Russian Revolution of 1917 The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a series of political and social upheavals in Russia ,Message 1 of 1 , Jan 19, 2007View Source
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a series of political and social upheavals in Russia, involving first the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, and then the overthrow of the liberal and moderate-socialist Provisional Government, resulting in the establishment of Soviet power under the control of the Bolshevik party. This eventually led to the establishment of the Soviet Union, which lasted until its dissolution in 1991.
The Revolution occurred in phases:
- The February Revolution of 1917, which displaced the autocracy of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last Tsar of Russia, and sought to establish in its place a democratic republic.
- A period of dual power, in which the Provisional Government held state power and the national network of Soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower-classes and the political Left.
- The October Revolution, in which the Bolshevik party, led by Vladimir Lenin, and the workers' Soviets, overthrew the Provisional Government. While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and St. Petersburg, there was also a broadly based movement in cities throughout the country, among national minorities thoughout the empire, in the rural areas, where peasants seized and redistributed land.
Causes of the Russian Revolution
The year 1917 saw two distinct revolutions in Russia: the overthrow of the Tsar and formation of the Provisional Government (February Revolution), and the October Revolution in which the Bolsheviks overthrew the Provisional Government.
Russian life on the eve of war and revolution was defined by enormous change and uncertainty. Cities and industry were growing rapidly, creating expanded social opportunities but also great uncertainty. Peasant villagers more and more often migrated between agrarian and industrial work environments and many relocated entirely, creating a growing urban labor force. A middle class of white-collar employees, businessmen, and professionals (doctors, lawyers, teachers, journalists, engineers, etc.) was on the rise. Even nobles had to find new ways to subsist in this changing economy. Contemporaries spoke of new classes forming--proletarians and capitalists, for example--though these were classes also divided along crisscrossing lines of status, gender, age, ethnicity, and belief. If anything, it was becoming less and less simple to speak of clearly defined social groups or boundaries. Not only were groups fractured in various ways but their defining boundaries were increasingly blurred by migrating peasants, worker intellectuals, gentry professionals, and the like. Almost everyone felt the very texture their lives life transformed by a spreading commercial culture, which remade the very surfaces of material life (buildings, storefront, advertisements, fashion, clocks, machines) and nurtured new objects of desire.
By 1917, politically, the people of Russia resented the autocracy of Tsar Nicholas II and the corrupt and anachronistic elements in his government. Socially, Tsarist Russia stood well behind the rest of Europe in its industry and farming, resulting in few opportunities for fair advancement on the part of peasants and industrial workers. Economically, widespread inflation and food shortages in Russia contributed to the revolution. Militarily, inadequate supplies, logistics, and weaponry led to heavy losses that the Russians suffered during World War I; this further strengthened Russia's view of Nicholas II as weak and unfit to rule. Ultimately, these factors, coupled with the development of revolutionary ideas and movements (particularly since the 1905 Bloody Sunday Massacre) led to the Russian Revolution.
Economic and Social Changes
Peasants had good reason to be attracted to ideas of a more just social and political order. The abolition of serfdom in 1861 left peasants legally free but still economically dependent on landowners, who retained control over much of the land. Since then, rural commoners focused their discontents on a single goal: land. This "land hunger," as it was often called, can be explained by poverty shaped by enormous population growth, low agricultural productivity, high taxes, and rising needs and wants as the economy modernized. No less important was an elementary theory of property, common to many peasants, that land should belong to those who work it. At the same time, peasant life and culture was changing constantly. Change was facilitated by the physical movement of growing numbers of peasant villagers who migrated to and from industrial and urban environments, but also by the migration of city culture into the village through material goods, the press, and word of mouth.
Workers also had good reasons for discontent: overcrowded housing with often deplorable sanitary conditions, long hours at work (on the eve of the war a 10-hour workday six days a week was the average and many were working 11-12 hours a day by 1916), constant risk of injury and death from very poor safety and sanitary conditions, harsh discipline (not only rules and fines, but foremen's fists), and inadequate wages (made worse after 1914 by steep war-time increases in the cost of living). At the same time, urban industrial life was full of benefits, though these could be just as dangerous, from the point of view of social and political stability, as the hardships. There were many encouragements to expect more from life. Acquiring new skills gave many workers a sense of self respect and confidence, heightening expectations and desires. Living in cities, workers encountered material goods such as they had never seen while in the village. Most important, living in cities, they were exposed to new ideas about the social and political order. 
The social causes of the Russian Revolution mainly came from centuries of oppression towards the lower classes by the Tsarist regime and Nicholas's failures in World War I. While rural agrarian peasants had been emancipated from serfdom in 1861, they still resented paying redemption payments to the state, and demanded communal tender of the land they worked. The problem was further compounded by the failure of Witte's land reforms of the early 1900s. Increasing peasant disturbances and sometimes full revolts occurred, with the goal of securing ownership of their land. Russia consisted mainly of poor farming peasants, with 1.5% of the population owning 25% of the land.
The rapid industrialization of Russia also resulted in urban overcrowding and poor conditions for urban industrial workers (as mentioned above). Between 1890 and 1910, the population of the capital of St Petersburg swelled from 1,033,600 to 1,905,600, with Moscow experiencing similar growth. This created a new 'proletariat' which, due to being crowded together in the cities, was much more likely to protest and go on strike than the peasantry had been in previous times. In one 1904 survey, it was found that an average of sixteen people shared each apartment in St Petersburg, with six people per room. There was also no running water, and piles of human waste were a threat to the health of the workers. The poor conditions only aggravated the situation, with the number of strikes and incidents of public disorder rapidly increasing in the years shortly before World War I.
World War I then only added to the chaos. Conscription swept up the unwilling in all parts of Russia. The vast demand for factory production of war supplies and workers caused many more labor riots and strikes. Conscription stripped skilled workers from the cities, who had to be replaced with unskilled peasants, and then, when famine began to hit due to the poor railway system, workers abandoned the cities in droves to look for food. Finally, the soldiers themselves, who suffered from a lack of equipment and protection from the elements, began to turn against the Tsar. This was mainly because as the war progressed, many of the officers who were loyal to the Tsar were killed, and they were replaced with discontented conscripts from the major cities who were much less loyal to the Tsar.
Politically, many Russians, as well as non-Russian subjects of the crown, had reason to be dissatisfied with the existing autocratic system. Nicholas II was a deeply conservative ruler. His criteria of virtue--orderliness, family, and duty--were viewed as both personal ideals for a moral individual and rules for society and politics. Individuals and society alike were expected to show self-restraint, devotion to community and hierarchy, and a spirit of duty to country and tradition. Religious faith helped bind all this together: as a source of comfort and reassurance in the face of contradictory conditions, as a source of insight into the divine will, as a source of state power and authority. Indeed, perhaps more than any other modern monarch, Nicholas II attached himself and the future of his dynasty to the myth of the ruler as saintly and blessed father to his people. This inspiring faith, many historians have argued, was blinding: unable to believe that his power was not from God and the true Russian people were not as devoted to him as he felt he was to them, he was unwilling to allow the democratic reforms that might have prevented revolution, and when, after the 1905 revolution, he allowed limited civil rights and democratic representation, he tried to limit these in every possible way, in order to preserve his autocratic authority.
At the same time, the desire for democratic participation was strong. Not withstanding stereotypes about Russian political culture, Russia had a long tradition of democratic thought. Since the end of the eighteenth century, a whole pantheon of Russian intellectuals promoted ideals about the dignity and rights of the individual and the ethical and practical necessity of civil rights and democratic representation. These ideas were reflected most obviously among Russia's liberals, though populists, Marxists, and anarchists also all claimed this democratic heritage as their own. A growing movement of opposition challenged the autocracy even before the crisis brought by World War I. Dissatisfaction with Russian autocracy culminated in the huge national upheaval that followed the Bloody Sunday massacre of January 1905, in which Russian workers saw their pleas for justice rejected as hundreds of unarmed protesters were shot by the Tsar's troops. The response to the massacre crippled the nation with strikes forcing Nicholas to offer his October Manifesto, which promised a democratic parliament (the State Duma). However, the Tsar undermined his promises of democracy with Article 87 of the 1906 Fundamental State Laws, and then subsequently dismissed the first two Dumas when they proved uncooperative. Unfulfilled hopes of democracy fueled revolutionary ideas and violence targeted at the Tsarist regime.
One of Nicholas's reasons for going to war in 1914 was his desire to restore the prestige that Russia had lost during the Russo-Japanese war. Nicholas also wanted to galvanize the diverse people in his empire under a single banner by directing military force at a common enemy, namely Germany and the Central Powers. A common assumption among his critics is that he believed that by doing so he could also distract the people from the ongoing issues of poverty, inequality, and poor working conditions that were sources of discontent. Instead of restoring Russia's political and military standing, World War I would lead to horrifying military casualties on the Russian side and undermined it further.
World War I
The outbreak of war in August 1914 initially quieted political and social protests, focusing hostilities against an external enemy. But this patriotic unity did not last long. As the war dragged on inconclusively, war-weariness took its toll. But more important was a deeper fragility. Though many ordinary Russians joined anti-German demonstrations in the first weeks of the war, the most common popular reaction appears to have been skepticism and fatalism. Hostility toward the Kaiser and the desire to defend their land and their lives did not necessarily translate into enthusiasm for the tsar or the government.
Russia's first major battle of the war was a disaster. In the 1914 Battle of Tannenberg, over 120,000 Russian troops were killed, wounded, or captured, while Germany suffered only 20,000 casualties. In the autumn of 1915, Nicholas had taken direct command of the army, personally overseeing Russia's main theater of war and leaving his ambitious though incapable wife Alexandra in charge of the government. Reports of corruption and incompetence in the Imperial government began to emerge, and the growing influence of Grigori Rasputin in the Imperial family was widely resented. In 1915, things took a critical turn for the worse when Germany shifted its focus of attack to the Eastern front. The superior German army - better led, better trained, better supplied - was terrifyingly effective against the ill-equipped Russian forces. By the end of October 1916, Russia had lost between 1.6 and 1.8 million soldiers, with an additional two million prisoners of war and one million missing for a total of nearly five million men. These were staggering losses. Mutinies began to occur, and in 1916 reports of fraternizing with the enemy started to circulate. Soldiers went hungry and lacked shoes, munitions, and even weapons. Rampant discontent lowered morale, only to be further undermined by a series of military defeats.
Casualty rates were the most vivid sign of this disaster. Already by the end of 1914, only five months into the war, nearly 400,000 Russian men had lost their lives and nearly a million were injured. Far sooner than expected, scarcely trained recruits had to be called to active duty, a process repeated throughout the war as staggering losses continued to mount. The officer class also saw dramatic turnover, especially in the lower ranks, which quickly filled with soldiers rising through the ranks. These men, usually of peasant or worker backgrounds, would play a large role in the politicization of the troops in 1917. The huge losses on the battlefields were not limited to men. The army quickly ran short of rifles and ammunition (as well as uniforms and food). By mid-1915, men were being sent to the front without arms; they could be equipped, it was hoped, with arms recovered from fallen soldiers on the battlefields. With good reason, soldiers felt they were treated not as human beings or even as valuable soldiers but as raw material to be squandered by the rich and powerful. By the spring of 1915, the army was in steady retreat. It was not always orderly. Desertion, chaotic flight, and plunder were not uncommon. By 1916, however, the situation improved in many respects. Russian troops ceased retreating and there were even some modest successes in offensives staged that year, though at great loss of life. Also, the problems of shortages was largely solved by a major effort to increase domestic production. And yet, by the end of 1916, morale among soldiers was even worse than during the great retreat of 1915. The fortunes of war may have improved, but the fact of the war, still draining away the strength and lives of the country and of so many families and individuals, remained an oppressive fact. The crisis in morale, as Allan Wildman, a leading historian of the Russian army in war and revolution, argued, "was rooted fundamentally in the feeling of utter despair that the slaughter would ever end and that anything resembling victory could be achieved."
The war was devastating, of course, not only to soldiers. By the end of 1915, there were manifold signs that the economy was breaking down under the heightened strain of wartime demand. The main problems were food shortages and rising prices. Inflation rapidly forced down real incomes, and shortages made it difficult to buy even what one could afford. Shortages were especially a problem in the capital, Petrograd, where distance from supplies and poor transportation networks made matters particularly bad. Shops closed early or entirely for lack of bread, sugar, meat and other provisions. And lines grew for what remained. It became increasingly difficult both to afford and to buy food. Not surprising, strikes increased steadily from the middle of 1915. And so did crime. But mostly people suffered and endured--scouring the city for food (working-class women in Petrograd reportedly spent about forty hours a week in food lines ), begging, turning to prostitution or crime, tearing down wooden fences to keep stoves heated for warmth, grumbling about the rich, and wondering when and how this would all end. With good reason, government officials responsible for public order worried about how long people's patience would last. A report by the Petrograd branch of the security police, the Okhrana, in October 1916, warned bluntly of "the possibility in the near future of riots by the lower classes of the empire enraged by the burdens of daily existence."
Nicholas was blamed for all these crises, and what little support he had left began to crumble. As this discontent grew, the State Duma issued a warning to Nicholas in November 1916 stating that disaster would overtake the country unless a constitutional form of government was put in place. In typical fashion, Nicholas ignored them. Russia's Tsarist regime collapsed a few months later during the February Revolution of 1917. A year later, the Tsar and his family were executed. Ultimately, Nicholas's inept handling of his country and the War destroyed the Tsarist regime and cost him both his rule and his life.
On February 23 (March 8) 1917, thousands of women textile workers in Petrograd, the capital, walked out of their factories--partly in commemoration of International Women's Day but mainly to protest the severe shortages of bread. Already large numbers of men and women were on strike. These women stopped at any factories still working and called on workers to join them. They marched through the streets shouting "Bread," "Give us bread." During the next two days, encouraged by the efforts of hundreds of rank-and-file socialist activists, the strike spread to factories and shops throughout the capital. By the 25th, virtually every industrial enterprise in Petrograd was shut down, as were many commercial and service enterprises. Students, white-collar workers, and teachers joined workers in the streets and at public meetings. Meanwhile, in the Duma, liberal and socialist deputies more vehemently denounced the current government and demanded a responsible cabinet of ministers.
On the evening of Saturday the 25th, Nicholas II, who refused to believe warnings about the seriousness of these events, sent a fateful telegram to the chief of the Petrograd military district, General Sergei Khabalov: "I command you tomorrow to stop the disorders in the capital, which are unacceptable in the difficult time of war with Germany and Austria." Most soldiers obeyed these orders on the 26th. But mutiny, often led by lower-ranked officers, spread overnight. On the morning of the 27th, workers in the streets, many now armed, were joined by insurgent soldiers, often with red ribbons tied to their bayonets. With this disintegration of military authority in the capital, effective civil authority collapsed.
By nightime on the 27th, the cabinet submitted its resignation to the tsar and proposed a temporary military dictatorship, but Russia's military leaders rejected this course. Nicholas accepted the inevitable and abdicated on 2 March, hoping, he stated in his manifesto, by this last act of service to his nation to end the disorders and bring unity to Russia. In the wake of this collapse of the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty (for Nicholas's brother, to whom he offered the crown, refused to become tsar) a minority of the Duma's deputies declared themselves a Provisional Government.
Between February and October: "Dual Power" (dvoevlastie)
The effective power of the Provisional Government was challenged by the authority of an institution that claimed to represent the will of workers and soldiers and could, in fact, mobilize and control these groups during the early months of the revolution--the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' Deputies. The model for the soviet were workers' councils that had been established in scores of Russian cities during the 1905 revolution. In February 1917, striking workers elected deputies to represent them and socialist activists began organizing a citywide council to unite these deputies with representatives of the socialist parties. On 27 February, socialist Duma deputies, mainly Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries, took the lead in organizing a citywide council. The Petrograd Soviet met in the Tauride Palace, the same building where the new government was taking shape.
The leaders of the Petrograd Soviet believed that they represented particular classes of the population, not the whole nation. They also believed Russia was not ready for socialism. So they saw their role as limited to pressuring hesitant "bourgeoisie" to rule and to introduce extensive democratic reforms in Russia (the replacement of the monarchy by a republic, guaranteed civil rights, a democratic police and army, abolition of religious and ethnic discrimination, preparation of elections to a constituent assembly, and so on). They met in the same building as the emerging Provisional Government not to compete with the Duma Committee for state power but to best exert pressure on the new government, to act, in other words, as a popular democratic lobby.
The relationship between these two major powers was complex from the beginning and would shape the politics of 1917. The representatives of the Provisional Government agreed "take into account the opinions of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies," though they were also determined to prevent "interference in the actions of the government," which would create "an unacceptable situation of dual power." In fact, this was precisely what was being created, though this "dual power" (dvoevlastie) was the result less of the actions or attitudes of the leaders of these two institutions than of actions outside their control, especially the ongoing social movement taking place on the streets of Russia's cities, in factories and shops, in barracks and in the trenches, and in the villages.
A series of political crises-see chronology below-in the relationship between population and government and between the Provisional government and the soviets (which developed into a nationwide movement with a national leadership, The All-Russian Central Executive Committee of Soviets (VTsIK)) undermined the authority of the Provisional Government but also of the moderate socialist leaders of the Soviet. Although the Soviet leadership initially refused to participate in the "bourgeois" Provisional Government, Alexander Kerensky, a young and popular lawyer and a socialist, agreed to join the new cabinet and became an increasingly central figure in the government. As minister of war and later Prime Minister, Kerensky continued the war effort, despite the enormous discontent with the war, even organizing a new offensive (no more successful than previous ones, though). In turn, the popularity of the Bolsheviks increased. By September, electoral victories by the Bolsheviks, especially in the Moscow and Petrograd Soviets, made it possible and necessary, Lenin now argued, for the Bolsheviks to take power into their own hands. The patience of workers, soldiers, and peasants had run out, he argued. And given the Bolshevik program--immediate peace, land immediately to the peasants, and the return of the democratic liberties restricted by Kerensky--this would be a government, he argued, "that nobody can overthrow." Against much doubt in his own party--including some opposition that lasted to the very day of the insurrection--a decision to organize the immediate armed overthrow of the government was approved at a meeting of the Bolshevik central committee on 10 October.
The rising popularity of the Bolsheviks is unquestionable. Bolsheviks benefited from the deepening political polarization in Russia, as liberals and conservatives gravitated toward policies such as those advocated by General Lavr Kornilov, who attempted a coup in August, and as growing numbers of socialists and lower-class Russians viewed the government less and less as a force in support of their needs and interests. The Bolsheviks benefited as the only major organized opposition party still standing outside the government. And they benefited from growing frustration and even disgust with the compromises of the Mensheviks and SRs, who stubbornly refused to break with the idea of national unity across all classes.
The October Revolution was led by Vladimir Lenin and was based upon Lenin's writing on the ideas of Karl Marx, a political ideology often known as Marxism-Leninism. It marked the beginning of the spread of communism in the twentieth century. It was far less sporadic than the revolution of February and came about as the result of deliberate planning and coordinated activity to that end. Though Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik Party, it has been argued that since Lenin wasn't present during the actual takeover of the Winter Palace, it was really Trotsky's organization and direction that led the revolution, spurred by the motivation Lenin instigated within his party. Critics on the Right have long argued that the financial and logistical assistance of German intelligence via their key agent, Alexander Parvus was a key component as well, though historians are divided, for the evidence is sparse.
On November 7, 1917, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin led his leftist revolutionaries in a revolt against the ineffective Provisional Government (Russia was still using the Julian Calendar at the time, so period references show an October 25 date). The October Revolution ended the phase of the revolution instigated in February, replacing Russia's short-lived provisional government with a Soviet one. Although many Bolsheviks supported a soviet democracy, the 'revolution from above' model gained definitive power when Lenin died and Stalin gained control of the USSR. Trotsky and his supporters, as well as a number of other democratically-minded communists, were persecuted and eventually imprisoned or killed.
After October 1917, many SR's (members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party) and Russian Anarchists opposed the Bolsheviks through the soviets. When this failed, they revolted in a series of events calling for "a third revolution." The most notable instances were the Tambov rebellion, 19191921, and the Kronstadt rebellion in March 1921. These movements, which made a wide range of demands and lacked effective coordination, were eventually crushed during the Civil War.
Death of The Royal Family
In early March the Provisional Government placed Nicholas and his family under house arrest in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, 15 miles south of Petrograd. In August 1917 the Kerensky government evacuated the Romanovs to Tobolsk in the Urals, allegedly to protect them from the rising tide of revolution. After the Bolsheviks came to power in October 1917, the conditions of their imprisonment grew stricter and talk of putting Nicholas on trial grew more frequent. As the counter revolutionary White movement gathered force, leading to full-scale civil war by the summer, the Romanovs were moved, during April and May 1918, to Yekaterinburg, a militant Bolshevik stronghold. During the night of 1617 July, Nicholas, Alexandra, their children, their physician, and three servants were taken into the basement and executed. Whether this was on direct orders from Vladimir Lenin in Moscow (as many believe, though we lack hard evidence), or an option approved in Moscow should White troops approach Yekaterinburg, or at the initiative of local Bolsheviks, remains in dispute, as does whether the order (if there was an order) was for the execution of Nicholas alone or the entire family. The royal family was lined up as if for a picture, then the shooting commenced, which accounts by participants described as choatic, partly because the jewels inside the women's undergarments deflected many of the initial shots.
The Russian Civil War, which broke out in 1918 shortly after the revolution, brought death and suffering to millions of people regardless of their political orientation. The war was fought mainly between the Red Army ("Reds"), consisting of radical communists and revolutionaries, and the "Whites" - the monarchists, conservatives, liberals and moderate socialists who opposed the drastic restructuring championed by the Bolsheviks. The Whites had backing from nations such as the UK, France, USA and Japan.
Also during the Civil War, Nestor Makhno led a Ukrainian anarchist movement which generally cooperated with the Bolsheviks. However, a Bolshevik force under Mikhail Frunze destroyed the Makhnovist movement, when the Makhnovists refused to merge into the Red Army. In addition, the so-called "Green Army" (nationalists and anarchists) played a secondary role in the war, mainly in Ukraine.
The Russian revolution and the world
Lenin and Trotsky said that the goal of socialism in Russia would not be realized without the success of the world revolution. Indeed, a revolutionary wave lasted until 1923. Despite initial hopes for success in the German Revolution, in the short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic and others like it, no other Marxist movement succeeded in keeping power in its hands.
The confusion regarding Stalin's position on the issue stems from the fact that he, after Lenin's death in 1924, successfully used Lenin's argument - the argument that socialism's success needs the workers of other countries in order to happen - to defeat his competitors within the party by accusing them of betraying Lenin and, therefore, the ideals of the October Revolution.
Brief chronology leading to Revolution of 1917
Dates are correct for the Julian calendar, which was used in Russia until 1918. It was twelve days behind the Gregorian calendar during the 19th century and thirteen days behind it during the 20th century.
Date(s) Event(s) 1855 Start of reign of Tsar Alexander II 1861 Emancipation of the serfs 1874-81 Growing anti-government terrorist movement and government reaction 1881 Alexander II assassinated by revolutionaries; succeeded by Alexander III 1883 First Russian Marxist group formed 1894 Start of reign of Nicholas II 1898 First Congress of Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) 1900 Foundation of Socialist Revolutionary Party (SR) 1903 Second Congress of Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. Beginning of split between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. 1904-5 Russo-Japanese War; Russia loses war 1905 Russian Revolution of 1905. 1906 First State Duma. Prime Minister - Petr Stolypin. Agrarian reforms begin 1907 Second State Duma, February - June 1907 Third State Duma, until 1912 1911 Stolypin assassinated 1912 Fourth State Duma, until 1917. Bolshevik/Menshevik split final 1914 Germany declares war on Russia 1915 Serious defeats, Nicholas II declares himself Commander in Chief. Progressive Bloc formed. 1916 Food and fuel shortages and high prices 1917 Strikes and riots; troops summoned to Petrograd
Expanded chronology of Revolution of 1917
Gregorian Date Julian Date Event January Strikes and unrest in Petrograd February February Revolution March 8th February 23rd International Women's Day: strikes and demonstrations in Petrograd, growing over the next few days February 26th 50 demonstrators killed in Znamenskaya Square Tsar Nicholas II prorogues the State Duma and orders commander of Petrograd military district to suppress disorders with force. February 27th * Troops refuse to fire on demonstrators, desertions. Prison, courts, and police stations attacked and looted by angry crowds. March 1st Order No.1 of the Petrograd Soviet March 2nd Nicholas II abdicates. Provisional Government formed under Prime Minister Prince Lvov April 3rd Return of Lenin to Russia. He publishes his April Theses. April 20th-21st "April Days": mass demonstrations by workers, soldiers, and others in the streets of Petrograd and Moscow triggered by the publication of the Foreign Minister Miliukov's note to the allies, which was interpreted as affirming commitment to the war policies of the old government. First Provisional Government falls. May 5th First Coalition Government forms when socialists, representatives of the Soviet leadership, agree to enter the cabinet of the Provisional Government. Kerensky, the only socialist already in the government, made minister of war and navy June 3rd First All-Russian Congress of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies opens in Petrograd. Closed on 24th. Elects Central Executive Committee of Soviets (VTsIK), headed by Mensheviks and SRs. June 10th Planned Bolshevik demonstration in Petrograd banned by the Soviet. June 16th Kerensky orders offensive against Austro-Hungarian forces. Initial success only. June 18th Official Soviet demonstration in Petrograd for unity is unexpectedly dominated by Bolshevik slogans: "Down with the Ten Capitalist Ministers," "All Power to the Soviets." July 2nd Russian offensive ends. Trotsky joins Bolsheviks. July 3rd 4th The "July Days"; mass armed demonstrations in Petrograd, encouraged by the Bolsheviks, demanding "All Power to the Soviets." July 6th German and Austro-Hungarian counter-attack. Russians retreat in panic, sacking the town of Tarnopol. Arrest of Bolshevik leaders ordered. July 7th Lvov resigns and asks Kerensky to become Prime Minister and form a new government. Established July 25th. July 22nd Trotsky and Lunacharskii arrested August 26th Second coalition government ends August 26th-30th "Kornilov mutiny." Begins when the commander-in-chief of the Russian army, General Lavr Kornilov, demands (or is believed by Kerensky to demand) that the government give him all civil and military authority and moves troops against Petrograd. August 31st Majority of deputies of the Petrograd Soviet approve a Bolshevik resolution for an all-socialist government excluding the bourgeoisie September 1st Russia declared a republic September 4th Trotsky and others freed. September 5th Bolshevik resolution on the government wins majority vote in Moscow Soviet September 19th Moscow Soviet elects executive committee and new presidium, with Bolshevik majorities, and the Bolshevik Viktor Nogin as chairman September 25th Third coalition government formed. Bolshevik majority in Petrograd Soviet elects Bolshevik Presidium and Trotsky as chairman. October 10th Bolshevik Central Committee meeting approves armed uprising. October 11th Congress of Soviets of the Northern Region, until October 13th October 20th First meeting of the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet November 7th October 25th October Revolution is launched as MRC directs armed workers and soldiers to capture key buildings in Petrograd. Winter Palace attacked at 9.40pm and captured at 2am. Kerensky flees Petrograd. Opening of the 2nd All-Russian Congress of Soviets. October 26th Second Congress of Soviets: Mensheviks and right SR delegates walk out in protest against the previous day's events. Congress approves transfer of state authority into its own hands and local power into the hands of local soviets of workers', soldiers', and peasants' deputies, abolishes capital punishment, issues Decree on Peace and Decree on Land, and approves the formation of an all-Bolshevik government, the Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom), with Lenin as chairman.