Russian revolution timeline
This is the ninth 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 world’s first
workers’ state had been set up on 25/26 October, when workers and
soldiers led by the Bolshevik Party took power – ratified by the
second All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers, Soldiers and
Peasants. The Soviet government (Council of People’s Commissars)
immediately declared for an end to the first world war, and for land
to the peasants. It would now have to strain every sinew to rebuild
the shattered economy, alleviate extreme poverty, and defend the
revolution against hostile imperialist armies and reactionary
counter-revolutionary forces within Russia.
1: The Tashkent
Soviet regains control of Uzbekistan’s capital.
2: The Soviet
government proclaims the Declaration of Rights of the Peoples of
Russia, guaranteeing nationalities the right to self-determination,
forces are defeated in Moscow after a week of bitter fighting.
General Alexeiev begins to organise a counter-revolutionary army in
southern Russia. Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinoviev and Alexei Rykov
resign from the Bolshevik Party Central Committee over disagreements
with Lenin, Trotsky and others on the taking of power.
5: The Soviet
government decrees the transfer of power and the means of production
to the workers.
Dukhonin is replaced as commander-in-chief by the ensign Nikolai
Krylenko (one of the organisers of the October insurrection).
Dukhonin mobilises counter-revolutionary forces. The State
Commission on Enlightenment (public education and culture) is set
11: All tsarist
ranks, titles and privileges are abolished.
12: Leon Trotsky,
the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, reveals the secret
wartime deals between the governments of Britain, France and tsarist
Russia to carve up Ottoman empire territories in the Middle East and
Persia – in the Bolshevik newspaper, Pravda. He also publishes
correspondence from the French military refusing to recognise Soviet
Russia, US government threats to boycott it, and both their
intentions to continue the war – in the Soviet paper Izvestia.
Trotsky comments: "The North American plutocracy apparently agrees
to supply us with locomotives only in exchange for the heads of
Russian soldiers. We think this rate of exchange is too high…"
12-14: Even though
the Soviet government has been set up, elections to the Constituent
Assembly go ahead – a long-standing demand of socialist and other
political parties. The results take a couple of weeks to come in,
and will show the peasant-based Social Revolutionaries (SRs) have
the highest vote: 17.9 million, 40%, 380 seats; the Bolshevik Party
with 10.7m (24%, 168); Kadet party 2.1m (4.7%, 17); Mensheviks 1.4m
(2.6%, 18); and 120 seats (18%) to a variety of other parties. This
does not reflect the real balance of forces, however. Not only is
the electoral register hopelessly out of date, the party lists do
not take account of the split in the SRs whose majority left wing
now backs Soviet power. In reality, the Constituent Assembly – once
a progressive demand at the time of tsarist authoritarian rule – now
represents an outdated, stagnant parliamentarianism overtaken by the
direct democracy of the soviets.
14: A Soviet
decree establishes workers’ control of production.
government is established in Vladivostok.
21: The right to
recall politicians from office is introduced.
23: The salaries
of high-paid officials are capped.
28. Soviet power
has been established in 28 provincial capitals and all the main