Russian Revolution Day By Day

by Dr. Bruce Arnold

This is an interesting time, historically. The Russian Revolution took place 100 years ago. The first stage began in March on the current (Gregorian) calendar, February on the calendar in use in Russia at that time (Julian.)

I’ll be posting a summary of events as they unfolded. Events moved so quickly, there was something nearly every day, although on some days (amazingly) there was no particular event to report. So I’ll post under the title of “Russian Revolution” plus the date.

Playing catch-up here, there were some events going back to March 8 (Gregorian or new style) so I’ll post the summary from then up to now.

March 8th. That should sound familiar. Yep — International Women’s Day. On March 8, 1917, a large group of female factory workers went on strike in Petrograd. They went to other factories and brought out thousands of other workers. Many view this as the beginning of the Russian Revolution, because from then on events moved forward very swiftly to the abdication of the Tsar, establishment of the Provisional Government, the growth of the workers’ and soldiers’ councils (soviets), and eventually the Bolshevik revolution in November. March 8th was made a holiday in the Soviet Union and celebrated as International Women’s Day by socialists around the world since then. In 1975, the United Nations adopted it for all of its member nations. So that’s where we start:

March 8-12, 1917 (February 23–27,1917 old style)
March Revolution (February Revolution)

The first stage of the revolution of 1917 overthrows the monarchy and replaces it by the Provisional Government, which is to remain in office until a democratic parliament will be arranged.

March 8, 1917 (February 23,1917 old style)
International Women’s’ Day. Women textile workers in Petrograd go on strike and gather in the streets to protest against food shortages.

The strike spreads to other factories where workers were just waiting for a spark. The Revolution has begun.

March 9, 1917 (February 24,1917 old style)
In Petrograd, approx. 200,000 workers are on strike now.

March 10, 1917 (February 25,1917 old style)
General strike. Students and many others are joining the activists in the streets. The crowd demands Russia’s exit from WWI and the Czar’s abdication. Shootings break out and revolutionaries are getting arrested.

March 11, 1917 (February 26,1917 old style)
Government troops are ordered to open fire on the protesters. The troops obey and hundreds are killed.

Petrograd soldiers revolt.

Czar Nicholas II dissolves the Duma.

March 12, 1917 (February 27,1917 old style)
Soldiers in other cities join the revolt, many follow the demonstrators in the streets, others just go home, some shoot their officers.

Prisoners are freed from jail, police stations are set on fire, as are portraits of Nicholas II and tsarist emblems.

One of the freed prisoners, and one whose cell door they should’ve kept locked, is Felix Dzerzhinsky. We will meet him again on December 20, 1917.

In Petrograd, the riot of the workers joins the riot of the soldiers.

The Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies is founded.

Against the Czar’s orders, members of the dissolved parliament (the Duma) form the Temporary Committee of the State Duma and prepare to take complete power.