12/3/1917 Petrograd slides from unrest to revolution


Petrograd is in the grip of a general strike and protests that have assumed an increasingly revolutionary character. Yesterday, at the orders of the Tsar, troops were ordered out to restore order. Scores were killed but the crackdown failed to drive the demonstrators from the streets.

This morning army units are assembled in their barracks, their officers intent on sending them out again against the Petrograd rabble. But their men have spent the night reflecting on and discussing their actions. One of the units that had killed demonstrators yesterday mutinies, shooting an officer who had tried in vain to send them out against the people. The soldiers’ rebellion spreads like wildfire through the city garrison. The rebellious soldiers fan out across the city, supporting demonstrators in battles with the police and seizing key buildings.

Petrograd is now a city in revolution. A workers council (in Russian, a soviet) is formed. Recognising that their day is over, the Tsar’s Council of Ministers meets and dissolves itself, its members sending their resignations to the Tsar, who is still at army headquarters.

As the day wears on the Tsar registers the gravity of the situation. He dismisses Khabalov, the military commander in Petrograd, and orders General Ivanov to bring loyal troops from the front to crush the rebellion and establish martial law in the capital. And then he departs army headquarters himself, planning to return to his family at Tsarskoe Selo outside Petrograd.

image source:

Mutineers in a commandeered car (Alexander Palace: Russian History Websites)

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