February Revolution, the first phase of the Russian Revolution in March (according to the February Julian calendar then valid in Russia) 1917, which ushered in the overthrow of tsarism. It was triggered by a strike movement that had expanded since the workers at the Putilov plant in Petrograd stood out on 3rd March, which was joined by women demonstrating on 8th March and which culminated in a general strike on 9th March. On March 11, the emperor’s order to shoot triggered a mutiny among parts of the Pavlovsky regiment. When the soldiers of the Petrograd garrison and those of Nicholas II If the troops dispatched went together with the demonstrators, the victory of the revolution could no longer be stopped. The Duma, whose deputies had opposed the emperor’s dissolution decree, authorized its council of elders in an unofficial meeting to form an executive committee chaired by Duma president M. W. Rodzyanko, which on March 15 a provisional government (until a constituent assembly convened) under Prince G. J. Lwow proclaimed. The Petrograd Soviet of Workers ‘Deputies set up a counter-government in the form of the “Provisional Executive Committee of the Workers’ Deputies Council” and refused to participate in government (period of “dual rule”, the division of power between the bourgeois Provisional Government and the Soviets, which ultimately led to the October Revolution). On March 15, the Kaiser signed the deed of abdication in Pleskau in favor of his brother Michael, who also abdicated the following day.
October Revolution, after the February Revolution of 1917 the second phase of the Russian Revolution; comprised the process of the Bolsheviks’ seizure and consolidation of power, which began with the October revolution in Petrograd in 1917 (according to the Julian calendar used in Russia at the time on the night of October 25th to 26th, according to today’s Gregorian calendar 7th / November 8th).
With the February Revolution (abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on March 2-15, 1917), two new centers of power had formed in Russia: the Provisional Government that emerged from the Duma under the liberal Prime Minister G. J. Lwow and the Petrograd Soviet, acting on behalf of the workers and soldiers, in which the moderate Socialists, Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries held the majority. This bipolar structure has gone down in history under the term “dual power”, although the two institutions did not compete for power. The Soviet limited itself to controlling the government and exerting reform pressure on it, but shied away from an immediate seizure of power. However, the Provisional Government was unable to solve the most pressing problems, namely to end the war, carry out land reform, improve the social situation of the workers and the supplies of the starving cities, and call a constituent assembly.
With his demand “All power to the Soviets” raised in the April theses, Lenin, who had returned from exile in Switzerland with German help, formulated an alternative that was increasingly popular. The Bolsheviks reached with the help of a “left bloc,” to which besides them inter alia. the left Social Revolutionaries, Menshevik internationalists and anarchists counted against the background of the successful defense against a conservative military coup by General L. G. Kornilov since August 31, 12. 9. 1917 Majorities in the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets. On September 25th / 8th 10. became L. D. Trotsky elected President of the Petrograd Soviet and prepared the armed uprising at a secret meeting of the Central Committee on 10/23 March via the “Military Revolutionary Committee” founded to avert “counterrevolutionary” dangers. 10. had been decided. During the 24th and 25th October (6th and 7th November), Red Guards occupied the strategically most important points of the city. The 13 ministers of the Provisional Government were arrested on the night of October 25th / 26th (November 7th / 8th) during the “Storming of the Winter Palace” (by S. M. Eisenstein in his film “October” [1928, also under the title “Ten days that shook the world”] depicted with dramatic crowd scenes, actually unspectacular cast); Kerensky the escape from Petrograd had succeeded. Against the protests of the Mensheviks and the (right-wing) Social Revolutionaries, the Second All-Russian Congress of Workers and Soldiers Council approved the October revolution that same night and formed a provisional workers and peasants government until a constituent assembly met (“Council of People’s Commissars”) chaired by Lenin. In Moscow, the Soviet power only established itself after bloody street fighting on March 3rd and 16th. 11. These were harbingers of the civil war that lasted until 1921, in which anti-Bolshevik forces (White Guards) fought against the Bolshevik Red Army and Russia’s former foreign allies intervened militarily.
The Russian Revolution (glorified as the “Great October Socialist Revolution” in the Soviet Union and the other communist states) is one of the epochal turning points in the history of the 20th century (modern times, East-West conflict). It initiated a radical political-social, cultural and economic upheaval in Russia. As a result of the October Revolution, a Bolshevik one-party rule emerged and the first communist state in the world was established (in 1918 the “Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic” was founded, from which the Soviet Union emerged in 1922).