Bolshevik-Inspired Uprising in Petrograd

The scene on the Nevsky Prospekt on July 17 soon after some of the few troops loyal to the Provisional Government fired on the crowd marching on the Tauride Palace.

July 16 1917, Petrograd–The garrison in Petrograd had been the vanguard of the revolution that overthrew the Czar.  Since then, at the Soviet’s insistence, the garrison had remained unchanged; the garrison could be relied upon to defend the revolution from any reaction against it.  The Provisional Government, however, was concerned that these soldiers were too radical and might try to rebel against them, as the sailors at Kronstadt had done.  Using the Kerensky Offensive as an excuse, many radical elements of the garrison now had orders to depart for the front.

Many of these units were determined not to leave, and soon considered armed action against the Provisional Government.  They were encouraged in this by the Bolshevik Military Organization and many Bolshevik-affiliated politicians (like Trotsky).  The top Bolshevik leadership had urged patience, however, at least until the Kerensky Offensive was over–but in early July, Lenin himself was on vacation in Finland and could not provide direction himself.

On the morning of July 16, the soldiers took to the streets, and were soon joined by workers mobilized by the Red Guards.  They congregated mostly around the Tauride Palace, seat of the Petrograd Soviet, hoping to encourage them to take power from the Provisional Government.  The next day, the crowds grew as sailors arrived from Kronstadt.  But the crowds were largely leaderless, and their cries of “All Power to the Soviets!” depended on the Soviets wanting to take power–which, apart from the Bolshevik minority, they were not.

Lenin arrived that day, but could not make up his mind on how to proceed.  He addressed the Kronstadt sailors for a few moments, but did not say much beyond a few platitudes.  As they marched towards the Tauride Palace, shots were fired and order broke down.  The crowd could have easily taken the Palace, defended only by eighteen soldiers (fewer than the number of exterior doors).  The Provisional Government was in hiding or, in the case of Kerensky, had already fled the city (in the guise of departing to inspect the front).  

At around 5PM, it began to rain heavily and much of the crowd dispersed.  However, a more committed core, led by the Kronstadt sailors, remained and began to enter the palace.  They seized one of the leading Socialist Revolutionary members, Victor Chernov, with one man telling him: “Take power, you son of a bitch, when it’s handed to you!”  Again, however, the Bolsheviks backed down, and Trotsky ordered Chernov to be released.  Within an hour, a new regiment of soldiers arrived; they were unclear what they were supposed to do, apart from “defend the revolution.”  With the lack of effective leadership from the Bolsheviks, the Soviet leadership soon persuaded them to serve as guards for the palace.

The uprising fizzled out on the 18th, as troops loyal to the Provisional Government began to arrive in the city.  A warrant was issued for Lenin’s arrest, alleging that he was receiving funds from the Germans; he soon fled the city.

Today in 1916: 50,000 National Guard on Mexican Border
Today in 1915: D’Annunzio Made Official War Chronicler; Maria Luisa Perduca’s The Vigil
Today in 1914: Russians Gain Increasing Evidence of Austrian Plans

Sources include: Orlando Figes, A People’s Tragedy.

Aleksandr Deyneka  - Stakhanov workers, 1937.

Stakhanov was a miner worker whose extraordinary productivity became an evidence of success of the socialist system and symbol of soviet people. Across the country workers tried to follow his example and to exceed their normatives. The monument behind is unrealized project of more than 400 metres in height Palace of Soviets (the figure on the top is of course Lenin).

The October Revolution

25th October 1917 (7th November new style)

The actual seizure of the Winter Palace was a small-scale and virtually bloodless event.

Most of the shells landed harmlessly in the Neva River but it terrified the people inside the palace.

At 10.40pm, the Soviet Congress opened.

The Provisional Government were now close to surrender and the Bolsheviks had a clear majority in the congress hall. By walking out, the SRs and Mensheviks had handed power to Lenin.

Part 1

Part 2 is here!

Part 3 


Soviet Era (b&w)

Nyzhni Sirohozy, Ukraine, April 2014 | Nokia Asha 200.

1. Restaurant

2. Lenin Monument 

3. Palace of Culture

Unfortunately, the Soviet Union lives in the minds of many people in the south and east of Ukraine (this is the biggest problem of my country). But most young people do not feel any nostalgia for a bygone era, it gives me hope.


Day 47 - Yalta Conference

“I didn’t say the result was good. I said it was the best I could do.”
-Franklin Roosevelt to diplomat Adolf Berle, Jr.

In the winter of 1945, Roosevelt met with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin for the last time. The setting was the Ukrainian town of Yalta.

The Big Three gathered to chart a course for final victory in World War II.  But during the Yalta Conference, they also struggled to create the basis for post-war cooperation.

FDR received Stalin’s firm commitment to enter the increasingly bloody war against Japan three months after Germany’s defeat. With American casualties rising in the Pacific war— and the atomic bomb yet untested— this was a significant achievement for the President. The Big Three also formally agreed to another of FDR’s priorities—the establishment of the United Nations organization. But there were serious disagreements about the future of Germany and the fate of areas occupied by Soviet armies, especially Poland.  

While at the Yalta Conference, Joseph Stalin presented President Roosevelt with this set of bear fur gloves and Dukat papirosa (unfiltered) cigarettes. Inside the box are 13 unused cigarettes.

 As a memento of the trip, this short snorter was created using a one chervonitz Soviet bill. A short snorter was a bill, typically from the destination country, signed by fellow travelers of a transoceanic flight. While Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and Steve Early’s names are handwritten on the edges of the bill, they did not sign the bill. The bill was signed by Edwin M. Watson (just days before he died), Ross T. McIntire, Edward Flynn, Harry L. Hopkins, James F. Byrnes, William Leahy, an unidentifiable signature, and Anna Roosevelt Boettiger.