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Petrograd 1917
10th October 1917
• The Bolshevik Party was based at the Smolny Institute in Petrograd
• 10th October a special all-night meeting of the Central Committee of the
Communist Party was held at a secret location.
• Lenin, newly arrived from Finland, argued powerfully that it was time for
the Bolsheviks to seize power from the Provisional Government.
• This decision was supported 10 votes to 2. The two no votes ( Zinoviev
and Kamenev) attempted to contact newspapers to betray the plans but
were prevented by the other Bolsheviks.
Undermining the
Provisional Government
• Kerensky made the decision to send some of the Petrograd Garrison to
fight the Germans. The Bolsheviks protested and the Provisional
Government changed its mind. This made the Bolsheviks popular with
these soldiers.
• Bolshevik organisers continued to hold meetings in factories and in the
open air, starting now to prepare people for the revolution and promoting
Lenin's ideas.
• On 23rd October Trotsky managed to persuade the soldiers in the fortress
of St Peter and St Paul to support the Bolsheviks. The guns of this
fortress covered the city.
The Provisional
Government acts
• 24th October Kerensky realised he had to act.
• He ordered the officer cadets (Junkers) into
the city to seize the Bolshevik newspapers
and arrest key Bolsheviks. He deployed the
Women's Battalion to the Winter Palace which
was the HQ of the Provisional Government.
He ordered the battle cruiser Aurora (known to
sympathise with the Bolsheviks.
Too little, too late
• The Bolsheviks easily re-opened the
newspapers and released those who were
• The Aurora refused to put to sea and
remained where her guns could threaten the
Winter Palace.
• Lenin and Trotsky made finl plans to seize
control of the Government.
25 October the Bolshevik
Revolution started
2am Red Guard units re- took the key areas held by the officer cadets.
Normal life went on in Petrograd as the revolution unfolded. There was very little
Kerensky managed to slip out of the city and made for the Front in the hope of getting
loyal units to return to Petrograd. The rest of the Provisional Government stayed in the
Winter Palace guarded by the last of the officer cadets and the Women's Battalion.
In the early evening the Red Guard, soldiers from the Petrograd Garrison and sailors
from Kronstradt controlled all of the city. They demanded the Provisional Government
When they refused they assaulted the Palace. There little effective resistance. 6
Bolsheviks in total were killed. None of the defenders died.
Lenin finally takes
• Whilst the attack on the Winter Palace was taking place there was a
meeting of the Congress of Soviets.
• Most of the delegates swung their support behind Lenin and his
• Those who didn't left before they were expelled. Trotsky told them "You
are miserable, isolated individuals. You are bankrupt. You have played out
your role. Go where you belong: to the dustbin of history".
• On the next evening of 26 October, Lenin announced the
plans for Russia.
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