Russian Revolution: The Bolshevik Revolution Succeeds — November 5, 1917-November 7, 1917 (October 23-October 25, 1917 Old Style)
by Dr. Bruce Arnold
November 5, 1917 (October 23, 1917 old style)
For several weeks the Bolsheviks have been carrying on extensive campaigns of agitation throughout the country. Though missing great speakers in Lenin, Zinoviev and Kamenev; Trotsky and Sverdlov work tirelessly. Most importantly, however, are the thousands upon thousands of ordinary workers, soldiers, peasants, and sailors who convince their fellow workers that the time has come to seize power in their own hands. The Soviets issue “Revolutionary Decree No. 1”: hiring and firing of workers is controlled by the Soviet.
November 6, 1917 (October 24,1917 old style)
The Provisional Government attempts to close the current underground Bolshevik newspaper (which since July had moved offices and changed names: Lislok Pravdy, Proletary, Rabochy Put). At the same time, an offensive is launched against Smolny — the headquarters of the Bolshevik Central Committee and the Revolutionary Military Committee. It’s the eve of the meeting of the Second Congress of Soviets. Lenin writes the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party to arrest the Provisional Government members immediately. Troops of the Military Revolutionary Committee surround the Winter Palace where the Provisional Government is in session. Telegraph offices, railway stations, and governmental buildings are occupied without any noteworthy resistance. In the name of the Military Revolutionary Committee, not in the Bolsheviks’ name, the Provisional Government is overthrown.
The October Revolution begins. By nightfall, Trotsky has led the Red Guards and soviet workers to control all the bridges that cross the Neva (except the Dvortsovyi) and key positions throughout the city, including all roads into the city. Lenin arrives at Smolny, and takes command of the Red Guards and Workers’ Soviets.
November 7, 1917 (October 25,1917 old style)
By morning, the Red Guards have seized the General Post Office, the Nikolaevsky, Varshaysky and Baltiisky train stations, the power stations, the State Bank, the central telephone exchange, and main Government buildings. The Winter Palace, General Staff headquarters, the Mariinsky Palace, and a few other points still remain in the hands of the Provisional Government. At 10am the Revolutionary Military Committee publishes: To the citizens of Russia!, announcing victory. Ministers of the Provisional Government are arrested. South from Petrograd, the border between Bolshevik and anti-Bolshevik forces runs between Tsarskoe Selo and Pulkovo. Today, Tsarskoe Selo is part of Pushkin. Late in the evening, Lenin comes out of hiding and joins his comrades at the Smolny Institute, a former school converted into the Soviet’s headquarters. Lenin announces the end of the Provisional Government and the victory of the revolution.
In Moscow, revolutionary forces encounter stiff opposition from Colonel Ryabtsev. The battles are fierce with casualties on both sides.
At 10:40 in the evening, the Second All-Russian Congress of the Soviets opens in the Smolny, and the Mensheviks and SRs walk-out. Kerensky flees to the North in order to start a counter-revolutionary movement.