Recalling Revolution: Russia’s Bolshevik anniversary

November the 7th 1917 was one of the most significant days in Russian history, when Lenin and the Bolshevik movement decided the timing was right for revolution. The Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace – which was then the seat of the governme

Tsar Nicholas II was deposed earlier the same year, an unpopular Imperialist World War I flattened the economy of the country, and the provisional government was too weak due to its plan to stick with the war to the very end, an idea unpopular among Russian soldiers.

“Russian society did not believe its authorities,” said historian Viktor Leonidov. “It was a tragedy. First they did not believe in the Tsar and then they did not believe in the temporary government. Many people consider nowadays that it was a great tragedy that a group of adventurers, a group of hunters of fortune, captured power in the great empire.”

In the evening of the 6th November the Aurora battleship stationed outside the Winter Palace on the Neva River fired a blank shot, thus giving a signal to mobilise into action the masses that had surrounded the palace.

They faced little resistance as they streamed through the halls and corridors, looting and vandalising.

On this day in 1917, there was little doubt that the Russian proletariat backed the Bolshevik motto “all power to the Soviets” (to the councils of workers). It was Lenin who first uttered those words, but the working class made them a reality.

The following day, Lenin called a number of decrees. One was made for peace, another one for the redistribution of land to the people.

After the power was handed over to the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets the Revolution was ratified.

“The most significant part of the revolution was that the Bolsheviks showed that they were capable of maneuvering state resources, not only industrial but human as well,” states military historian Aleksey Isayev.