to share their rights, but also to keep their own respective governments, while Joseph Stalin (member of the Politburo) wanted to merge all the nations under a Russian Federative Socialist Soviet Republic, centralizing the nations under one legislation.
  • Lenin dies

    Lenin dies
    Lenin dies, with the cause being a massive stroke a few months before his 54th birthday. Joseph Stalin takes power. This photo was painted by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin which was one of the few painters allowed to paint his funeral.