A Journal of People compilation
The first Joint Plenum of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies issues “Order No. 1to the Petrograd Garrison”. The order played a very big part in revolutionizing the army. Henceforth, all military units were to be guided in their political actions solely by the Soviet, all weapons were to be placed at the disposal and under the control of company and battalion soldiers’ committees, orders issued by the Provisional Committee of the State Duma were to be obeyed only if they did not conflict with the orders of the Soviet. All soldiers’ units will elect Soldiers’ Committees. The decree stipulates that soldiers will now accept orders from the Soldiers’ Soviet and their locally elected committees. The Soviet also forbids its members from joining the soon to form government, but recognizes the authority of the Duma.
But at the crucial moment, on the night following March 1, the compromising leaders of the Soviet Executive voluntarily turned over power to the bourgeoisie: they endorsed the Provisional Government composed of representatives of the bourgeoisie and landlords.
The Soviet and Duma continue discussions on the formation of a new government.
At the Soviet Plenum, the Bolsheviks criticize the lack of focus on questions of land, peace, and the 8 hour day.
On the request of the Provisional Committee, Nicholas II abdicates power to his brother Mikhail, who refuses power. Thus ends their hopes to keep the monarchy alive, side by side to the new Provisional Government. Workers, soldiers, and young people take to the streets, tearing down statues of the Tsar, and set alight the Imperial emblems. Loyalist police ambush and shoot the revelers, but armed Soviet soldiers hunt the police down and arrest them. Whenever a cop is uncovered in the middle of a crowd, however, their fate is more severe.
The Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet orders the arrest of Nicholas II.
“The press is now the main thing”, Lenin wrote to Alexandra Kollontai. In a letter to Kollontai in Stockholm, Lenin indicates concrete measures to unite the Left and suggests a plan for theses in connection with the Social-Democratic Youth Congress.
The first issue of Pravda [Truth] is published as the organ of the RSDLP Central and St. Petersburg, since being closed down as a result of its peaceful stance on the World War. Pravda played a very special part in history of the Bolshevik Party and the revolution. Pravda is the first legally published Russian mass working class paper. It ushered in a new stage in the development of the Russian and world proletarian press.
The Provisional Government declares a general amnesty for all political prisoners.
Lenin writes his first “Letter from Afar” – “The First Stage of the First Revolution”
The Petrograd Soviet creates the Contact Commission as an organ of communication with the Provisional Government.
Meanwhile, the Provisional Government refuses to allow Finland the independence it demands.
“I cannot deliver lectures or attend meetings, for I must write daily for Pravda”, Lenin wrote to V A Karpinsky in reply to the latter’s invitation to deliver a lecture on the tasks of the Party in the revolution to Russian émigrés and Swiss socialists in Geneva.
Lenin writes (March 8-9) his second “Letters From Afar” – “The New Government and the Proletariat”.
The USA is the first government in the world to formally recognize the new Provisional Government.
Two days later, France, England, and Italy follow suit, after receiving assurance the government would continue to wage war.
Lenin writes the third “Letter From Afar” – “Concerning a Proletarian Militia”.
Stalin arrives in Petrograd after being released from prison.
The Provisional government repeals the death penalty.
Lenin writes the fourth “Letter From Afar” – “How to Achieve Peace”.
The Petrograd Soviet addresses “the people of the whole world” declaring an earnest desire for peace, an end to World War I, without annexations or indemnities.
Stalin writes in Pravda (No. 8): “The chariot of the Russian revolution is advancing with lightning speed. The detachments of the revolutionary militants are everywhere growing and spreading. The pillars of the old power are tottering on their foundations and crumbling. Now, as always, Petrograd is in the forefront. Behind it, stumbling at times, trail the immense provinces.” (“The Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies”)
At an enlarged meeting of the Bureau of the central committee of the RSLDP (Bolshevik) Stalin is appointed to the editorial board of Pravda.
Poland appeals for independence. The Provisional Government refuses.
The Bureau of the central committee of the RSLDP (Bolshevik) delegates Stalin to the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. Stalin’s article “Conditions for the Victory of the Russian Revolution” appears in Pravda, No. 12.
The Provisional Government refuses to pass an agrarian act for the desperate food crisis in the nation, and the wide-scale disenfranchisement of the peasantry. Instead, the Government condemns looters and forced seizures of the land.
The Provisional Government abolishes all religious and ethnic restrictions formerly imposed by the Monarchy. Non-Russian languages are now allowed at private educational institutions and record keeping.
Lenin’s “Letters from Afar” are published, though highly abridged. Lenin’s First Letter began with the following sentences: “The first revolution engendered by the imperialist world war has broken out. The first revolution but certainly not the last.” The letter said: “There are no miracles in nature or history, but this applies to every revolution, presents such a wealth of content, unfolds such unexpected and specific combination of forms of struggle and alignment of forces of the contestants, that to the lay mind there is much that appear miraculous.”
Trotsky leaves exile in New York to return to Russia. Trotsky writes in his My Life, An Attempt at an Autobiography: “Immediately after the welcome at the station [in Petrograd] I found myself in a whirlpool in which men and events swept by me as swiftly as litter on a rushing stream. … Even my wife and I shared a bit in the bewilderment of our boys in the streets of Petrograd at hearing Russian …. The soldiers sang revolutionary songs as they marched, and sported red ribbons on their tunics. It all seemed as incredible as a dream. The tram cars were full of soldiers. … War, the gigantic monster, was still standing behind the revolution, throwing its shadow upon it. But the masses no longer believed in the war”.
The Provisional Government declares that its purpose in continuing the war is solely for the defense of Russia. This serves as a compromise position with the Petrograd Soviet, which accepts this new formulation.
Plekhanov arrives in Petrograd, after nearly 40 years in exile. Plekhanov is a different man from when he left; now supporting the War for territory, and the advance of capitalism in Russia.