Monday, January 9, 2012


On January 9, 1905 Russian troops fired on a crowd of unarmed Russian workers in St. Petersburg. They were marching to the Winter Palace to petition their grievances to Czar Nicholas II.  This "Bloody Sunday" was followed in succeeding months by a series of strikes, riots, assassinations, naval mutinies, and peasant outbreaks. When WW I broke out in 1914, most elements of Russia (except the Bolsheviks) united in supporting the war effort. However, the repeated military reverses, the acute food shortages, the appointment of inept ministers, and the general suffering of the civilian population as a whole created a revolutionary climate by the end of 1916. The sinister influence of Rasputin over Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna was probably the last straw, leading to the overthrow of the Czar and his family and replacing the government with what came to be known as the Soviet Union. The degree to which the takeover assuaged things is of course debatable. Best book to read about this changing of the guards is Orwell's allegorical "Animal Farm".

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