Russian revolution timeline
The fourth in our
series on the events of 1917. 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 1918.
The situation is one of
dual power: the weakness of the Provisional Government is becoming
increasingly clear; the revolutionary movement not yet able to take
control. Right-wing social democrats are poised to join a coalition
with the capitalist and pro-tsarist establishment. At the same time,
the Bolsheviks are strengthening their political position –
following Lenin’s return from exile – putting forward a clearer
socialist alternative and gaining ground.
1: The Petrograd
Soviet executive votes in favour of the formation of the coalition
government – 41 for, 18 against, with three abstentions – the
Bolsheviks and Menshevik-Internationalists vote against.
2: The foreign
minister Pavel Miliyukov resigns, a consequence of mass protests
against his fulsome support of the allies’ first world war aims (the
4: Leon Trotsky,
Natalya Sedova and their sons, Lev and Sergei, arrive in Petrograd
from exile in New York and imprisonment in Canada. The All-Russia
Soviet of Peasant Deputies is established.
5: The second
Provisional Government is formed, with prince Georgy Lvov president
and Alexander Kerensky war minister. It is a coalition including six
‘socialist’ ministers (two Mensheviks, two Social Revolutionaries,
two others) out of 15. At the Petrograd Soviet, Trotsky warns the
working class against having illusions in the establishment
politicians – that it must rely on its own strength as part of an
international revolutionary movement. This puts him firmly in
Lenin’s camp. The Soviet, still led by Mensheviks and SRs, votes to
back the government – the Bolsheviks mobilise 100 votes against.
7: A meeting to
celebrate his return from exile brings together Trotsky’s
Inter-District Organisation (Mezhraiontsy), the Bolsheviks, and
Maxim Gorky’s group, the United Internationalists. The meeting
denounces the counter-revolutionary nature of the coalition
government, criticises its backing by the Petrograd Soviet, while
recognising that the soviets are "the only possible, the only real
form of people’s revolutionary power". It resolves to win the
soviets to a socialist and internationalist programme.
visits the front to start preparations for a new war offensive in
inadvertently sums up the impotence of liberal politicians in the
face of imperialist pressure to intensify the war – and from the
revolutionary masses to end it – when addressing troops: "You will
carry on the points of your bayonets, peace!"
17: The Kronstadt
Soviet announces that it is taking control of the surrounding area.
Brusilov is appointed head of the army to execute the June
25: An All-Russia
SR congress gets underway.
30: The first
congress of factory and shop committees begins in Petrograd.