Cooee - Russia on verge of revolution

March 18, 2017

By this week in 1917, Russia faced famine and feelings in St Petersburg’s streets were running high.

By this week in 1917, Russia faced famine and feelings in St Petersburg’s streets were running high.

The Duma’s President warned the Tsar that the country was on the point of revolution.

At Russia’s frontline and incompetent as ever, Tsar Nicholas’ answer was to dissolve the Duma and order the crowds dispersed with gunfire.

The Duma ignored him.

Instead, it declared itself the sole constitutional authority of Russia.

On Sunday, the streets were jammed with crowds listening to firebrand orators.

In mid-afternoon, the police decided to put an end to the agitation.

They opened fire with machine guns from the rooftops killing or wounding more than 100.

The Pavlovsky Guards were also marched out of their barracks and ordered to fire on the striking workers.

Instead, the Guards fired over the crowd’s heads and then returned to their barracks.

By Monday all four Guards Regiments, the Cossacks and another 25000 troops had joined the strikers.

Police Minister Protopopoff ordered the police to working-class suburbs.

There, dressed as soldiers, they shot workers wherever they found them.

Once their disguise was discovered, strikers and soldiers fell on police, killing them in return.

An artillery depot and an arsenal were plundered for their weapons.

Thus better armed, the strikers and soldiers commandeered motor cars and drove around St Petersburg, freeing prisoners and killing every police officer in the city.

On the same day, the Imperial Guards mutinied and, after killing their officers, arrested and imprisoned the Tsarina.

Only then did Nicholas show any interest.

The Duma and mutinous soldiers appointed a Soviet of 12 to restore order in the city.

This it did quickly, but the revolution was unstoppable.

Tsar Nicholas returned to St Petersburg.

However, today in 1917, the Soviet forced Tsar Nicholas and the Tsarevitch to abdicate.

They were imprisoned with the Tsarina.

Their replacement Grand Duke Michael also abdicated the next day.

The Duma had by now formed a Provisional Government.

This was recognised immediately by the Allies on the understanding that Russia would continue to fight.

Elections were called; 100,000 political prisoners were invited to return to Siberia and the death penalty abolished — temporarily.

Meanwhile, Lenin and his would-be revolutionaries sat in exile in Switzerland.

This week it was stated that the costs of rail freight for fruit from Melbourne’s outskirts to Benalla cost the same amount as the fruit itself.

This week also, the body of an elderly man was found in his hut near Benalla.

It was believed that he had died at least a week before.

An 11-year-old girl drowned this week while swimming in a dam at Devenish.

Her friend who was with her could not swim.

She ran for help, but it was too late.

— John Barry, Anzac Commemorative Working Party. Coo-ee — Honouring our WWI Heroes

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