08 March 2017

History for the day: 8 March

Today in history:
In Russia, the February Revolution (known as such because of Russia’s use of the Julian calendar) begins when riots and strikes over the scarcity of food erupted in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). One week later, centuries of Tsarist rule in Russia ended with the abdication of Nicholas II, and Russia took a dramatic step closer toward Communist revolution.
By 1917, most Russians had lost faith in the leadership ability of the czarist regime. Government corruption was rampant, the Russian economy remained backward, and Nicholas repeatedly dissolved the Duma, the Russian parliament established after the Revolution of 1905, when it opposed his will. However, the immediate cause of the February Revolution– the first phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917– was Russia’s disastrous involvement in World War One. Militarily, imperial Russia was no match for industrialized Germany, and Russian casualties were greater than those sustained by any nation in any previous war. Meanwhile, the economy was hopelessly disrupted by the costly war effort, and moderates joined Russian radical elements in calling for the overthrow of the Tsar.
On March 8, 1917, demonstrators clamoring for bread took to the streets in the Russian capital of Petrograd (now known as St. Petersburg). Supported by ninety thousand men and women on strike, the protesters clashed with police, but refused to leave the streets. On 10 March, the strike spread among all of Petrograd’s workers, and irate mobs of workers destroyed police stations. Several factories elected deputies to the Petrograd Soviet, or council of workers’ committees, following the model devised during the Revolution of 1905.
On 11 March, the troops of the Petrograd army garrison were called out to quell the uprising. In some encounters, regiments opened fire, killing demonstrators, but the protesters kept to the streets, and the troops began to waver. That day, Nicholas again dissolved the Duma. On 12 March, the revolution triumphed when regiment after regiment of the Petrograd garrison defected to the cause of the demonstrators. The soldiers, some hundred and fifty thousand men, subsequently formed committees that elected deputies to the Petrograd Soviet.
The imperial government was forced to resign, and the Duma formed a provisional government that peacefully vied with the Petrograd Soviet for control of the revolution. On 14 March, the Petrograd Soviet issued Order Number One, which instructed Russian soldiers and sailors to obey only those orders that did not conflict with the directives of the Soviet. The next day, 15 March, Czar Nicholas II abdicated the throne in favor of his brother Michael, whose refusal of the crown brought an end to the Tsarist autocracy.
The new provincial government, tolerated by the Petrograd Soviet, hoping to salvage the Russian war effort while ending the food shortage and many other domestic crises, would prove a daunting task. Meanwhile, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik revolutionary party, left his exile in Switzerland and crossed German lines to return home and take control of the Russian Revolution.
Rico says it only took them another hundred years to make Communism go away...

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