February Revolution

The February Revolution (Russian: Февра́льская револю́ция, IPA: [fʲɪvˈralʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə]), known in Soviet historiography as the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution,[2] was the first of two revolutions which took place in Russia in 1917.

The main events of the revolution took place in and near Petrograd (present-day St. Petersburg), the then-capital of Russia, where long-standing discontent with the monarchy erupted into mass protests against food rationing on 23 February Old Style (8 March New Style).[3] Revolutionary activity lasted about eight days, involving mass demonstrations and violent armed clashes with police and gendarmes, the last loyal forces of the Russian monarchy. On 27 February O.S. (12 March N.S.) mutinous Russian Army forces sided with the revolutionaries. Three days later Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, ending Romanov dynastic rule and the Russian Empire. A Russian Provisional Government under Prince Georgy Lvov replaced the Council of Ministers of Russia.

The revolution appeared to break out without any real leadership or formal planning.[4] Russia had been suffering from a number of economic and social problems, which compounded after the start of World War I in 1914. Disaffected soldiers from the city's garrison joined bread rioters, primarily women in bread lines, and industrial strikers on the streets. As more and more troops deserted, and with loyal troops away at the Front, the city fell into chaos, leading to the overthrow of the Tsar. In all, over 1,300 people were killed during the protests of February 1917.[5]

February Revolution (Russian)
Part of the Russian Revolution
Revolución-marzo-rusia--russianbolshevik00rossuoft

Attacking the Tsar's police during the first days
of the February Revolution
Date8–16 March 1917 [O.S. 23 February – March 03]
Location
Result

Revolutionary victory

Belligerents

Russia Russian Imperial Government

Revolutionaries
Petrograd Garrison (Late)
Commanders and leaders
Russia Nicholas II
Russia Nikolai Golitsyn
Russia Sergey Khabalov
Russia Mikhail Belyaev
Russia Nikolai Ivanov
Russia Various
Casualties and losses
1,443 killed in Petrograd[1]

Causes

A number of factors contributed to the February Revolution, both short and long term. Historians disagree on the main factors that contributed to this. Liberal historians emphasise the turmoil created by the war, whereas Marxists emphasise the inevitability of change.[6] Alexander Rabinowitch summarises the main long-term and short-term causes:

The February 1917 revolution ... grew out of pre-war political and economic instability, technological backwardness, and fundamental social divisions, coupled with gross mismanagement of the war effort, continuing military defeats, domestic economic dislocation, and outrageous scandals surrounding the monarchy.[7]

Long-term causes

Despite its occurrence at the height of World War I, the roots of the February Revolution date further back. Chief among these was Imperial Russia's failure, throughout the 19th and early 20th century, to modernise its archaic social, economic and political structures while maintaining the stability of ubiquitous devotion to an autocratic monarch. As historian Richard Pipes writes, "the incompatibility of capitalism and autocracy struck all who gave thought to the matter".[8]

The first major event of the Russian Revolution was the February Revolution, which was a chaotic affair, caused by the culmination of over a century of civil and military unrest. There were many causes of this unrest of the common people towards the Tsar and aristocratic landowners. The causes can be summarized as the ongoing cruel treatment of peasants by the bourgeoisie, poor working conditions of industrial workers and the spreading of western democratic ideas by political activists. All of these causes led to a growing political and social awareness in the lower classes of Russia. Dissatisfaction of proletarians was compounded by food shortages and military failures. In 1905, Russia experienced humiliating losses in its war with Japan, then Bloody Sunday and the Revolution of 1905, in which Tsarist troops fired upon a peaceful, unarmed crowd, further dividing Nicholas II from his people. Widespread strikes, riots and the famous mutiny on the Battleship Potemkin ensued.

These conditions caused much agitation among the small working and professional classes. This tension erupted into general revolt with the 1905 Revolution, and again under the strain of war in 1917, this time with lasting consequences.

Short-term causes

MarchRevolutionShootingInPetrograd--nsillustratedwar04londuoft.jpeg
Students and soldiers firing across the Moyka at the police

The revolution was provoked by Russian military failures during the First World War,[9] as well as public dissatisfaction with the way the country was run on the home front. The economic challenges faced due to fighting a total war also contributed.

In August 1914, all classes supported[10] and virtually all political deputies voted in favour of the war.[11] The declaration of war was followed by a revival of nationalism across Russian society, which temporarily reduced internal strife.[9] The army achieved some early victories (such as in Galicia in 1915 and with the Brusilov Offensive in 1916) but also suffered major defeats, notably Tannenberg in August 1914, the Winter Battle in Masuria in February 1915 and the loss of Russian Poland during May to August 1915. Nearly six million casualties—dead, wounded and missing—had been accrued by January 1917. Mutinies sprang up more often (most due to simple war-weariness), morale was at its lowest, and the newly called up officers and commanders were at times very incompetent. Like all major armies, Russia's armed forces had inadequate supply.[12] The pre-revolution desertion rate ran at around 34,000 a month.[13] Meanwhile, the wartime alliance of industry, Duma (lower house of parliament) and Stavka (Military High Command) started to work outside the Tsar's control.[14]

In an attempt to boost morale and repair his reputation as a leader, Nicholas announced in the summer of 1915 that he would take personal command of the army, in defiance of almost universal advice to the contrary.[6] The result was disastrous on three grounds. Firstly, it associated the monarchy with the unpopular war; secondly, Nicholas proved to be a poor leader of men on the front, often irritating his own commanders with his interference;[15] and thirdly, being at the front made him unavailable to govern. This left the reins of power to his wife, the German Tsarina Alexandra, who was unpopular and accused of being a spy and under the thumb of her confidant, Grigori Rasputin, himself so unpopular that he was assassinated by members of the nobility in December 1916.[9] The Tsarina proved an ineffective ruler in a time of war, announcing a rapid succession of different Prime Ministers and angering the Duma.[9] The lack of strong leadership is illustrated by a telegram from Octobrist politician Mikhail Rodzianko to the Tsar on 26 February O.S. (11 March N.S), 1917, in which Rodzianko begged for a minister with the "confidence of the country" be instated immediately. Delay, he wrote, would be "tantamount to death".[16]

On the home front, a famine loomed and commodities became scarce due to the overstretched railroad network. Meanwhile, refugees from German-occupied Russia came in their millions.[17] The Russian economy, which had just seen one of the highest growth rates in Europe, was blocked from the continent's markets by the war. Though industry did not collapse, it was considerably strained and when inflation soared, wages could not keep up.[18] The Duma, which was composed of liberal deputies, warned Tsar Nicholas II of the impending danger and counselled him to form a new constitutional government, like the one he had dissolved after some short-term attempts in the aftermath of the 1905 Revolution. The Tsar ignored the advice.[4] Historian Edward Acton argues that "by stubbornly refusing to reach any modus vivendi with the Progressive Bloc of the Duma... Nicholas undermined the loyalty of even those closest to the throne [and] opened an unbridgeable breach between himself and public opinion."[6] In short, the Tsar no longer had the support of the military, the nobility or the Duma (collectively the élites), or the Russian people. The result was revolution.[19]

Events

Towards the February Revolution

Отречение Николая II
The abdication of Nicholas II on March 2, 1917 O.S. In the royal train: Minister of the Court Baron Fredericks, General N. Ruzsky, V. V. Shulgin, A. I. Guchkov, Nicholas II. (State Historical Museum)

On 29 December O.S. (11 January N.S.), a hesitating Nikolai Golitsyn became the successor of Trepov, who was dismissed. Golitsyn begged the Emperor to cancel his appointment, citing his lack of preparation for the role of Prime Minister. On 3 January O.S. (16 January N.S) Dmitry Shuvayev, who did not speak any foreign language, was succeeded by Mikhail Belyaev as Minister of War, likely at the request of the Empress.[20]

"In the seventeen months of the 'Tsarina's rule', from September 1915 to February 1917, Russia had four Prime Ministers, five Ministers of the Interior, three Foreign Ministers, three War Ministers, three Ministers of Transport and four Ministers of Agriculture. This "ministerial leapfrog", as it came to be known, not only removed competent men from power, but also disorganized the work of government since no one remained long enough in office to master their responsibilities."[21]

The Duma President Mikhail Rodzianko, Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna and British ambassador Buchanan joined calls for Alexandra to be removed from influence, but Nicholas still refused to take their advice.[22] Many people came to the conclusion that the problem was not Rasputin.[23] According to Rodzianko the Empress "exerts an adverse influence on all appointments, including even those in the army." On 11 January O.S. (24 January N.S.) the Duma opening was postponed to the 25th (7 February N.S.).[24] On 14 January O.S. (27 January N.S.) Georgy Lvov proposed to Grand Duke Nicholas that he take control of the country. At the end of January/beginning of February major negotiations took place between the allied powers in Petrograd; unofficially they sought to clarify the internal situation in Russia.[25] On 14 February O.S. (27 February N.S.) police agents reported that army officers had, for the first time, mingled with the crowds demonstrating against the war and the government on Nevsky Prospekt. Kerensky took the opportunity to attack the tsarists regime.

Protests

Демонстрация работниц Путиловского завода в первый день Февральской революции 1917
Putilov workers protesting in the streets
Multitud2EnNevskyProspektMarzo1917--russiainrevolut00jone
Protesters on the Nevsky Prospekt
MultitudEnNevskyProspektEncabezadaPorSoldadosMarzo1917--russiainrevolut00jone
Crowd on the Nevski Prospekt
Miting-gosduma-1917
Gathering at the Tauride Palace
QuemaDeSímbolosImperiales1917--russiainrevolut00jone
Burning of monarchistic symbols on 27 February (O.S.)
Автомобиль с вооружёнными солдатами и сотрудниками городской милиции (Петроград, февраль 1917 года)
Mutinying soldiers in and on a car

By 1917, the majority of Russians had lost faith in the Tsarist regime.[26] Government corruption was unrestrained, and Tsar Nicholas II had frequently disregarded the Imperial Duma. Thousands of workers flooded the streets of Petrograd (modern St. Petersburg) to show their dissatisfaction.[27] The first major protest of the February Revolution occurred on 18 February O.S. (3 March N.S) as workers of Putilov Factory, Petrograd's largest industrial plant, announced a strike to demonstrate against the government.[5] Strikes continued on the following days. Due to heavy snowstorms, tens of thousands of freight cars were stuck on the tracks, with the bread and fuel. On 22 February O.S. (7 March N.S.) the Tsar left for the front.[28]

On 23 February O.S. (8 March N.S.), Putilov protesters were joined in the uprising by those celebrating International Woman's Day and protesting against the government's implemented food rationing.[29] As the Russian government began rationing flour and bread, rumors of food shortages circulated and bread riots erupted across the city of Petrograd.[29] Women, in particular, were passionate in showing their dissatisfaction with the implemented rationing system, and the female workers marched to nearby factories to recruit over 50,000 workers for strike.[30] Both men and women flooded the streets of Petrograd, demanding an end to Russian food shortages, the end of World War I and the end of autocracy."[27] By the following day 24 February O.S. (March 9 N.S), nearly 200,000 protesters filled the streets, demanding the replacement of the Tsar with a more progressive political leader.[27] The protesting mob called for the war to end and for the Russian monarchy to be overthrown.[29] By 25 February O.S (10 March N.S), nearly all industrial enterprises in Petrograd were shut down by the uprising.[5] Although all gatherings on the streets were absolutely forbidden some 250,000 people were on strike. The president of the Imperial Duma Rodzianko asked the chairman of the Council of Ministers Nikolai Golitsyn to resign; the minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolai Pokrovsky proposed the resignation of the whole government. There were disturbances on the Nevsky Prospect during the day[31] and in the late afternoon four people were killed.

The Tsar took action to address the riots on 25 February O.S (10 March N.S) by wiring garrison commander General Sergey Semyonovich Khabalov, an inexperienced and extremely indecisive commander of the Petrograd military district, to disperse the crowds with rifle fire[32][33] and to suppress the "impermissible" rioting by force. On the 26 February O.S (11 March N.S) the center of the city was fenced off.

That evening Golitsyn used a (signed,[34] but not yet dated) ukaze declaring that his Majesty had decided to interrupt the Duma until April, leaving it with no legal authority to act.[note 1]

During the late afternoon of 26 February O.S (11 March N.S) the Fourth Company of the Pavlovski Replacement Regiment broke out of their barracks upon learning that another detachment of the regiment had clashed with demonstrators near the Kazan Cathedral. After firing at mounted police the soldiers of the Fourth Company were disarmed by the Preobrazhensky Regiment. This marked the first instance of open mutiny in the Petrograd garrison.[36]

On the next day (27 February O.S, 12 March N.S), the Duma remained obedient, and "did not attempt to hold an official sitting". Then some delegates decided to form a Provisional Committee of the State Duma, led by Rodzianko and backed by major Moscow manufacturers and St. Petersburg bankers. Its first meeting was on the same evening and ordered the arrest of all the ex-ministers and senior officials.[37] The Duma refused to head the revolutionary movement. At the same time, socialists also formed the Petrograd Soviet. In the Marinsky Palace the Council of Ministers of Russia, assisted by Rodzyanko, held its last meeting. Protopopov was told to resign and offered to commit suicide.[38] The Council formally submitted its resignation to the Tsar.

By nightfall, General Khabalov and his forces faced a capital controlled by revolutionaries.[39] The protesters of Petrograd burned and sacked the premises of the district court, the headquarters of the secret police, and many police stations. They also occupied the Ministry of Transport, seized the arsenal, and released prisoners into the city.[39] Army officers retreated into hiding and many took refuge in the Admiralty building, but moved that night to the Winter Palace.[40]

Tsar's return and abdication

1Марта1917
Gathering of the Duma on 1 March (O.S.)
ManifestaciónAFavorDeLaRepúblicaPetrogrado1917--russiainrevolut00jone
Protests in the street of Petrograd
Знаменская площадь во время февральской революции 1917 года
Protesters on Znamensky Square in front of the statue of Alexander III

On 26 February O.S (11 March N.S) Mikhail Rodzianko, Chairman of the Duma, had sent the Tsar a report of the chaos in a telegram (exact wordings and translations differ, but each retains a similar sense[16]):

The situation is serious. The capital is in a state of anarchy. The Government is paralyzed. Transport service and the supply of food and fuel have become completely disrupted. General discontent is growing ... There must be no delay. Any procrastination is tantamount to death.

— Rodzianko's first telegram to the Tsar, 11 March [O.S. 26 February] 1917.[16]

Nicholas's response on 27 February O.S (12 March N.S), perhaps based on the Empress's earlier letter to him that the concern about Petrograd was an over-reaction, was one of irritation that "again, this fat Rodzianko has written me lots of nonsense, to which I shall not even deign to reply".[41] Meanwhile, events unfolded in Petrograd. The bulk of the garrison mutinied, starting with the Volynsky Life Guards Regiment. Soldiers of this regiment brought the Litovsky, Preobrazhensky, and Moskovsky Regiments out on the street to join the rebellion,[42][39] resulting in the hunting down of police and the gathering of 40,000 rifles which were dispersed among the workers.[5] Even the Cossack units that the government had come to use for crowd control showed signs that they supported the people. Although few actively joined the rioting, many officers were either shot or went into hiding; the ability of the garrison to hold back the protests was all but nullified. Symbols of the Tsarist regime were rapidly torn down around the city and governmental authority in the capital collapsed — not helped by the fact that Nicholas had prorogued the Duma that morning, leaving it with no legal authority to act. Attempts were made by high-ranking military leaders to persuade the Tsar to resign power to the Duma in an effort to collapse war efforts and establish far-left power.[4] The response of the Duma, urged on by the Progressive Bloc, was to establish a Provisional Committee to restore law and order; the Provisional Committee declared itself the governing body of the Russian Empire. "Chief among them was the desire to bring the war to a successful conclusion in conjunction with the Allies; and the very cause of their opposition was the ever deepening conviction that this was unattainable under the present government and under the present regime.[43] Meanwhile, the socialist parties re-established the Petrograd Soviet, first created during the 1905 revolution, to represent workers and soldiers. The remaining loyal units switched allegiance the next day.[44]

On 28 February, Rodzianko invited the Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich and Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich to put their signatures to the drafting of the Manifesto, in which Emperor Nicholas II was recommended to introduce the constitutional system in Russia. Rodzianko said that the Emperor will be asked to sign this Manifesto on 1 March at the station of Tsarskoe Selo immediately after his return. Late in the evening the text "Grand Manifesto" was signed by the Grand Dukes Paul Alexandrovich, Kirill Vladimirovich and Grand Duke Dmitry Konstantinovich. But the Empress refused to sign the draft. "I'm not a ruler – said the Empress – and have no rights to take the initiative in the absence of the Emperor. Moreover, this paper may not be only illegal, but useless."[45]

On 28 February O.S (13 March N.S), at five in the morning, the Tsar left Mogilev, (and also directed Nikolay Iudovich Ivanov to go to Tsarskoe Selo) but was unable to reach Petrograd as revolutionaries meanwhile controlled railway stations around the capital. Around midnight the train was stopped at Malaya Vishera, turned, and in the evening of 1 March O.S (14 March N.S) Nicholas arrived in Pskov. In the meantime the units guarding the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo either "declared their neutrality" or left for Petrograd and thus abandoned the Imperial Family. The Provisional Committee declared itself the governing body of the Russian Empire.

The Army Chief Nikolai Ruzsky, and the Duma deputies Vasily Shulgin and Alexander Guchkov who had come to advise the Tsar, suggested that he abdicate the throne. He did so on behalf of himself and his son, Tsarevich Alexei.[42] At 3 o'clock in the afternoon on 2 March O.S (15 March N.S), Nicholas nominated his brother, the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, to succeed him. The next day the Grand Duke realised that he would have little support as ruler, so he declined the crown,[42] stating that he would take it only if that was the consensus of democratic action by the Russian Constituent Assembly, which shall define the form of government for Russia.[46] The 300 year-old Romanov dynasty ended with the Grand Duke's decision on 3 March O.S (17 March N.S).[47] On 8 March O.S (22 March N.S) the former Tsar, addressed with contempt by the sentries as "Nicholas Romanov", was reunited with his family at the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.[48] He and his family and loyal retainers were placed under protective custody by the Provisional Government in the palace.[49]

Establishment of Dual Power

The February Revolution immediately caused widespread excitement in Petrograd.[50] On 3 March O.S (16 March N.S), a provisional government was announced by the Provisional Committee of the State Duma. The Provisional Government published its manifesto declaring itself the governing body of the Russian Empire that same day.[47] The manifesto proposed a plan of civic and political rights and the installation of a democratically elected Russian Constituent Assembly, but did not touch on many of the topics that were driving forces in the revolution such as participation in World War I and land.[51] At the same time, the Petrograd Soviet (or workers' council) began organizing and was officially formed on 27 February. The Petrograd Soviet and the Provisional Government shared dual power over Russia. The term dual power came about as the driving forces in the fall of the monarchy, opposition to the human and widespread political movement, became politically institutionalized.[52]

Georgy Lvov, 1906 drawing
Prince Georgy Lvov, first head of the Provisional Government
Nikolay ('Karlo') Chkheidze (1864-1926), Georgian Menshevik politician (small)
Nikolay Chkheidze, first Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet

While the Soviet represented the proletariat, the provisional government represented the bourgeoisie. The Soviet had stronger practical power because it controlled the workers and the soldiers, but it did not want to become involved in administration and bureaucracy; the Provisional Government lacked support from the population. Since the Provisional Government did not have the support of the majority and, in an effort to keep their claim to democratic mandate, they welcomed socialist parties to join in order to gain more support and Dvoyevlastiye (dual power) was established.[47] However, the Soviet asserted de facto supremacy as early as 1 March O.S (14 March N.S) (before the creation of the Provisional Government), by issuing Order No. 1:

The orders of the Military Commission of the State Duma [part of the organisation which became the Provisional Government] shall be executed only in such cases as do not conflict with the orders and resolution of the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.

— Point 4 of Order No. 1, 1 March 1917.[16]

Order No. 1 ensured that the Dual Authority developed on the Soviet's conditions. The Provisional Government was not a publicly elected body (having been self-proclaimed by committee members of the old Duma) and it lacked the political legitimacy to question this arrangement and instead arranged for elections to be held later.[53] The Provisional Government had the formal authority in Russia but the Soviet Executive Committee and the soviets had the support of the majority of the population. The soviets held the real power to effect change. The Provisional Government represented an alliance between liberals and socialists who wanted political reform.

The initial soviet executive chairmen were Menshevik Mikola Ckheidze, Matvey Skobelev and Alexander Kerensky. The chairmen believed that the February Revolution was a "Bourgeois revolution" about bringing capitalist development to Russia instead of socialism.[52] The center-left was well represented, and the government was initially chaired by a liberal aristocrat, Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov, a man with no connections to any official party.[54] The Provisional government included 9 Duma deputies and 6 from the Kadet party in ministerial positional, representing professional and business interests, the bourgeoisie.[51] As the left moved further left in Russia over the course of 1917, the Kadets became the main conservative party. Despite this, the provisional government strove to implement further left leaning policies with the repeal of the death penalty, amnesty for political prisoners and freedom of the press.[51]  

Dual Power was not prevalent outside of the capital and political systems varied from province to province. One example of a system gathered the educated public, workers and soldiers to facilitate order and food systems, democratic elections and the removal of tsarist officials.[51] In a short amount of time, 3,000 deputies were elected to the Petrograd soviet.[52] The soviet quickly became the representative responsible for fighting for workers and soldiers hopes for "bread, peace and land". In the spring of 1917, 700 soviets were established across Russia, equalling about a third of the population, representing the proletariat and their interests.[47] The soviets spent their time pushing for a constituent assembly rather than swaying the public to believe they were a more morally sound means of governing.[52]

Long-term effects

After the abdication of the throne by the Tsar, the Provisional Government declared itself the new form of authority. The Provisional Government shared Kadet views. The Kadets began to be seen as a conservative political party and as "state-minded" by other Russians. At the same time the Provisional Government was put into place, the Soviet Executive Committee was also forming. The Soviet represented workers and soldiers, while the Provisional Government represented the middle and upper social classes. The Soviet also gained support from Social Revolutionists and Menshoviks when the two groups realized that they did not want to support the Provisional Government. When these two powers existed at the same time, "dual power" was created. The Provisional Government was granted formal authority, but the Soviet Executive Committee had the support of the people resulting in political unrest until the Bolshevik takeover in October.[52]

19170704 Riot on Nevsky prosp Petrograd
A scene from the July Days. The army had just opened fire on street protesters.
ColaDelPanPetrogrado1917
The queue at the grocery store in Petrograd. 1917

Vladimir Lenin, exiled in neutral Switzerland, arrived in Petrograd from Zürich on 16 April O.S (29 April N.S). He immediately began to undermine the provisional government, issuing his April Theses the next month. These theses were in favor of "Revolutionary defeatism", which argues that the real enemy is those who send the proletariat into war, as opposed to the "imperialist war" (whose "link to Capital" must be demonstrated to the masses) and the "social-chauvinists" (such as Georgi Plekhanov, the grandfather of Russian socialism), who supported the war. The theses were read by Lenin to a meeting of only Bolsheviks and again to a meeting of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, both being extreme leftist parties, and was also published. He believed that the most effective way to overthrow the government was to be a minority party and to give no support to the Provisional Government.[55] Lenin also tried to take control of the Bolshevik movement and attempted to win proletariat support by the use of slogans such as "Peace, bread and land", "End the war without annexations or indemnities", "All power to the Soviet" and "All land to those who work it".[51]

Initially, Lenin and his ideas did not have widespread support, even among Bolsheviks. In what became known as the July Days, approximately half a million soldiers, sailors, and workers, some of them armed, came out onto the streets of Petrograd in protest. The protesters seized automobiles, fought with people of authority, and often fired their guns into the air. The crowd was so uncontrollable that the Soviet leadership sent the Socialist Revolutionary Victor Chernov, a widely liked politician, to the streets to calm the crowd. The demonstrators, lacking leadership, disbanded and the government survived. Leaders of the Soviet placed the blame of the July Days on the Bolsheviks, as did the Provisional Government who issued arrest warrants for prominent Bolsheviks. Historians debated from early on whether this was a planned Bolshevik attempt to seize power or a strategy to plan a future coup.[56] Lenin fled to Finland and other members of the Bolshevik party were arrested. Lvov was replaced by the Socialist Revolutionary minister Alexander Kerensky as head of the Provisional Government.[57]

Kerensky declared freedom of speech, ended capital punishment, released thousands of political prisoners and tried to maintain Russian involvement in World War I. He faced many challenges related to the war: there were still very heavy military losses on the front; dissatisfied soldiers deserted in larger numbers than before; other political groups did their utmost to undermine him; there was a strong movement in favor of withdrawing Russia from the war, which was seen to be draining the country, and many who had initially supported it now wanted out; and there was a great shortage of food and supplies, which was very difficult to remedy in wartime conditions. All of these were highlighted by the soldiers, urban workers, and peasants who claimed that little had been gained by the February Revolution. Kerensky was expected to deliver on his promises of jobs, land, and food almost instantaneously, and failed to do so.[58]

The Kornilov Affair arose when Commander-in-Chief of the Army, General Lavr Kornilov, directed an army under Aleksandr Krymov to march toward Petrograd with Kerensky's agreement. Although the details remain sketchy, Kerensky appeared to become frightened by the possibility of a coup and the order was countermanded. (Historian Richard Pipes is adamant that the episode was engineered by Kerensky). On 27 August O.S (9 September N.S), feeling betrayed by the Kerensky government, who had previously agreed with his views on how to restore order to Russia, Kornilov pushed on towards Petrograd. With few troops to spare on the front, Kerensky was turned to the Petrograd Soviet for help.[59] Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries confronted the army and convinced them to stand down. Right-wingers felt betrayed, and the left wing was resurgent. Pressure from the Allies to continue the war against Germany put the government under increasing strain. The conflict between the "diarchy" became obvious, and ultimately the regime and the dual power formed between the Petrograd Soviet and the Provisional Government, instigated by the February Revolution, was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution.[60]

Historiography

When discussing the historiography of the February Revolution there are three historical interpretations which are relevant: Liberal, Soviet, and Revisionist. These three different approaches exist separately from one another because of their respective beliefs of what ultimately caused the collapse of a Tsarist government in February.

  • Soviet historians present a story in which the masses that brought about revolution in February were organized groups of 'modernizing' peasants who were bringing about an era of both industrialization and freedom.[61] Soviet historian Sokolov has been outspoken about the belief that the revolution in February was a coming together of the people and was more positive than the October revolution. Soviet historians consistently place little emphasis on the role of World War I (WWI) in leading to the February Revolution.
  • In contrast, Liberal perspectives of the February revolution almost always acknowledge WWI as a catalyst to revolution. On the whole, though, Liberal historians credit the Bolsheviks with the ability to capitalize on the worry and dread instilled in Russian citizens because of WWI.[62] The overall message and goal of the February Revolution, according to the Liberal perspective, was ultimately democracy; the proper climate and attitude had been created by WWI and other political factors which turned public opinion against the Tsar.
  • Revisionist historians present a timeline where revolution in February was far less inevitable than the liberals and soviets would make it seem. Revisionists track the mounting pressure on the Tsarist regime back further than the other two groups to unsatisfied peasants in the countryside upset over matters of land-ownership.[63] This tension continued to build into 1917 when dissatisfaction became a full blown institutional crisis incorporating the concerns of many groups. Revisionist historian Richard Pipes has been outspoken about his anti-communist approach to the Russian Revolution.
"Studying Russian history from the West European perspective, one also becomes conscious of the effect that the absence of feudalism had on Russia. Feudalism had created in the West networks of economic and political institutions that served the central state[;] once it replaced the feudal system, as a source of social support and relative stability. Russia knew no feudalism in the traditional sense of the word, since, after the emergence of the Muscovite monarchy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, all landowners were tenants-in-chief of the Crown, and subinfeudation was unknown. As a result, all power was concentrated in the Crown." — (Pipes, Richard. A Concise History of the Russian Revolution. New York: Vintage, 1996.)

Out of these three approaches, all of them have received modern criticism. The February Revolution is seen by many present-day scholars as an event which gets "mythologized".[64]

See also

Note

  1. ^ On February 8, 1917 on request of the Emperor N. Maklakov and Protopopov drafted the text of a manifesto to dissolve the Duma (before it was opened on 14 February 1917).[35]

References

  1. ^ Orlando Figes (2008). A People's Tragedy. First. p. 321. ISBN 9780712673273.
  2. ^ Aluf, I. A. (1979). February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution of 1917. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). The Gale Group, Inc.
  3. ^ History of the Women's Day. United Nations website.
  4. ^ a b c Steinberg, Mark (2017). The Russian Revolution. Oxford University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-19-922762-4.
  5. ^ a b c d Curtis 1957, p. 30.
  6. ^ a b c Acton 1990, pp. 107–108.
  7. ^ Alexander Rabinowitch (2008). The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Soviet Rule in Petrograd. Indiana UP. p. 1. ISBN 0253220424.
  8. ^ Pipes 2008, p. 18.
  9. ^ a b c d Fitzpatrick 2008, p. 38.
  10. ^ Service 2005, p. 26.
  11. ^ Of 422, only 21 voted against. Beckett 2007, p. 516.
  12. ^ Beckett 2007, pp. 521–522.
  13. ^ Beckett 2007, p. 525.
  14. ^ Beckett 2007, p. 518.
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  17. ^ Beckett 2007, p. 513.
  18. ^ Beckett 2007, p. 516.
  19. ^ Fitzpatrick 2008, pp. 39–40.
  20. ^ А.В., Евдокимов. "Последний военный министр Российской империи - Конкурс молодых историков "Наследие предков - молодым"".
  21. ^ Figes, p. 278
  22. ^ Crawford and Crawford, pp. 247–251
  23. ^ P.N. Milyukov (1921), p. 21
  24. ^ "The Russian diary of an Englishman, Petrograd, 1915-1917".
  25. ^ Dmitry Lyubin (2017) For the Faith, the Tsar and the Fatherland. The Romanovs in the First World War, p. 103. In: 1917 Romanovs & Revolution. The End of the Monarchy. Amsterdam 2017
  26. ^ February Revolution Begins in Russia.
  27. ^ a b c Curtis 1957, p. 1.
  28. ^ "Letters from Tsar Nicholas to Tsaritsa Alexandra - February 1917".
  29. ^ a b c Williams 1987, p. 9.
  30. ^ When women set Russia ablaze 2007.
  31. ^ Montefiore, Simon Sebag. The Romanovs 1613–1918. p. 612. ISBN 978-0-297-85266-7.
  32. ^ Curtis 1957, p.30
  33. ^ Salisbury, Harrison E. Black Night White Snow. p. 372. ISBN 0-306-80154-X.
  34. ^ Katkov, p. 286
  35. ^ Ф. А. Гайда, к.и.н., исторический факультет МГУ им. М. В. Ломоносова. "Министр внутренних дел Н. А. Маклаков: политическая карьера русского Полиньяка"
  36. ^ Salisbury, Harrison E. Black Night White Snow. pp. 349–350. ISBN 0-306-80154-X.
  37. ^ Orlando Figes (2006) A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891–1924, pp. 328–329.
  38. ^ Katkov, p. 288
  39. ^ a b c Wildman 1970, p. 8.
  40. ^ Katkov, p. 283
  41. ^ Wade 2005, p. 37.
  42. ^ a b c Beckett 2007, p. 523.
  43. ^ P.N. Milyukov 1921, p. 19
  44. ^ Wade 2005, pp. 40–43.
  45. ^ "Откуда Россия шагнула в пропасть… — Русское Имперское Движение".
  46. ^ Browder & Kerensky 1961, p. 116.
  47. ^ a b c d Smith, S.A. Russia in Revolution. Oxford University Press. p. 102.
  48. ^ Tames 1972, p. .
  49. ^ Service 1986, p. .
  50. ^ Malone 2004, p. 92.
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  54. ^ Service 2005, p. 34.
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  57. ^ Critical companion to the Russian Revolution, 1914-1921. Acton, Edward., Cherni︠a︡ev, V. I︠U︡., Rosenberg, William G. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1997. ISBN 0253333334. OCLC 36461684.
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  59. ^ 1953-, Steinberg, Mark D., (2001). Voices of revolution : 1917. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. pp. 161–165. ISBN 9780300101690. OCLC 50418695.
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  61. ^ Bradley, Joseph. "The February Revolution". Russian Studies in History. 56 (1): 1–5. doi:10.1080/10611983.2017.1326247.
  62. ^ Wildman, Allan (1970). "The February Revolution in the Russian Army". Soviet Studies. 22: 23.
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Bibliography

Online sources

External links

Alexander Kerensky

Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky (Russian: Алекса́ндр Фёдорович Ке́ренский, IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr ˈkʲerʲɪnskʲɪj]; Russian: Александръ Ѳедоровичъ Керенскій; 4 May 1881 – 11 June 1970) was a Russian lawyer and revolutionist who was a key political figure in the Russian Revolution of 1917. After the February Revolution of 1917, he joined the newly formed Russian Provisional Government, first as Minister of Justice, then as Minister of War, and after July as the government's second Minister-Chairman. A leader of the moderate-socialist Trudoviks faction of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, he was also vice-chairman of the powerful Petrograd Soviet. On 7 November, his government was overthrown by the Lenin-led Bolsheviks in the October Revolution. He spent the remainder of his life in exile, in Paris and New York City, and worked for the Hoover Institution.

Black Power Revolution

The Black Power Revolution, also known as the "Black Power Movement", 1970 Revolution, Black Power Uprising and February Revolution, was an attempt by a number of social elements, people and interest groups in Trinidad and Tobago to effect socio-political change.

Communism in Russia

In Russia, communism began after Tsar Nicholas II lost his power during the February Revolution. The Provisional Government was established under Prince Lvov, however, the Bolsheviks refused to accept the government and revolted in October 1917, taking control of Russia. Vladimir Lenin, their leader, rose to power and governed between 1917 and 1924. The Bolsheviks formed the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, marking the beginning of the Russian Civil War between the revolutionary Reds and the counter-revolutionary Whites. In 1922 the Communist Reds were victorious, and formed the Soviet Union. Lenin died in 1924, starting a power struggle which ended with Joseph Stalin seizing power. He was the leader of the Communist Party until 1953. He encouraged political paranoia and conducted the Great Purge to remove opponents of his dominance.

Stalin died in 1953, and the Soviet Union went through "De-Stalinisation" under the new leader Nikita Khrushchev, though his attempts to improve the lives of ordinary citizens were often ineffective. Khrushchev ruled through the years of the Cold War. Leonid Brezhnev was appointed leader in 1964. Brezhnev governed the era without economic reforms, which led to a national economic decline by the mid-1970s.Yuri Andropov gained power in 1982 and tried to improve the economy by increasing management effectiveness but without making changes to the principles of a socialist economy. Andropov later died in 1984, fifteen months after gaining power.Konstantin Chernenko led the Soviet Union from 1984 until his death thirteen months later in 1985. Chernenko was unable to consolidate power and effective control of the Communist party. Chernenko did little to prevent the escalation of the cold war with the United States and Western Europe. Mikhail Gorbachev became the last leader of the Soviet Union in 1985 and led until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Gorbachev improved relations and trade with the West, and reduced the Cold War tensions. He implemented the Glasnost, which meant that Soviet people had the freedom that they never previously had; this included greater freedom of speech. The press was less controlled and many thousands of political prisoners and dissidents were released. Gorbachev removed the constitutional role of the Communist party. This led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991.The socialist revolution in Russia, conceived as a means of transition to the building of a communist society, lead not to the annihilation of the state, but to its multiple reinforcement and expansion.

Dual power

"Dual Power" (Russian: Двоевластие, tr. Dvoyevlastiye) was a term first used by communist Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924), in the Pravda article titled "The Dual Power". which described a situation in the wake of the February Revolution, the first of two Russian Revolutions in that tumultuous year of 1917. Two powers coexisted with each other and competed for legitimacy: the Soviets (workers councils), particularly the Petrograd Soviet, and the continuing official state apparatus of the Provisional Government of democratic socialists.

Lenin argued that this essentially unstable situation constituted a unique opportunity for the Soviets and Bolsheviks to seize power by smashing the weak tottering Provisional Government and establishing themselves as the basis of a new form of state power.

This notion has informed the strategies of subsequent communist-led revolutions elsewhere in the world, including the Chinese Revolution of 1949 led by Mao Zedong (1893–1976) after the Chinese Civil War (1927–1931 and 1946–1949) and in eastern Europe after World War II (1939–1945), such as in Czechoslovakia where after three years of post-war agitation and occupation, the invading Russian Red Army finally overthrew the moderate government with the Communists seizing power in 1948.

French Revolution of 1848

The 1848 Revolution in France, sometimes known as the February Revolution (révolution de Février), was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France the revolutionary events ended the July Monarchy (1830–1848) and led to the creation of the French Second Republic.

Following the overthrow of King Louis Philippe in February 1848, the elected government of the Second Republic ruled France. In the months that followed, this government steered a course that became more conservative. On 23 June 1848, the people of Paris rose in insurrection, which became known as June Days uprising – a bloody but unsuccessful rebellion by the Paris workers against a conservative turn in the Republic's course. On 2 December 1848, Louis Napoléon Bonaparte was elected President of the Second Republic, largely on peasant support. Exactly three years later he suspended the elected assembly, establishing the Second French Empire, which lasted until 1870. Louis Napoléon went on to become the de facto last French monarch.

The February revolution established the principle of the "right to work" (droit au travail), and its newly established government created "National Workshops" for the unemployed. At the same time a sort of industrial parliament was established at the Luxembourg Palace, under the presidency of Louis Blanc, with the object of preparing a scheme for the organization of labour. These tensions between liberal Orléanist and Radical Republicans and Socialists led to the June Days Uprising.

Georgi Plekhanov

Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov (; Russian: Гео́ргий Валенти́нович Плеха́нов, IPA: [ɡʲɪˈorɡʲɪj vəlʲɪnˈtʲinəvʲɪtɕ plʲɪˈxanəf] (listen); 29 November 1856 – 30 May 1918) was a 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." Facing political persecution, Plekhanov emigrated to Switzerland in 1880, where he continued in his political activity attempting to overthrow the Tsarist regime in Russia.

Although he supported the Bolshevik faction at the 2nd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903, Plekhanov soon rejected the idea of democratic centralism, and became one of Lenin and Trotsky's principal antagonists in the 1905 St. Petersburg Soviet.

During World War I Plekhanov rallied to the cause of the Entente powers against Germany and he returned home to Russia following the 1917 February Revolution. Plekhanov was an opponent of the Soviet state which came to power in the autumn of 1917. He died the following year. Despite his vigorous and outspoken opposition to Lenin's political party in 1917, Plekhanov was held in high esteem by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union following his death as a founding father of Russian Marxism and a philosophical thinker.

House of Romanov

The House of Romanov (; also Romanoff; Russian: Рома́новы, Románovy, IPA: [rɐˈmanəf]) was the reigning dynasty in Russia from 1613 until the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on 15 March 1917, as a result of the February Revolution. The House of Romanov was the second dynasty to rule Russia, the first being the House of Rurik.

The Romanovs achieved prominence as boyars of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, later the Tsardom of Russia. In 1613, following years of interregnum (Time of Troubles), the zemsky sobor offered the Russian crown to Mikhail Romanov. He acceded to the throne as Michael I, becoming the first Tsar of Russia from the House of Romanov. His grandson Peter I established the Russian Empire and transformed the country into a continental power through a series of wars and reforms.

The direct male line of the Romanovs came to an end when Elizabeth of Russia died in 1762. After an era of dynastic crisis, the House of Holstein-Gottorp, a cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg that reigned in Denmark, ascended the throne in 1762 with Peter III, a grandson of Peter I. All rulers from the middle of the 18th century to the revolution of 1917 were descended from that branch. Though officially known as the House of Romanov, these descendants of the Romanov and Oldenburg dynasties are sometimes referred to as Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov.In early 1917 the Romanov dynasty had 65 members, 18 of whom were killed by the Bolsheviks. The remaining 47 members went into exile abroad. In 1924, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, the senior, surviving male-line descendant of Alexander II of Russia by primogeniture, claimed the headship of the defunct Imperial House of Russia. Since 1991, the succession to the former Russian throne has been in dispute, largely due to disagreements over the validity of dynasts' marriages, especially between the lines of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia and Prince Nicholas Romanovich Romanov, succeeded by Prince Andrew Romanov.

Left Socialist-Revolutionaries

The Party of Left Socialist-Revolutionaries was a revolutionary socialist political party formed during the Russian Revolution.

In 1917, the Socialist Revolutionary Party split between those who supported the Russian Provisional Government, established after the February Revolution; and those who supported the Bolsheviks, who favoured a communist insurrection. The majority stayed within the mainstream party, but a minority who supported the Bolshevik path became known as Left Socialist-Revolutionaries or Left SRs.

Maria Spiridonova was a prominent leader of the Left SRs. They split from the main party, but the split was not completed before the Russian Constituent Assembly elections. The first meaningful electoral test between the parties in the peasant soviets a few weeks after the Assembly elections showed the parties had roughly equal support among the peasantry.

Libyan Civil War (2011)

The First Libyan Civil War, also referred to as the Libyan Revolution or 17 February Revolution, was an armed conflict in 2011 in the North African country of Libya fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Zawiya on 8 August 2009 and finally ignited by protests in Benghazi beginning on Tuesday, 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security forces that fired on the crowd. The protests escalated into a rebellion that spread across the country, with the forces opposing Gaddafi establishing an interim governing body, the National Transitional Council.

The United Nations Security Council passed an initial resolution on 26 February, freezing the assets of Gaddafi and his inner circle and restricting their travel, and referred the matter to the International Criminal Court for investigation. In early March, Gaddafi's forces rallied, pushed eastwards and re-took several coastal cities before reaching Benghazi. A further UN resolution authorised member states to establish and enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, and to use "all necessary measures" to prevent attacks on civilians, which turned into a bombing campaign by the forces of NATO. The Gaddafi government then announced a ceasefire, but fighting continued. Throughout the conflict, rebels rejected government offers of a ceasefire and efforts by the African Union to end the fighting because the plans set forth did not include the removal of Gaddafi.In August, rebel forces launched an offensive on the government-held coast of Libya, backed by a wide-reaching NATO bombing campaign, taking back territory lost months before and ultimately capturing the capital city of Tripoli, while Gaddafi evaded capture and loyalists engaged in a rearguard campaign. On 16 September 2011, the National Transitional Council was recognised by the United Nations as the legal representative of Libya, replacing the Gaddafi government. Muammar Gaddafi evaded capture until 20 October 2011, when he was captured and killed in Sirte. The National Transitional Council "declared the liberation of Libya" and the official end of the war on 23 October 2011.In the aftermath of the civil war, a low-level insurgency by former Gaddafi loyalists continued. There have been various disagreements and strife between local militia and tribes, including fighting on 23 January 2012 in the former Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid, leading to an alternative town council being established and later recognized by the National Transitional Council (NTC). A much greater issue has been the role of militias which fought in the civil war and their role in the new Libya. Some have refused to disarm, and cooperation with the NTC has been strained, leading to demonstrations against militias and government action to disband such groups or integrate them into the Libyan military. These unresolved issues led directly to a second civil war in Libya.

Marxism–Leninism

In political science, Marxism–Leninism was the official state ideology of the Soviet Union (USSR), the political parties of the Communist International, and of contemporary Stalinist political parties. Combining Leninist political praxis and Marxist socio-economics, the purpose of Marxism–Leninism is the two-stage revolutionary development of a capitalist state into a socialist state, guided by the leadership of a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries from the working class and the proletariat. The socialist state is instituted and governed by way of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which determines policy with democratic centralism.Politically, the Marxist–Leninist communist party is the political vanguard for the organisation of society into a socialist state, which is the lower stage of socio-economic development and progress towards the upper-stage communist society, which is stateless and classless; yet features organised public ownership of the means of production and accelerated industrialisation, pro-active development of the productive forces of society and nationalised natural resources.In the late 1920s, after the death of Lenin, Stalin established universal ideologic orthodoxy in the Communist Party, the USSR, and the Communist International, with his coinage Marxism–Leninism, a term which redefined theories of Lenin and Marx to establish universal Marxist–Leninist praxis for the exclusive, geopolitical benefit of the USSR. In the late 1930s, Stalin's official textbook The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) (1938), made the term Marxism–Leninism common, political-science usage among communists and non-communists.Critical of the Stalinist models of socialism and government in the Soviet Union, the American Marxist Raya Dunayevskaya and the Italian Marxist Amadeo Bordiga dismissed Marxism–Leninism as a type of state capitalism, because: (i) state ownership of the means of production is a form of state capitalism; (ii) the dictatorship of the proletariat is a form of democracy, therefore, single-party rule is undemocratic; and (iii) Marxism–Leninism is neither Marxism nor Leninism nor a philosophic synthesis, but a personal artifice that Stalin used to determine what is communism and what is not communism among the Eastern bloc.

Moldavian Democratic Republic

The Moldavian Democratic Republic (Romanian: Republica Democratică Moldovenească), also known as the Moldavian Republic, was a state proclaimed on December 15 [O.S. December 2] 1917 by the Sfatul Țării (National Council) of Bessarabia, elected in October–November 1917 following the February Revolution and the start of the disintegration of the Russian Empire.

The Sfatul Țării was its legislative body, while the "Council of Directors General", renamed the "Council of Ministers" after the Declaration of Independence, was its government. The Republic was proclaimed on 2/15 December 1917, as a member with equal rights within the Russian Federative Democratic Republic.

October Revolution

The October Revolution (Russian: Октя́брьская револю́ция, tr. Oktyabr'skaya revolyutsiya, IPA: [ɐkˈtʲabrʲskəjə rʲɪvɐˈlʲutsɨjə]), officially known in Soviet literature as the Great October Socialist Revolution (Вели́кая Октя́брьская социалисти́ческая револю́ция, Velikaya Oktyabr'skaya sotsialističeskaya revolyutsiya), and commonly referred to as Red October, the October Uprising, the Bolshevik Revolution, or the Bolshevik Coup, was a revolution in Russia led by the Bolsheviks and Vladimir Lenin that was instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917. It took place with an armed insurrection in Petrograd on 7 November (25 October, O.S.) 1917.

It followed and capitalized on the February Revolution of the same year, which overthrew the Tsarist autocracy and resulted in a provisional government after a transfer of power proclaimed by Grand Duke Michael, brother of Tsar Nicolas II, who declined to take power after the Tsar stepped down. During this time, urban workers began to organize into councils (soviets) wherein revolutionaries criticized the provisional government and its actions. After the Congress of Soviets, now the governing body, had its second session, it elected members of the Bolsheviks and other leftist groups such as the Left Socialist Revolutionaries to important positions within the new state of affairs. This immediately initiated the establishment of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the world's first self-proclaimed socialist state. On 17 July 1918, the Tsar and his family were executed.

The revolution was led by the Bolsheviks, who used their influence in the Petrograd Soviet to organize the armed forces. Bolshevik Red Guards forces under the Military Revolutionary Committee began the occupation of government buildings on 7 November 1917 (New Style). The following day, the Winter Palace (the seat of the Provisional government located in Petrograd, then capital of Russia) was captured.

The long-awaited Constituent Assembly elections were held on 12 November 1917. In contrast to their majority in the Soviets, the Bolsheviks only won 175 seats in the 715-seat legislative body, coming in second behind the Socialist Revolutionary Party, which won 370 seats, although the SR Party no longer existed as a whole party by that time, as the Left SRs had gone into coalition with the Bolsheviks from October 1917 to March 1918. The Constituent Assembly was to first meet on 28 November 1917, but its convocation was delayed until 5 January 1918 by the Bolsheviks. On its first and only day in session, the Constituent Assembly came into conflict with the Soviets, and it rejected Soviet decrees on peace and land, resulting in the Constituent Assembly being dissolved the next day by order of the Congress of Soviets.As the revolution was not universally recognized, there followed the struggles of the Russian Civil War (1917–22) and the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922.

Okhrana

The Department for Protecting the Public Security and Order (Russian: Отделение по Охранению Общественной Безопасности и Порядка), usually called "guard department" (Russian: Охранное отделение) and commonly abbreviated in modern sources as Okhrana (Russian: Охрана, IPA: [ɐˈxranə] (listen), lit. the guard) was a secret police force of the Russian Empire and part of the police department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) in the late 19th century, aided by the Special Corps of Gendarmes.

Old Bolshevik

Old Bolshevik (Russian: ста́рый большеви́к, stary bolshevik), also Old Bolshevik Guard or Old Party Guard, became an unofficial designation for those who were members of the Bolshevik party before the Russian Revolution of 1917. Those who joined the party after the February Revolution were considered Old Bolsheviks as their membership predated the Bolsheviks' seizure of power during the October Revolution. Many of the Old Guard were either tried and executed by the NKVD during the Great Purge of 1936–38 or died under suspicious circumstances.

Ramadan Revolution

The Ramadan Revolution, also referred to as the 8 February Revolution and the February 1963 coup d'état in Iraq, was a military coup by the Ba'ath Party's Iraqi-wing which overthrew the Prime Minister of Iraq, Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1963. It took place between 8 and 10 February 1963. Qasim's former deputy, Abdul Salam Arif, who was not a Ba'athist, was given the largely ceremonial title of President, while prominent Ba'athist general Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr was named Prime Minister. The most powerful leader of the new government was the secretary general of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party, Ali Salih al-Sa'di, who controlled the National Guard militia and organized a massacre of hundreds—if not thousands—of suspected communists and other dissidents following the coup.

Russian Empire

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.The third largest empire in world history, at its greatest extent stretching over three continents, Europe, Asia, and North America, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires. The rise of the Russian Empire happened in association with the decline of neighboring rival powers: the Swedish Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Persia and the Ottoman Empire. It played a major role in 1812–1814 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe and expanded to the west and south.

The House of Romanov ruled the Russian Empire from 1721 until 1762, and its matrilineal branch of patrilineal German descent the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov ruled from 1762. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea in the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, into Alaska and Northern California in America on the east. With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third-largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and India. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics, ethnicity, and religion. There were numerous dissident elements, who launched numerous rebellions and assassination attempts; they were closely watched by the secret police, with thousands exiled to Siberia.

Economically, the empire had a predominantly agricultural base, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, Russian peasants (until they were freed in 1861). The economy slowly industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility (the boyars) from the 10th through the 17th centuries, and subsequently by an emperor. Tsar Ivan III (1462–1505) laid the groundwork for the empire that later emerged. He tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, and laid the foundations of the Russian state. Emperor Peter the Great (1682–1725) fought numerous wars and expanded an already huge empire into a major European power. He moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, and led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political mores with a modern, scientific, Europe-oriented, and rationalist system.

Empress Catherine the Great (reigned 1762–1796) presided over a golden age; she expanded the state by conquest, colonization and diplomacy, continuing Peter the Great's policy of modernization along Western European lines. Emperor Alexander II (1855–1881) promoted numerous reforms, most dramatically the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861. His policy in Eastern Europe involved protecting the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That connection by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, the United Kingdom, and Serbia, against the German, Austrian, and Ottoman empires.

The Russian Empire functioned as an absolute monarchy on principles of Orthodoxy, Autocracy, and Nationality until the Revolution of 1905 and then became a de jure constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917, largely as a result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War.

Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917 which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917 (March in the Gregorian calendar; the older Julian calendar was in use in Russia at the time). Alongside it arose grassroots community assemblies (called 'Soviets') which contended for authority. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was toppled and all power was given to the Soviets.

The February Revolution (March 1917) was a revolution focused around Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg), the capital of Russia at that time. In the chaos, members of the Imperial parliament (the Duma) assumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government which was heavily dominated by the interests of large capitalists and the noble aristocracy. The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution, resulting in Tsar Nicholas's abdication. The Soviets, which were dominated by soldiers and the urban industrial working class, initially permitted the Provisional Government to rule, but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias. The February Revolution took place in the context of heavy military setbacks during the First World War (1914–18), which left much of the Russian Army in a state of mutiny.

A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of Soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower classes and, increasingly, the left-leaning urban middle class. During this chaotic period there were frequent mutinies, protests and many strikes. Many socialist political organizations were engaged in daily struggle and vied for influence within the Duma and the Soviets, central among which were the Bolsheviks ("Ones of the Majority") led by Vladimir Lenin who campaigned for an immediate end to the war, land to the peasants, and bread to the workers. When the Provisional Government chose to continue fighting the war with Germany, the Bolsheviks and other socialist factions were able to exploit virtually universal disdain towards the war effort as justification to advance the revolution further. The Bolsheviks turned workers' militias under their control into the Red Guards (later the Red Army) over which they exerted substantial control.In the October Revolution (November in the Gregorian calendar), the Bolsheviks led an armed insurrection by workers and soldiers in Petrograd that successfully overthrew the Provisional Government, transferring all its authority to the Soviets with the capital being relocated to Moscow shortly thereafter. The Bolsheviks had secured a strong base of support within the Soviets and, as the now supreme governing party, established a federal government dedicated to reorganizing the former empire into the world's first socialist republic, practicing Soviet democracy on a national and international scale. The promise to end Russia's participation in the First World War was honored promptly with the Bolshevik leaders signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918. To further secure the new state, the Cheka was established which functioned as a revolutionary security service that sought to weed out and punish those considered to be "enemies of the people" in campaigns consciously modeled on similar events during the French Revolution.

Soon after, civil war erupted among the "Reds" (Bolsheviks), the "Whites" (counter-revolutionaries), the independence movements and the non-Bolshevik socialists. It continued for several years, during which the Bolsheviks defeated both the Whites and all rival socialists and thereafter reconstituted themselves as the Communist Party. In this way, the Revolution paved the way for the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922. While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and Petrograd, there was also a visible movement in cities throughout the state, among national minorities throughout the empire and in the rural areas, where peasants took over and redistributed land.

Socialist Revolutionary Party

The Socialist Revolutionary Party, or Party of Socialists-Revolutionaries (the SRs; Russian: Партия социалистов-революционеров (ПСР), эсеры, esery) was a major political party in early 20th century Imperial Russia.

A key player in the Russian Revolution, the SRs' general ideology was revolutionary socialism of democratic socialist and agrarian socialist forms. After the February Revolution, it shared power with liberal and other democratic socialist forces within the Russian Provisional Government. Following the October Revolution, in November 1917, the Socialist Revolutionary Party won a plurality of the national vote in Russia's first-ever democratic elections (to the Russian Constituent Assembly), however this was more or less nullified as due to a changing political climate, the Bolsheviks disbanded the Constituent Assembly in January 1918.The SRs soon split into pro-Bolshevik and anti-Bolshevik factions. The anti-Bolshevik faction of this party, known as the Right SRs and which remained loyal to the Provisional Government leader Alexander Kerensky, was defeated and destroyed by the Bolsheviks in the course of the Russian Civil War and subsequent persecution.

White movement

The White movement (Russian: Бѣлое движеніе/Белое движение, tr. Beloye dvizheniye, IPA: [ˈbʲɛləɪ dvʲɪˈʐenʲɪɪ]) and its military arm the White Army (Бѣлая Армія/Белая Армия, Belaya Armiya), also known as the White Guard (Бѣлая Гвардія/Белая Гвардия, Belaya Gvardiya), the White Guardsmen (Бѣлогвардейцы/Белогвардейцы, Belogvardeytsi) or simply the Whites (Бѣлые/Белые, Beliye), was a loose confederation of anti-communist forces that fought the Communist Bolsheviks, also known as the Reds, in the Russian Civil War (1917–1922/1923) and to a lesser extent continued operating as militarized associations insurrectionists both outside and within Russian borders in Siberia until roughly World War II (1939–1945).

During the Russian Civil War, the White movement was a big tent political movement representing an array of political opinions in Russia united in their opposition to the Communist Bolsheviks, from the republican-minded bourgeois liberals and Kerenskyite social democrats who had profited from the February Revolution of 1917 on the left to the champions of Tsarism and the Russian Orthodox Church of Eastern Orthodox Christianity on the right.

Following their defeat, there were remnants and continuations of the movement in several organizations, some of which only had narrow support, enduring within the wider White émigré overseas community until after the fall of Communism in the Eastern European Revolutions of 1989 and the subsequent Dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990–1991. This community-in-exile of anti-communists was often divided between the liberals and the more conservative segments, with some still hoping for the restoration of the Romanov dynasty, including several claimants to the empty throne like Nicholas Romanov, Prince of Russia (1924–2014) living in Italy and Prince Andrew Romanov (b. 1923) in the United States and other exiles, still hopes for a true constitutional democratic republic in Russia.

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