Russia: 1917


12th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday

Jan 9 1917

More than 140,000 Russian workers strike in commemoration

Food Rationing Begins

Feb 19 1917

The tsarist government announces food rationing, leading to panic buying in cities, where food availability is already critically low

International Women's Day Strikes

Feb 23 1917

Marchers gathered for International Women’s Day are joined by striking workers and socialist agitators

Tsar's Orders

Feb 26 1917

The tsar orders troops to fire on unruly protesters, dozens are killed. He also orders the Duma to be permanently dissolved, however this is ignored

Tsar Attempts To Return

Feb 28 1917

The tsar attempts to return to Petrograd but is delayed by railway problems in Pskov. The Duma and the Petrograd Soviet both meet to plan a course of action

Provisional Government Internationally Recognised

March 1 1917

The leaders of France and Britain formally recognise the Provisional Government as the official government of Russia

February Revolution

March 3 1917 - Nov 7 1917

The first of the two revolutions in 1917

Provisional Government Issues Liberal Principles

March 3 1917

The Provisional Government issues a set of liberal principles by which it intends to govern. This includes improvements to civil rights and freedoms, amnesties for political prisoners and the organisation of elections for a Constituent Assembly

Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich Refuses Throne

March 3 1917

Nicholas’ brother refuses the throne unless it is offered to him by a constituent assembly elected by the people. This ends more than 300 years of Romanov rule

The Romanovs Are Detained

March 9 1917

Nicholas II and his family are detained under house arrest

Death Penalty Abolished

March 12 1917

The Provisional Government issues a decree abolishing the death penalty

Lenin Returns To Russia

April 3 1917

Lenin returns to Russia with the assistance of the German government. On arrival he delivers a speech at Finland Station, which forms the basis of the April Theses

Cabinet Changes in Provisional Government

April 24 1917

Milyukov resigns. Six Menshevik and SR delegates join the Provisional Government, while Alexander Kerensky replaces Guchkov as war minister

Soviets Open

June 3 1917 - June 24 1917

The first All-Russia Congress of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Soviets opens; it is dominated by Mensheviks and SR delegates

Military Offensive Against Austro-Hungarians

June 18 1917

On Kerensky’s orders, Russian forces begin a massive military offensive against the Austro-Hungarians in Galicia. The offensive fails, leading to 400,000 Russian casualties

July Days

16 July 1917 - 20 July 1917

Soldiers and industrial workers engage in spontaneous armed demonstrations against the Russian Provisional Government

Kornilov Becomes Commander-In-Chief

July 19 1917

Kornilov replaces Brusilov as commander-in-chief of the Russian army

Kornilov Affair

Aug 25 1917

General Kornilov declares his intention to march on Petrograd and free the country from radical socialists. He claims to have the approval of the Provisional Government, though this is unclear

Strikes Escalate

Sep 1 1917

700,000 railway workers on strike; leading Bolsheviks released from prison

October Revolution

Oct 7 1917 - Nov 8 1917

A seizure of state power instrumental in the larger Russian Revolution of 1917

Bolsheviks Seize Power

Oct 25 1917

Lenin announces that the Bolsheviks have seized power and calls for preparations for a Soviet government. Menshevik and moderate SR delegates walk out of the Congress of Soviets

Decree on Land

Oct 26 1917

Eighteen hours after seizing power, Lenin issues the Decree on Land, calling for the abolition of private ownership, and the Decree on Peace, urging an immediate ceasefire and treaty

Fighting in Moscow Ceases

Nov 3 1917

Bolshevik Red Guards win control of Moscow after a week of bitter fighting

Tsarist Ranks Abolished

Nov 10 1917

The new government abolishes all Tsarist ranks, titles and privileges

Bolshevik Reforms

Dec 1 1917

The Bolsheviks introduce reforms to private property ownership, marriage and divorce laws, and the legal status of women

Formation of CHEKA

Dec 7 1917

Lenin decrees the formation of the CHEKA, a small agency led by Dzerzhinsky and tasked with combating counter-revolutionary activity. It begins with 26 agents