Timeline of the Russian Revolution


February 23rd, 1917: The February Revolution begins in Petrograd

     The February Revolution removed Tsar Nicholas II from power, and developed spontaneously out of a series of increasingly violent demonstrations and riots on the streets of Petrograd (present-day St. Petersburg). On the 23rd of February during International Womens day, men and women joined to protest for the century of civil and militial unrest. Continuing onto the next day, the whole city, every industry, shop, and enterprise went on strike, and Nicholas ordered for the Police and Military to intervene, but they saw this as an oppurtunity to dissaprove of the Tsar, and disobeyed to reveal their unloyalty. Many of them joined in the riot as well. The whole city was experiencing complete chaos.

March 1917: Abdication

A couple days later Nicholas II abdicates with his son, and handed his thrown to his brother Micheal. Micheal would not accept the thrown until he was elected by the Duma, so he declined and Russia was left without a head of state. The Duma constituted the lower house of the Russian parliament, and the State Council was the upper house.  The Gosudarstvennaya Duma constituted the first attempt toward parliamentary government in Russia.  During the 1917 February Revolution a group of Duma members made the Provisional Committee, which sent commissars to take over ministries and other government institutions which dismissed Tsar-appointed ministries and later made the Provisional Government.

July 3-7th, 1917: Protest against the Provisional Government

The Provisional Government was opposed right away by the soviets, or councils of workers and peasants, who wanted the right to make their own decisions. When V. I. Lenin arrived from exile in the spring of 1917, he joined the Bolshevik Party in Russia whose goal was to overthrow the Provisional Government and set up a government for the proletariat. The soldiers began to ask for land, just as their fellow peasants were. When the Provisional Government refused to distribute the land fairly, the peasants took matters into their own hands by taking the land themselves. The Bolshevik party went on the offensive and tried to educate the workers and soldiers, convincing them to seize power and land for themselves. In July 1917, the workers challenged the Provisional Government and ended up defeated, with their leader jailed and Lenin going into hiding. At the point when everything looked very bad for the Bolsheviks, two very good things happened. First, the Provisional Government ordered a big war offensive that ended up in ruin, with thousands being either killed or injured. Late in August, the soldiers of the Provisional Government began to fall away from their support of the Provisional Government and began to support the workers. They were becoming closer and closer to being Bolsheviks themselves. Secondly, in September, during the so-called Kornilov Affair, a pro-czar section of the military threatened Petrograd, which was the city occupied by the Bolsheviks and the Provisional Government. The Bolsheviks had established themselves as the only party which stood in opposition to continuing the war effort. The Bolshevik workers had to unite and fight as one against the military. Now that the Bolsheviks had the support of the workers, they were able to win the important elections in early September in important Russian industrial centers. By the middle of September, the Bolsheviks had formally acquired a majority in the St. Petersburg Soviet

July 11th 1917: Prime Minister of the Provisional Government

Alexander Kerensky becomes the Prime Minister of the Provisional Government

August of 1917: Kornilov Affair

During August of 1917, Russia went through breif confusion. The Provisional Government appeared to be under a threat from their own army. General Lavr Kornilov was a loyal career officer to the tsarism. He tried to get troops and money to take over Petrograd and restore the traditional order. He claimed to be going off of Kerensky's  (Prime Minister of the Provisional Government) orders, but Kerensky outed him as a counter-revolutionary who wanted militial dictatorship. The scandal within itself sort of trickled away with time, but it did leave an important message to the people of Russia, that the Provisional Government was very flawed, and could not withstand a threat.

October 25th, 1917: October Revolution

On October 24 - 25, 1917, the Bolshevick party combined with the soviets of the major cities of Russia toppled the Provisional Government. The revolution was followed by the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets, where the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic was established and the Soviet Government was created.

October 26th, 1917: The Winter Palace

The Winter Palace, the last holdout of the Provisional Government is taken by Bolshevicks, and the Sovnarkom, led by Lenin, was then in control of Russia. Lenin introduced the new Bolshevik-dominated Sovnarkom, the Council of People's Commissars. Through the Sovnarkom, the Bolsheviks strengthened their power and began to eliminate opposition.

February 1/14th 1917: Change of the calender by Bolshevicks

February 1st becomes February 14th

March 3rd 1918: Treaty takes Russia out of WW1

A treaty (Brest-litousk) between Germany and Russia takes Russia out of World War One.

After much disagreement on when the treaty should happen due to different opinions on what it would do to Germanys work force being in support of Russia, Russia had to quickly agree to Lenins idea that they needed to immediatly get out of the war so that they could focus on their own country. Since Trotsky and his ideas stalled the Treaty, Russia had to give up a lot of their fertile west side in order to avoid trouble with the Germans, in the end, Lenin was right all along, although a lot of the extreme left siders disagreed.

Marth 8th 1918: Bolshevick to Communist

The Bolshevick changed their name from the Bolshevick party to the Communist party. This change was necessary for many reasons, the most important being Lenin had his own plans for a renaming of the party: he wanted to abandon ‘Social Democratic’ and replace it with ‘Communist’. The reasoning behind this name change was based on developments in Europe. The official social democratic parties had disgraced themselves by their support of their respective governments’ war effort. The banner of ‘revolutionary social democracy’ had been sullied beyond repair and had to be replaced. The whole logic of this gesture would be obscured if the Russian social democratic party was known by the extremely Russian name of ‘Bolshevik’. Click on this link to read a personal account of Lenin, and explainations around it. http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/914/how-lenin-s-party-became-bolshevik

Marth 11th 1918: Capital is changed

The Capital of Russia is changed from St. Petersburg to Moscow. After the Revolution, the Bolsheviks moved the capital back to Moscow, which became the centrepoint of a world empire and gained some fittingly grandiose architecture. Stalin’s “Seven Sisters”, the skyscrapers designed to the dictator’s taste, are mereley the pinnacle of a Communist craze for huge and spectacular edifices during that time. Inevitably, Moscow was the epicentre of the political change that took place in the Soviet Union in the 1980s and led eventually to the new Russia. Since the end of Soviet rule, Moscow has changed more than any other part of the country and is probably enjoying the most splendid period in its history.

June 1918: Russian Civil War begins


Here is the link to a video explaining, in detail, the Russian Civil war, its contributors, and what eventually led to it. It explains the Reds vs. Whites, who were involved in each, and what they stood for, and ultimately explains that the difference in ideas towards governing Russia is what led to this civil war. The video also hits key points on what the people of Russia did in response to the civil war, including move far away and never come back.

August 30th, 1918: Assasination Attempt on Lenin

On 30th August, 1918, Lenin spoke at a meeting in Moscow. Victor Serge later explained what happened: "Lenin arrived alone; no one escorted him and no one formed a reception party. When he came out, workers surrounded him for a moment a few paces from his car." As he left the building Kaplan tried to ask Lenin some questions about the way he was running the country. Just before he got into his car Lenin turned to answer the woman. Serge then explained what happened next: "It was at this moment Kaplan fired at him, three times, wounding him seriously in the neck and shoulder. Lenin was driven back to the Kremlin by his chauffeur, and just had the strength to walk upstairs in silence to the second floor: then he fell in pain. There was great anxiety for him: the wound in the neck could have proved extremely serious; for a while it was thought that he was dying." Kaplan was soon captured and in a statement she made to Cheka that night, she explained that she had attempted to kill him because he had closed down the Constituent Assembly. In a statement to the police she confessed to trying to kill Lenin. "My name is Fanya Kaplan. Today I shot at Lenin. I did it on my own. I will not say whom I obtained my revolver. I will give no details. I had resolved to kill Lenin long ago. I consider him a traitor to the Revolution." The attempt on Lenin's life and the assassination of Moisei Uritsky, chief of the Petrograd Secret Police, marked the beginning of the Red Terror. Joseph Stalin, who was in Tsaritsyn at the time, sent a telegram advocating an "open and systematic mass terror" against those responsible. The advice of Stalin, who had used these tactics successfully in Tsaritsyn, was accepted and in September, 1918, Felix Dzerzhinsky, head of the Cheka, instigated the Red Terror. It is estimated that in the next few months 800 socialists were arrested and shot without trial. In the first year the official figure, almost certainly an underestimate, suggested 6,300 people were executed without trial.

November of 1920: The Civil War ends

The Russian Civil War ended on November 11th, 1920, with the defeat of the White Forces. The few remaining of opposing white forces people were just a matter of shaking off for the Bolshevicks.

April 3rd, 1922: Stalin appointed General Secretary

After the October Revolution of 1917, Stalin began to emerge as a leader within the new Russian regime. He became one of Lenin's top aides and was appointed general secretary of the Communist Party in 1922. Although Lenin expressed misgivings about Stalin's use of power and recommended his removal, Stalin maintained his position and went on to take control of the USSR following Lenin's death. This step in political power was a small threat to Lenin, as he did not want Stalin to get any more involved. It worked out for Stalin that after Lenins death, Stalin took over.

December 15th, 1922: Lenin retires

After having his second stroke, Lenin decides it best to retire from office

December 30th, 1922: USSR established

On December 3oth of 1922 the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) is established.During the Russian Revolution of 1917 and subsequent three-year Russian Civil War, the Bolshevik Party under Vladimir Lenin dominated the soviet forces, a coalition of workers' and soldiers' committees that called for the establishment of a socialist state in the former Russian Empire. In the USSR, all levels of government were controlled by the Communist Party, and the party's politburo, with its increasingly powerful general secretary, effectively ruled the country. Soviet industry was owned and managed by the state, and agricultural land was divided into state-run collective farms.In the decades after it was established, the Russian-dominated Soviet Union grew into one of the world's most powerful and influential states and eventually encompassed 15 republics--Russia, Ukraine, Georgia Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. In 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved following the collapse of its communist government.
Establishment of the USSR

January 4th, 1923: Lenin Warns about Stalin

On January 4th, 1923, almost a year before Lenin dies, he warns his people to take Stalin out, he is an up and coming threat and already has too much power in his hands.

"Lenin issued some of the earliest warnings against what Stalin was capable of. As he wrote in a letter to the party convention on December 24, 1922: “Comrade Stalin, having become General Secretary, has concentrated an enormous power in his hands; and I am not sure that he always knows how to use that power with sufficient caution.”'

January 21st, 1924: Lenin dies leaving Stalin as successor

So what brought on the stroke that killed Lenin?

The clues lie in Lenin’s family history, Dr. Vinters said. The three siblings who survived beyond their 20s had evidence of cardiovascular disease, and Lenin’s father died of a disease that was described as being very much like Lenin’s. Dr. Vinters said Lenin might have inherited a tendency to develop extremely high cholesterol causing the severe blockage of his blood vessels that led to his stroke.

Compounding that was the stress Lenin experienced, which can precipitate a stroke in someone whose blood vessels are already blocked.

But Lenin’s seizures in the hours and days before he died are a puzzle and perhaps historically significant. Severe seizures, Dr. Vinters said in an interview before the conference, are “quite unusual in a stroke patient.”

But, he added, “almost any poison can cause seizures.”

Dr. Lurie concurred on Friday, telling the conference that poison was in his opinion the most likely immediate cause of Lenin’s death. The most likely perpetrator? Stalin, who saw Lenin as his main obstacle to taking over the Soviet Union and wanted to get rid of him.

Communist Russia in the early 1920s, Dr. Lurie told the conference, was a place of “Mafia-like intrigue.”

After Lenins Death...

A New Power

There was a dispute for succession between Bukharin, Trotsky, Kamenev and Stalin. Trostky could have finished the dispute and taken power as head of the Bolsheviks by using Lenin and opposing testament, which criticised Trosky and opposing opposition. However he did not do this and Stalin, by using his position in the Bolshevik Party was able to infiltrate his own men into high positions of power and through a seesaw policy, allying himself with his opposition to push out the others, was able to take power in 1923 and exile his fiercest opposition Trotsky by applying the ban on factions.

What Happened to Russia

At every important point the Stalinists, who lyingly call themselves Leninists, radically cut away what Lenin had really stood for and adopted anti-working-class policies — the very opposite of those which Lenin spent his life fighting for. Now that Stalinism has fallen in the USSR and Eastern Europe, we have the inverse process. Lenin, who spent his last crippled years fighting incipient Stalinism, is scapegoated for the discredited despotic system which rose up on the defeat of Lenin's last struggle, continued after Lenin's death by Trotsky and others.