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February Revolution

The February Revolution of 1917 in Russia was the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II.

It occurred largely as a result of dissatisfaction with the way the Tsar was running the country, in particular Russia's ongoing involvement in the First World War. It saw a largely bloodless transfer of power from the Tsar. The regime that came into being was an alliance between liberals and socialists who wanted to instigate political reform, creating a democratically elected executive and constituent assembly.

In the first half of February lack of food supply caused riots in the capital, Petrograd. On February 18 (O.S.) the major plant of Petrograd, Putilov plant , announced a strike; the strikers were fired and some shops closed, which caused unrest at other plants. On February 23 (O.S.) (March 8, N.S.) a series of meetings and rallies were held on the occasion of the International Women's Day, which gradually turned into economical and political ones. They continued during the following days. At one point, a large battalion of soldiers was sent to the city to quell the uprising, but many shot or deserted their officers and joined the revolt instead. This led Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate the throne on March 2 (O.S.) (March 15, N.S.).

The Provisional Government which replaced the Tsar was initially led by a liberal aristocrat, Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov. After his government failed, he was succeeded by a socialist, Alexander Kerensky. Maintaining Russian involvement in the first World War, Kerensky was unable to deal with the problems Russia faced. Pressure from the right (such as those behind the Kornilov Affair) and from the left (mainly the Bolsheviks) put the government under increasing strain. On March 1, 1917 the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies issued Order No. 1, which ordered the military to obey its orders rather than those of the Provisional Government. Ultimately the regime instigated by the February Revolution was forcibly replaced in the October Revolution.

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Last updated: 10-22-2005 15:05:47
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