Events in Russia During the 1917 Revolution
May 23, 1989

1917 saw food shortages, pleas to end the war, and a refusal by the Tsar to make changes. In March, the transport system broke down and Petrograd lacked food and fuel. The 4th of March saw factory workers on strike and riots resulted. The disorder turned political and on the 10th troops clashed with the crowds and sixty people were killed. Retaliations followed and led to troops refusing to fire on demonstrators and joining in themselves. Nicholas ordered the Duma to disband, and so the Parliament joined with the demonstrators, Alexander Kerensky announcing a new Provisional Government. The Tsar was prevented from returning to the city and he was forced to abdicate. On the 16th Russia became a Republic.

The new government (mainly Duma members and other prominent persons) made efforts to please the people but did not manage to solve the basic economic problems. This was exacerbated by opposition from the Petrograd Soviet (PS): a council made up of soldiers, trade unionists and socialists, who took over the distribution of food supplies and organised public transport. The opposition (the PS) had support and they issued the order know as "Soviet Order Number One", whereby soldiers were told to obey the PS and ignore the PG. The division of loyalty saw the collapse of army discipline and things worsened as German advances continued. The PS was the first of many soviets to appear throughout Russia.

Meanwhile, German agents arranged for Lenin to arrive in Petrograd on the 16th of April. On arrival, he attacked the PG with his April Thesis - the people were not to co-operate with the PG, and advocated the overthrow of Kerensky. He promised an end to war in a policy of "Peace, Land, and Bread". Kerensky and the PG continued with the war but lost the June offensive which was coupled with food shortages, soaring prices, and rising opposition. Civil disorder led to Kerensky ordering the troops to fire on the demonstrators.

The Kornilov Affair. General Kornilov (CIC of the army) demanded Soviet Order Number One to be withdrawn. Kerensky refused, knowing that it would cause more trouble with the PS. Kornilov, therefore, turned on Kerensky, however, the PS organised its workers and soldiers to defend the city from Kornilov. These workers were accompanied by sailors and the Bolshevik Red Guards, and consequently Kornilov was unsuccessful. The affair brought popular success to the Bolsheviks. They were elected to the PS, and by October the dominated the executive committee, its president being Leon Trotsky. The November Revolution. Late in October, rumours circulated about the PG leaving Petrograd for Moscow, in fear of a German invasion. Lenin summonned his troops, and set about defending the city. In reality, he was deploying his troops for a copu de-etat. On the night of the 6th of November, the Red Guards took over many key facilities - transport, communications, public utilities. Kerensky was rendered powerless and could do nothing. Finally, the Bolsheviks took over the complete city, including the Winder Palace, where the PG was centered. The Provisional Government had fallen, and the Bolsheviks had won.