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Russian Revolution

Soldiers with Soldiers with "Communism" banner, October 1917The Russian Revolution was a period of political and social uprising that took place in the Russian Empire, beginning in 1917, during World War I, and lasting until 1922 when, following victory in a civil war, the new Bolshevik government established the USSR (Soviet Union). There were two revolutions in Russia in 1917. The first, in February, was focused on Petrograd (the name for Saint Petersburg 1914–24), then the capital of Russia, and saw the end of Tsar Nicholas II's rule. The second revolution took place in October followed a chaotic period in which a Provisional Government and a network of soviets (workers' councils) shared power. After growing unrest and support for the sovets, the Bolsheviks under the leadership of Lenin overthrew the Provisional Government and seized power.

NOTE: All the dates on this page are from the Julian calendar, which was still used in Russia until February 1918. It was 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, used in Europe and the US. The October Revolution (for example) is so-called because it took place on 25th–26th October in the Julian calendar, although it occurred on 7th–8th November according to the calendar in use today. 

Tsar Nicholas II in 1905Tsar Nicholas II in 1905

Tsar Nicholas II

While the seizure of the Winter Palace took place almost without resistance, the Bolsheviks were keen to depict the event as being much more dramatic than it actually was. A historical "re-enactment", entitled "The Storming of the Winter Palace" was staged outside the former palace in 1920 in front of an audience of 100,000 spectators. It provided the model for official films made later, which showed fierce fighting during the storming of the Winter Palace, although in reality there was none.

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