This Week in the Russian Revolution

This week in the Russian Revolution

December 25-31: Soviet government nationalizes the banks

27 December 2017

The year 1917 closes with the Russian Revolution in a precarious situation. The new Soviet government is menaced on all sides by hostile armies. Meanwhile, the imperialist war rages on, and the October insurrection catalyzes revolutionary struggles around the world.

This week in the Russian Revolution

December 18-24: Peace negotiations begin at Brest-Litovsk

18 December 2017

Trotsky later writes, “The circumstances of history willed that the delegates of the most revolutionary regime ever known to humanity should sit at the same diplomatic table with the representatives of the most reactionary caste among all the ruling classes.”

This week in the Russian Revolution

December 11-17: White forces capture Rostov

11 December 2017

As forces commanded by the counterrevolutionary General Kaledin occupy Rostov, a major industrial center in southern Russia, conflict continues to rage in the Bolshevik leadership over the question of the Constituent Assembly.

This week in the Russian Revolution

December 4-10: Guns fall silent on the Eastern Front

4 December 2017

Soviet Russia and the Central Powers agree to a 10-day truce, subsequently extended to 28 days. “We have started a resolute struggle against the war brought on by the clash of robbers over their spoils,” Lenin declares in a speech December 5.

This week in the Russian Revolution

November 27-December 3: Soviet government steps up call for end to war

27 November 2017

While the world war drags on and most warring governments stubbornly ignore the Bolsheviks’ call for peace, the new government of Soviet Russia issues an appeal to “the peoples of the belligerent governments” to put an end to the imperialist slaughter.

This week in the Russian Revolution

November 20-26: Bolsheviks expose imperialist carve-up of the Middle East

20 November 2017

With the publication of these secret agreements, the outrage and indignation towards the Bolsheviks in the imperialist capitals reaches new heights. However, among the oppressed masses around the world, the Bolsheviks win incalculable prestige.

This week in the Russian Revolution

November 13-19: Soviet power spreads through Russia

13 November 2017

In the aftermath of the October insurrection in Petrograd, Soviet power spreads through Russia. Meanwhile, matters come to a head with the “moderate” wing of the Bolshevik leadership, which adheres to a national perspective oriented towards building a coalition government.

This week in the Russian Revolution

November 6-12: Bolsheviks come to power in Petrograd

6 November 2017

The Congress of Soviets opens with the Bolsheviks firmly in control of Petrograd. The new government formed by the Bolsheviks swiftly passes sweeping decrees on peace, land, education, and the eight-hour day.

This week in the Russian Revolution

October 30-November 5: Bolsheviks marshal forces for the revolution

30 October 2017

With the Military Revolutionary Committee in open defiance of government authority, the loyalties of key sections of workers and soldiers are tested and confirmed. Meanwhile, the forces of the Provisional Government are isolated and undermined.

This week in the Russian Revolution

October 23-29: Bolshevik Central Committee votes for armed insurrection

23 October 2017

In an all-night secret meeting at an apartment in Petrograd’s Vyborg District on October 23, Lenin, joined by Trotsky, secures a majority vote in the Bolshevik Central Committee in favor of armed insurrection.

This week in the Russian Revolution

October 16-22: Trotsky leads Bolsheviks out of Pre-Parliament

16 October 2017

Lenin’s campaign for an insurrection reaches ever wider layers and pushes the Bolsheviks to the left, preparing the way for Trotsky leading the party out of the Pre-Parliament, a moment he described as “the historic break between the proletariat and the state mechanism of the bourgeoisie.”

This week in the Russian Revolution

October 9 - 15: Lenin steps up campaign for insurrection

9 October 2017

With Trotsky at the head of the Petrograd Soviet, and with the Bolshevik Party in control of a growing majority of other soviets, the Bolsheviks are now the most powerful party in the Russian Revolution. However, significant differences have emerged within the party’s leadership regarding what course to take.

This week in the Russian Revolution

October 2 - 8: Trotsky elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet

2 October 2017

The election of Leon Trotsky to the most important post in revolutionary Russia epitomizes the surging strength of the Bolsheviks. However, the immense popular shift in favor of the Bolsheviks coincides with a sharp crisis in the party leadership.

This week in the Russian Revolution

September 25 – October 1: Lenin urges Bolshevik leaders to prepare for the seizure of power

25 September 2017

Now that the Bolsheviks have obtained majorities in the Moscow and Petrograd soviets, Lenin launches a campaign to orient the party for a planned insurrection.

When Will the Wretched Slaughter End?

By Leon Trotsky, 25 September 2017

This pamphlet was printed as separate articles in the newspaper Rabochii (Worker), numbers 10-12 (September 1-2 and 14-15).

This week in the Russian Revolution

September 18 – 24: Bolsheviks obtain majorities in Moscow and Petrograd soviets

18 September 2017

Following the Kornilov affair, support for the Bolsheviks surges, and they win control of the Moscow and Petrograd soviets, followed one by one by provincial soviets. The war rages on, and mass hunger and deprivation fuel working-class rebellions around the world.

This week in the Russian Revolution

September 11-17: After the Kornilov Affair—Kerensky attempts to form dictatorial regime, Trotsky released from prison

11 September 2017

Following the defeat of the Kornilov coup, Kerensky attempts to form a new government, declaring himself the commander-in-chief of the army and announcing the formation of a dictatorial regime consisting of a five-member “Directory.”

This week in the Russian Revolution

September 4 – 10: The Kornilov affair

4 September 2017

Confronted with the danger of a full-blooded counterrevolutionary dictatorship and mass repression from General Kornilov, the Soviets are compelled to appeal to the working class to defend the city.

From the archives of the Russian Revolution

On Slogans

By Vladimir Lenin, 2 September 2017

In “On Slogans,” written in July 1917, Lenin analyzes the shift in class and party relations following the counterrevolution against the July insurrection.

New from Mehring Books

Why Study the Russian Revolution?

Volume I: The February Revolution and the Development of Bolshevik Strategy

28 August 2017

One hundred years after the Russian Revolution, the events of 1917, their consequences and their lessons retain a burning contemporary relevance.

This week in the Russian Revolution

August 28 – September 3: Surge in support for the Bolsheviks

28 August 2017

As mass support for the Bolsheviks grows, the ruling classes are deserting Kerensky, throwing their support instead behind the tsarist general Kornilov, who is plotting to establish a counterrevolutionary dictatorship by means of a military coup.

This week in the Russian Revolution

August 21-August 27: Kerensky attempts to marshal the counterrevolution

21 August 2017

With the installation of General Kornilov at the head of the army, Kerensky has turned sharply to the right. Supported by the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries, he convenes the Moscow State Conference to unite all of the counterrevolutionary forces in Russia.

This week in the Russian Revolution

August 14-20: The Kornilov menace

14 August 2017

Among the landowners, capitalists and old tsarist military castes, Kerensky is increasingly viewed as wavering and ineffective. What is needed instead, they believe, is a military dictator who will smash the power of the soviets.

British Library exhibition treats Russian Revolution from a hostile standpoint

By Thomas Scripps and Paul Mitchell, 12 August 2017

The exhibition’s handling of sources and events transforms the revolution, which proceeded with a political logic well understood by its leaders, into a hodgepodge of accident and happenstance.

This week in the Russian Revolution

August 7-13: Mezhraiontsy unite with the Bolsheviks

7 August 2017

At the Sixth Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, convened by the Bolsheviks, the 4,000 strong Interdistrict Group (Mezhraiontsy), led by Trotsky and Lunacharsky, merges with the 240,000-strong Bolshevik Party, led by Lenin.

This week in the Russian Revolution

July 31—August 6: The nightmare in Flanders

31 July 2017

Perhaps more than any other battle in world history, the Third Battle of Ypres will endure for generations as a symbol of pointless and fratricidal barbarism. While popular moods continue to turn against the war, counterrevolution is in full swing in Russia.

From the archives of the Russian Revolution

Letter to the Provisional Government

By Leon Trotsky, 31 July 2017

This is a new translation of an open letter Trotsky addressed to the Provisional Government on the arrest of Bolshevik leaders, which took place during the crackdown that followed the July Days.

This week in the Russian Revolution

July 24—July 30: Counterrevolution rears its head

24 July 2017

Following the suppression of the July Insurrection, a “government of national safety” with unlimited repressive powers is announced in Petrograd, with the support of the bourgeois parties and the opportunist parties in the Petrograd Soviet.

This week in the Russian Revolution

July 17–23: The “July Days,” Insurrection and counterrevolution in Petrograd

17 July 2017

The insurrection in Petrograd known as the “July Days” reaches high tide and then recedes before the combined efforts of the Provisional Government and the parties that currently lead the Soviet.

Professor Sean McMeekin and the construction of a historical lie (Part II)

By David North, 10 July 2017

Professor Sean McMeekin’s claim that Lenin was an agent of German imperialism is based on the Bard College academic’s deliberate misrepresentation of historical research debunking the notorious myth of “German Gold.”

This week in the Russian Revolution

July 10–July 16: The beginning of the “July Days” in Petrograd

10 July 2017

Despite the warnings by Bolshevik leaders that a premature insurrection would be isolated and defeated, hundreds of thousands of workers decide to take matters into their own hands. This is the beginning of the “July Days.”

This week in the Russian Revolution

July 3-9: Lenin warns against premature insurrection

3 July 2017

Kerensky’s military offensive is developing into a terrible massacre of Russian soldiers. In the old tsarist capital, workers and soldiers are angry. In the Bolshevik Party’s middle and lower ranks, including in the Bolshevik Military Organization, many are demanding an immediate insurrection.

This week in the Russian Revolution

June 26–July 2: Bolshevik slogans dominate at massive Petrograd demonstration

26 June 2017

As Russia’s Provisional Government launches a major new military offensive, the efforts of the Menshevik and Socialist Revolutionary leaders of the Petrograd Soviet to block the Bolsheviks from advancing their demands fail spectacularly.

This week in the Russian Revolution

June 19-25: Bolshevik antiwar demonstration banned by Congress of Soviets

19 June 2017

The Provisional Government is preparing a major military offensive, backed by the Menshevik, petty-bourgeois, and populist leaders. However, masses of workers, peasants, and soldiers oppose the planned offensive and demand peace.

This week in the Russian Revolution

June 12-18: Petrograd Congress of Factory Committees endorses Bolshevik resolutions

12 June 2017

Arriving straight from their factory benches, worker-deputies vote overwhelmingly for Bolshevik resolutions. Workers declare that they are ready to rule without the “help” of the capitalists and landlords.

This week in the Russian Revolution

June 5-11: Horror on the Western Front

5 June 2017

The Great War, which brought forth the Russian Revolution, continues to rage. In one moment on the Western Front, some 10,000 men and boys are killed or buried alive when the British detonate explosives under German trenches at Messines.

This week in the Russian Revolution

May 29 – June 4: Lenin and Trotsky move toward unity as calls for Soviet power spread

29 May 2017

Lenin and Trotsky have been brought together politically by the imperialist world war and the course of the Russian Revolution. Both insist on the transfer of power to the Soviets and for a final break with the nationalist and opportunist socialist tendencies.

This week in the Russian Revolution

May 22-28: Global class struggle intensifies

22 May 2017

The revolution in Russia gives the signal to workers everywhere, but the gathering revolt is met with repression by the capitalist state and treachery by parties and unions claiming to represent workers.

From the archives of the Revolution

Speech on Comrade Uritsky’s report on the attitude to the Provisional Government

By Leon Trotsky, 20 May 2017

This is a new translation of a speech delivered by Trotsky before the Citywide Conference of United Social-Democrats on May 20, 1917 (May 7 O.S.).

This week in the Russian Revolution

May 15-21: Trotsky arrives in Petrograd

15 May 2017

Trotsky’s arrival is electrifying, providing a tremendous boost to the struggle being waged by Lenin and the Bolsheviks against the collaborationist, defensist, and opportunist forces that are currently in the Soviet’s majority.

This week in the Russian Revolution

May 8-14: Bolsheviks convene all-Russian conference amid government crisis

8 May 2017

The Bolshevik congress takes place as the Provisional Government, staggering from the publication of a leaked telegram to the Allied imperialist governments, appeals to the Menshevik and Socialist Revolutionary leaders of the Soviet to form a coalition government.

Series on the centenary of the Russian Revolution

Online lecture Saturday: Lenin’s Return to Russia and the April Theses

By James Cogan, 5 May 2017

James Cogan, National Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Australia, will be delivering the lecture on Saturday, May 6 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Register for the series at

This week in the Russian Revolution

May 1-7: April Crisis breaks out in Petrograd

1 May 2017

Newspapers in Petrograd publish a telegram by the Provisional Government’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, promising to abide by the tsar’s secret treaties and “fight the world war out to a decisive victory.” Workers and soldiers in Petrograd respond with massive anti-government demonstrations.

This week in the Russian Revolution

April 24-30: Trotsky released from British prison camp in Canada

24 April 2017

As Trotsky is released from the camp in Canada, the Bolshevik Party in Petrograd is embroiled in turmoil following the publication of Lenin’s April Theses. The party holds a city conference, in which Lenin’s positions win substantial support.

This week in the Russian Revolution

April 17-23: Lenin issues April Theses

17 April 2017

One hundred years ago this week, Lenin follows his return to Petrograd with an unexpected declaration of war against a section of the leadership of his own party, which is still a minority in the soviets. Trotsky later refers to Lenin’s campaign inside the party, which opened with the publication of the April Theses, as the “struggle for the rearming of the Bolshevik ranks.”

This week in the Russian Revolution

April 10-16: Lenin arrives at Finland Station

10 April 2017

Lenin’s arrival at Finland Station in Petrograd in April 1917, 100 years ago this week, is one of the most dramatic moments in world history. Against the backdrop of hitherto unprecedented carnage and suffering, Lenin arrives in Petrograd with an unshakeable determination to orient the Bolshevik party to the perspective of international socialist revolution.

This week in the Russian Revolution

April 3-9: US declares war on Germany

3 April 2017

The workers’ movement around the world is demanding an end to the imperialist carnage in Europe, but the capitalist elites are howling for more blood. The United States declares war on Germany and mobilizes hundreds of thousands of young men to use as cannon fodder.

David North to introduce documentary of Russian Revolution April 4 in Detroit

1 April 2017

Tsar to Lenin is a film that bears witness to a moment in history when socialist ideals inspired the greatest revolutionary movement in world history.

This week in the Russian Revolution

March 27-April 2: Trotsky departs for Petrograd

27 March 2017

Parting for Russia with promises to bring down the Provisional Government and stop the war, Trotsky sets sail via Oslo aboard a Norwegian liner, while Lenin remains stranded in Switzerland, where he is feverishly working to shape Bolshevik policy in Petrograd from afar.

This week in the Russian Revolution

March 20-26: Dual Power in Russia

20 March 2017

In the vacuum left by the abrupt and ignominious collapse of the “filthy and blood-stained cart of the Romanov monarchy,” to use Lenin’s words, a precarious configuration of “dual power” emerged in Petrograd.

The Legacy of 1905 and the Strategy of the Russian Revolution

Second online lecture on centenary of the Russian Revolution to be held this Saturday

18 March 2017

Fred Williams, translator of many Russian-language works of history and literature, will speak on the Russian revolution of 1905, the first great revolutionary upheaval of the twentieth century.

Writings of Trotsky from 1917

Two Faces (Internal Forces of the Russian Revolution)

By Leon Trotsky, 18 March 2017

In this article, Trotsky writes, “The masses have rebelled with demands for bread and peace. The appearance in power of a few liberals has neither fed the starving nor healed anyone’s wounds.”

Writings of Trotsky from 1917

The Growing Conflict

By Leon Trotsky, 18 March 2017

In this article, Trotsky writes, “An open conflict between the forces of the revolution, headed by the urban proletariat, and the anti-revolutionary liberal bourgeoisie, temporarily in power, is absolutely inevitable.”

This week in the Russian Revolution

March 13-19: Tsar Nicholas abdicates

13 March 2017

The Romanov Dynasty, which has ruled Russia since 1613, is swept aside by the revolution originating in Petrograd, initiating a period of “dual power” between the Duma and the Soviets.

On the Threshold of Revolution

By Leon Trotsky, 12 March 2017

This article was written by Leon Trotsky on March 13, 1917. An English translation appeared as “On the Eve of a Revolution” in the 1918 edition of Trotsky’s Our Revolution, edited and translated by M. J. Olgin.

This week in the Russian Revolution

March 6-12: February Revolution erupts in Petrograd

6 March 2017

The eruption of the February Revolution in Petrograd finds the two greatest figures of Russian Marxism—Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky—in exile, following events in Russia closely and anxiously awaiting their chance to return.

More than 75,000 view interview with David North

Growing international interest in Russian Revolution Centenary online lecture series

1 March 2017

The series will begin with a lecture by WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North, “Why Study the Russian Revolution?” streamed live on YouTube on Saturday, March 11 at 5:00 p.m. EST.

This week in the Russian Revolution

February 27-March 5: American imperialism prepares for world war

27 February 2017

From the eruption of war in 1914, the US maintained a position of formal neutrality—partly owing to mass anti-war sentiment among American workers and farmers. The neutrality became increasingly fictitious as the war dragged on.

This week in the Russian Revolution

February 20-26: War deepens crisis of the Tsarist regime

20 February 2017

The Russian Revolution of 1917 was the greatest event in modern history. Between February and October, Russia passed from the overthrow of the Tsar through a short episode of bourgeois rule to the establishment of the first workers state. To mark the centenary, the WSWS is publishing a weekly feature that will provide a kaleidoscopic view of the revolution and the global events of 1917, an epochal year in world history.