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Revolutionary Russia celebrates May Day
Russians demonstrate in Petrograd on May Day, 1917 Photo: The Graduate Institute, Geneva

Revolutionary Russia celebrates May Day

Petrograd, 1 May 1917 - The Provisional Government in Petrograd has declared 1 May a Grand National Fête and holiday.

All shops, restaurants and government offices were closed today. Over a million people took part in processions that were conducted in peace and order in Petrograd, against the backdrop of beautiful weather. Across the city there were extraordinary scenes of gaiety and enthusiasm. People marched with hundreds of silk banners, embroidered in gold letters bearing legends such as ‘May Day, the great International Labour Fête’. Another banner summoned ‘all people to close union for an everlasting peace’. Marching bands played the ‘Marseillaise’ as well as Russian and foreign labour hymns.

Although the Russians remain committed to upholding the doctrine of the union of all nations, they declared that the present war must be crowned with a peace that would enable their country to organise its political and social life as it wished.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.