23/3/1917 Russia’s new regime recognised abroad as reforms are implemented at home

In Russia the Provisional Government is struggling to contain the energies released by the recent revolution. Workers have been emboldened by the overthrow of the Tsar, leading to ongoing workplace militancy. Following negotiations brokered by the government, factory owners in Petrograd now agree with the city’s Soviet to accept the principle of an eight-hour working day, hoping thereby to avoid further industrial unrest. The eight-hour day now begins to spread from Petrograd to the rest of the country. The deal also includes the creation of forums comprising workers and managers in many factories, at which grievances can be discussed and hopefully resolved before they lead to strikes.

The Provisional Government has brokered these agreements in the hope of keeping the factories open to maintain production for the war effort. Its commitment to the war provides some reassurance to Russia’s allies, who today formally recognise the new regime in Russia. Some in Britain and France view the revolution as a positive development: the advent of a liberal government in Petrograd makes it easier to present the war as one of democracies against dictatorial empires. But some are more pessimistic, noting that war weariness was a significant factor leading to the revolt against the Tsar. They fear that anti-war sentiment will eventually overwhelm the Provisional Government, leading Russia into a separate peace with the Central Powers.

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