Russian revolution timeline
This is the second in a
series of timelines commemorating the centenary. Dates are given in
the old style Julian calendar used in Russia at the time. This was
13 days earlier than the Gregorian calendar (adopted in Russia in
Anger and desperation at
poverty, hunger and starvation, and the horrors of the first world
war culminated in the February revolution – triggered when women
workers took strike action in the capital, Petrograd. Workers’ and
soldiers’ soviets (councils) were set up, forming city/province wide
bodies in Petrograd and Moscow. Still led by the right-wing
socialists, the Mensheviks, and the peasant-based Social
Revolutionaries, they initially tried to reach an accommodation with
the now powerless tsarist-era Duma (parliament). Real power was
within reach of the masses. Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) and Leon
Trotsky remained in exile, in Switzerland and the USA respectively.
1: The Petrograd
Soviet passes Order No.1 for the election of officers by
3: Tsar Nicholas
II abdicates. The Provisional Government is inaugurated.
5: The Bolsheviks’
paper, Pravda (Truth), is published in Russia for the first time
since it was banned under the tsar in July 1914.
6: The Petrograd
Soviet creates the Contact Commission to liaise with the Provisional
Government. The government declares an amnesty for political
8: The Provisional
Government refuses to allow independence for Finland.
9: The US
recognises the Provisional Government, followed two days later by
France, Britain and Italy – on assurances that Russia continues the
12: Lev Kamenev
and Joseph Stalin return to Petrograd from exile in Siberia. They
take the reins of the Bolshevik Party, shifting its editorial line
to the right. The death penalty is abolished.
14: Leon Trotsky,
Natalya Sedova and their sons, Lev and Sergei, leave New York but,
on the 17th, British authorities hold their ship in Nova Scotia. The
Petrograd Soviet declares for peace in the first world war.
15: Moscow general
strike begins for the eight-hour working day.
Provisional Government refuses independence for Poland.
Provisional Government condemns land seizures by peasants.
20: Trotsky is
arrested (uncharged) and denied legal rights by the British
authorities. He is held in a prison camp for captured Germany
sailors. His family is placed under guard. The Provisional
Government lifts the tsarist restrictions on (non-Christian
Orthodox) religions and on languages.
Provisional Government declares it will continue the war ‘in
defence’ of Russia.
Conference of Soviets is held in Petrograd.
Alexandra Kollontai arrives in Petrograd. Lenin, Zinoviev and 17
other Bolsheviks leave Switzerland for the Russian capital.