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N.B. Please find actual information about my tours  on my new web-site Your guide in St Petersburg

Russian Revolution

By the 20th century Saint Petersburg, the capital of the Russian Еempire, was the largest and the most populated city in Russia. Lots ofinhabitants were workers (as the city had about 300 factories) and formerpeasants (who came here looking for any job).The living conditions were terrible :people were accommodated in small rooms ( by 20 in a room) all together (children and adults, ill and healthy people) without water supply system and any facilities. They all, even women and children, had to work long hours all year round for a very poor payment. All these problems,ignored by the officials ,made people look for any ways of changing their life The most progressive-thinking workers joined Marxist circles, inspired by the Manifesto of the Communist Party , written by Marx . In 1895 Lenin founded The League of Struggle for the Emancipation of Working Class.To unite all social democrats and Marxist groups into a single revolutionary party Lenin started publishing paper Iscra.The first issue was published in Germany in December 1900.That time Russia experienced a real upsurge of the working-class movement.” Give us an organization of revolutionaries, and we will overturn Russia”- wrote Lenin. In1903 the Second Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party gave birth to a genuine Marxist party called Bolsheviks( majority). Saint-Petersburg was the centre of revolutionary struggle that period.Strikes flared up all over the country. Unpopular social reforms and defeat in Russo-Japanese war led to the 1st Russian revolution started by Bloody Sunday Massacre.


The whole story started with an ordinary event: two workers were redundant without any reasons and the foreman refused to take them back. It caused a strike in which more than 100 people took part. Workers of that plant decided to go to the tsar with the appeal concerning both social and political demands: to reduce working day, to raise wages, alongside to call Сonstituent Assembly, to abolish VAT ( value added tax), to separate Church from the State and so on. On Sunday the 9th of JanuaryOrthodox priest George Gaponled a huge workers' procession to the Winter palace. About 140 thousand people from different industrial enterprises headed for the Royal residence that day. The troops, guarding the Winter Palace, opened fire and shot down over 1000 people. The event came into the records as Bloody Sunday Massacre and it evoked public indignation and a series of strikes that spread all over Russian Empire. By the end of the January 1905 over 400000 workers in Russian Poland were on strike. There were also strikes in Finland and along the Baltic coast. In Riga 80 rebels were killed on 13th of January1905 and in Warsaw a few days later over 100 strikers were shot in the street. By the February there were strikes in the Caucasus and by April in the Urals and beyond. In March all Higher educational establishments were forcibly closed for the rest of the year, involving radical students were involved in revolutionary movement. By the end of October 1905 over 2 million railroad workers were on strike and the trains came to a standstill.. As the situation in the country grew harder tsar Nicholas the Second had to agree to give some concessions. In October 1905 he approved Manifesto which granted basic civil rights, allowed the formation of political parties and established theState Duma as the central legislative body. It was not until the April 1906 when the 1stState Duma began working.. That legislative body worked 72 days. By April 1906 more than 14 000 people had been executed and 75 000 imprisoned; the number of deaths in the Revolution 1905-1907 came to 13 000. The 3rdCongress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party(1905) defined the 1st Russian Revolution as bourgeois-democratic which ended in defeat.

In 1914 , when the 1st World War broke out, the revolutionary movement decreased. The situation changed a year later : nobility was disappointed with the defeats of Russian Army, soldiers didn’t want to fight any more, the revolutionary movement revived with double force. In January 1917270 000 people participated in strikes. By the 25th of February the whole Petrograd was involved in strikespontaneously, without any real leadership or formal planning. . Almost every industrial enterprise in Petrograd had been shut down, together with many commercial and service enterprises. Students, white-collar workers and teachers joined the workers in the streets and at public meetings and red banners appeared in the streets .On the 27th of Februarythe Petrograd Council of Workers’ and Soldiers’ deputies started working. Members of the State Duma formed Provisional Committee. The Royal government collapsed.

On the 2nd of March Tsar Nicholas the Second abdicated in favor of his brother Michael . But the Grand Duke declined , and he abdicated in favor of his son Alexei.The Royal family was put under domestic arrestin Tsarskoye Selo. On the 3rd of MarchProvisional Government was formed. The Petrograd Soviet and the Provisional Government struggled for power. Both political structures worked in Taurida Palace: Petrograd Soviet in the left wing, Provisional Government in the right wing. It was the time of dual government.

On the 3rd of AprilLenin returned from emigration.Workers and soldiers flooded the square in front of the Finland Railroad station .Standing on the armoured car Leninmade a speech greeting people and calling on them to fight for the victory of the socialist revolution. After that he headed for the former mansion of ballerina Kshesinskaya, where the Central and Petrograd Committees of the Bolshevik Party were housed. There heworked legally till June 1917.

Nationwide crisis had developed in Russia affecting social, economic, and political relations. Disorder in industry and transport had intensified and difficulties in obtaining provisions had increased. In these months more than a million workers took part in general strike though the start of the new revolution events was on May days. Between the 1st and the 4th of May 1917 about 100 000 workers and soldiers of Petrograd, led by Bolsheviks, came forward with the slogans:"Down with the war!" and "All power to the soviets!" The demonstrations resulted in a crisis for the Provisional Government. On the first of Julyabout 500 000 workers and soldiers in Petrograd appeared at the demonstrations, again demanding All power to the soviets!”, “Down with the war!” and even “Down with the ten capitalist ministers!” On the 17th of July over 500 000 people participated in a peaceful demonstration in Petrograd, so-called July Days. The Provisional Government ordered to shoot down the demonstrators. Fifty-six people were killed and 650 were wounded. Among the mistakes made by the provisional government was the arrest and trial of Vladimir Lenin, popular and beloved leader, radical policy against Bolsheviks (who were arrested), workers (who were disarmed) and the revolutionary military units in Petrograd (who were disbanded or sent off to the front). On the 12th of July the Provisional Government published a law on death penalty at the front. So the sympathy to this government vanished and the Bolsheviks' popularity with the soviets increased On the 10th of October 1917 the Bolsheviks' Central Committee decided that "an armed uprising is inevitable, and that the time for it is fully ripe".

On the 24th of October 1917 many strategic points were taken by Red Guards- the Central Telegraph Office, the bridges and others.On the evening of October the 24th Lenin left his conspirative flat, where he lived illegally. In disguise he successfully reached Smolny.The building looked like a millitary camp and was the real Headquarters of the uprising.Entrance to the building was blocked by armed guards and in the wide courtyard one could see numerous camp fires When Lenin arrived at Smolny, all regiments and factories were informed that Lenin was then in command of the uprising. By the morning 25th of October the uprising was victorious. The whole city was in hands of the revolutionary forces except the Winter Palace , the last bastion of the Provisional Government. That morningtheinhabitants heard Lenin’s appeal “ To the citizens of Russia”, transmitted by “Aurora” radio set. The same day at 9.45 p.m. legendary cruiser “Aurora” fired a blank shot which was the signal to October storming. The Winter Palace was guarded by the Cossacks, cadets and a Female battalion. After short attack the Provisional Government was arrested at 2.10 a.m. On the26th of October Lenin took part in the Second All- Russia Congress of Soviets. The Congress passed 2 important decrees- Decree on Peace and Decree on Land and formed the first Soviet Government in the world- The Soviet of People’s Commissars, headed by Lenin. The earlier date (25 of October) was made the official date of the Revolution when all offices except the Winter Palace had been taken. After the revolution all Russian banks were nationalized, private bank accounts and any other kinds of private property were confiscated, the Church's properties (including bank accounts) were seized, all foreign debts were repudiated, all control works of the factories were given to the worker’s leaders and wages were fixed at higher rates than during the war and a reduced eight-hour working day was introduced.