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Russia in revolt again
Bolshevik supporters gathered to opposed General Kornilov in September 1917 Photo: Manchester Guardian History of War, 1917

Russia in revolt again

Petrograd, 20 November 1917 - There has been another revolt in Russia.

On 8 November, the Russian Maximalists (often described as the Bolsheviks or extreme Socialist Peace Party) brought off a successful coup d’etat in which the Provisional Government of Alexander Kerensky was ousted from power. This is the second successful revolution in Russia this year.

Some ministers in the now deposed Provisional Government are reported to have been arrested, with Kerensky said to have fled the capital.

On Wednesday, 7 November, at approximately 5pm the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Soviet published a statement declaring Petrograd to be in their control, acknowledging the assistance of the garrison in enabling the coup to be brought about. The proclamation set out the main objectives of the new government:

(1) Propose an immediate and just peace
(2) Hand the land to the peasants
(3) Summon the Constituent Assembly on 8 November

Subsequently, the Petrograd Council of Workmen’s and Soldiers’ Delegates announced that the Provisional Government was no more and that the Provisional Parliament had been dissolved.

The delegates gave sustained and warm applause to Vladimir Ilyich Lenin who is believed to have led this latest coup.

Lenin and another Bolshevik leader, Trotsky, at the grave of their supporters who died defending Petrograd during General Kornilov's attempted coup earlier this year. (Image: Manchester Guardian History of the War. Available from the National Library of Ireland)

One of the more immediate concerns for Allied onlookers is the effect that this latest Russian upheaval will have on the ongoing war effort.

For Russia, domestically, the outlook is also bleak as commentators predict the country is headed for civil war.

Such concerns are unlikely to have been eased by Reuters Agency detailing the contents of a telegram received in London from a trusted source in Moscow. Despite initial reports of a ‘bloodless revolution’ in Petrograd, this communication claims that casualty figures run into the several thousands as a result of fighting between 7 and 15 November. The damage to property has been equally severe.

[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.