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Russian Revolution (October 1917)

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Years of Reaction (1907-1910)

A New Rise of the Revolutionary Tide (1910-1914)

First World War (1914 - February 1917)

February Russian revolution (February 1917)

Lenin in August 1917.
October revolution hall in the Lenin museum

Lenin arrived in Petrograd at night April 3 (16), 1917. Workers, soldiers and sailors met him. The entire square and the streets adjoining the railway station were filled with people. With unceasing shouts of "Hurrah!" the workers lifted Lenin onto an armoured car. He concluded his short speech with the flaming words: "Long live the socialist revolution!"

Exposition in Lenin museum

Russian revolution Programm: Lenin's "April Theses"

Lenin's famous "April Theses" and also his "Letters on Tactics" and materials from the 7th (April) All-Russia Conference of the Bolshevik Party are on exhibition. These programme documents armed the Party and working class of Russia with a concrete plan of struggle for the transition from the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist one.

Vladimir Lenin.  April Theses - the programm of the Revolution. April 1917

Lenin speaking at the Taurida Palace, in Petrograd, April 1917.

"The specific feature of the present situation in Russia," wrote Lenin in his "Theses", "is that the country is passing from the first stage of the revolution—which, owing to the insufficient class-consciousness and organization of the proletariat, places power in the hands of the bourgeoisie-to its second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest sections of the peasants..."

"This peculiar situation demands of us an ability to adapt ourselves to the special conditions of Party work among unprecedentedly large masses of proletarians who have just awakened to political life..."

"The masses must be made to see that the Soviets of Workers' Deputies are the only possible form of revolutionary government, and that therefore our task is, as long as this government yields to the influence of the bourgeoisie, to present a patient, systematic, and persistent explanation of the errors of their tactics, an explanation especially adapted to the practical needs of the masses."

The Bolsheviks began wide explanatory work among the masses. They spoke before workers, peasants and soldiers, explaining the Party programme to them, calling for a socialist revolution. The artist I. Brodsky's painting, "V. I. Lenin's Speech at a Workers' Meeting at the Putilovsky Plant, May 12 (25), 1917", depicts the atmosphere of that time, and the workers' readiness to follow the Party.

The documentary photographs recount the powerful protest demonstrations by workers, soldiers and sailors against the imperialist war, and against the entire bourgeois politics of the Provisional Government. One of them shows the shooting down of workers and soldiers taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Petrograd in July. After that V.I.Lenin wrote: "All hopes for a peaceful development of the Russian revolution have vanished for good."

Shooting down of workers and soldiers taking part in  a peaceful demonstration in Petrograd in July 1917.

Shooting down of peaceful demonstration in Petrograd in July 1917.

After the shooting down of these demonstrators the Provisional Government subjected the Bolshevik Party and workers' organisations to cruel repressions, just as the last tsarist government had done not long before. Lenin's arrest was ordered. It became obvious that further stay in Petrograd would endanger Lenin's life. The Central Committee of the Party decided to send him not far from the Razliv Station (a suburb of Petrograd) to the home of the worker Emelyanov. Lenin left for Razliv late in the evening of July 9 (22). The exposition in this hall is connected with Lenin's last few days underground. These are: photographs of the places where he was in hiding and belongings which he used. For almost a month Lenin lived in hiding in the forest along the shore of the Razliv Lake under the guise of a hay-maker. His "home" was a hay shanty; nearby a small clearing in the shrubbery served as a courtyard with two chocks-his "table and chair". Lenin jokingly called this his "green office". His "kitchen" was situated near the hut-it was a pot hanging on a crossbeam over a campfire. Lenin was working very hard preparing the materials for the Sixth Bolshevik Party Congress and continuing to write his book The State and Revolution....

On display here are the documents and materials from the Party's Sixth Congress (it took place in late July and early August 1917) whose decisions were directed toward the preparation of the working class and poorest peasants in Russia for an armed uprising, and for the victory of the socialist revolution. The first edition of the minutes of the Congress, resolutions about the political and economic situation, about the current situation, about youth unions, and the Rules of the RSDLP(B) are here in the display case. Lenin's works, the theses "The Political Situation", the pamphlet "On Slogans", the article "The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution", which formed a basis of these RSDLP documents, are also presented in the exposition.

Lenin in Razliv. Sculpture

Lenin's things in Razliv

On August 6 (19), 1917 Lenin left Razliv for Finland in make-up and wearing a wig, with documents in the name of the worker K. Ivanov, from the Sestroretsk arms factory. A photograph of Lenin, "Ivanov", is presented in this room.

In Lenin Museum

In September 1917 V. I. Lenin completed his book The State and Revolution. In this book he developed the Marxist teachings on the state and on the two phases in communist society, and comprehensively substantiated one of the fundamental tenets of Marxism on the regularity and inevitability of the dictatorship of the working class and on its historical role in the development of mankind on the path to communism. V. I. Lenin wrote, "The transition from capitalism to communism is certainly bound to yield a "tremendous abundance and variety of political forms, but the essence will inevitably be the same: the dictatorship of the proletariat." In relation to this he emphasised that the guiding and directing force of the dictatorship of the proletariat is a Party of Communists. The first edition of this book and various pages of the manuscript, and also its numerous editions in languages of the various nationalities in the USSR and foreign countries are also located in this exposition.

In the museum

Lenin illegally returned to Russia

Lenin wears a wig for this photograph which was to go on a certificate issued in the name of a worker, K. P. Ivanov. With this document Lenin left illegally for Finland to escape the persecutions of the Provisional Govern-ment. August 1917.

In early October 1917 (between the 3rd and the 7th according to the old Calendar), V. I. Lenin, in make-up, returned illegally to Russia and rode on the tender of a railway engine from Finland to Petrograd. A model of this engine is located in this room. The actual engine No. 293 was given to the Soviet Union by the Finnish Government in 1957 (today it can be seen in the special glass pavilion constructed in the Finland Railway Station in Leningrad).

On the display stand is Lenin's manuscript—the resolution of the Party Central Committee of October 10 (23), 1917 on the armed uprising. It is stated in the resolution that an armed uprising is imminent, and the necessity of thorough preparation is emphasized. The Military-Revolutionary Committee, the organ in charge of the uprising, was founded upon the proposal of the Party's Central Committee at the Petrograd Soviet, and on October 16 (29), at a plenary session of the Party's Central Committee a Military-Revolutionary Centre of the Party's Central Committee was elected, becoming the main body of the Military-Revolutionary Committee.

During the course of many weeks Lenin had been persistently preparing the Party and the working class for uprising, working out the basic rules and plans for it, checking his practical preparation in the Party organizations, attentively seeing to the development of the revolutionary situation in the country, and determining the "right moment" for the uprising. He attached utmost importance to the correct choice of this moment.

Staying in an apartment in the underground and learning on October 24 (November 6) that government troops were about to raise the bridges across the Neva, Vladimir llyich quickly wrote and sent out a note to the Central Committee requesting permission to come to Smolny. Shortly thereafter, he wrote his historic letter to the Central Committee, demanding that it immediately launch a decisive offensive.

"I am writing these lines on the evening of the 24th. The situation is critical in the extreme. In fact it is now absolutely clear that to delay the uprising would be fatal."

Lenin's plan for an armed uprising was realised in Petrograd on the night of October 24-25 (November 6-7) 1917. The map-diagram in this hall demonstrates the development of events during this night. Among the exhibit items is the painting "V. I. Lenin on the Steps of Smolny" by artist V. Tsiplakov.


Smolny. October 1917

Smolnyin the days of the revolution. October 1917
Red Guardians

In the photographs picket-lines of soldiers and sailors are shown checking passes at the entrance to Smolny, which became the focal point of the stormy events of those days. Commanders of revolutionary regiments and representatives' from factories from every end of the city came here for instructions. The square in front of Smolny buzzed with people's voices and the noise of automobiles and motorcycles. Sailors' and workers' caps and papakhas of soldiers could be seen everywhere.... Armoured cars, cannons, machine-guns and stacks of firewood in the event of the construction of barricades.... And the entire picture was illuminated by brightly burning bonfires.

Aurora model

The plan for the uprising was realised quickly and systematically. The revolution was victorious on October 25 (November 7).

The address "To the Citizens of Russia", written by Lenin October 25 (November 7), 1917 at 10:00 a.m. is presented on the display stand. The address announced the deposition of the Provisional Government and the transition of state power into the hands of the Military-Revolutionary Committee: "The cause for which the people have fought, namely, the immediate offer of a democratic peace, the abolition of landed proprietorship, workers' control over production, and the establishment of Soviet power - this cause has been secured."

The decisions of the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies formalised the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution. October 25 (November 7), 1917 went down in history as victory day for the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. This day is the most significant date in the history of the USSR.

Decree on Land

Decree on Land

Lenin's speech on October 26 (November 8), 1917 at the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets is portrayed in the painting by V.Serov. The first decrees of the Soviet Government adopted by the Congress-the Decree on Peace and the Decree on Land, are on display.

Lenin's Decree on Peace

Lenin's Decree on Peace

Lenin's Decree on Peace defined the character and direction of the entire foreign policy of the first socialist state in the world. It paved the way to a new type of international relations, unprecedented in the history of mankind. Under the Decree on Land, all land owned by the landlords was to be transferred to the people immediately and without any compensation.

Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia
Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia published after Revolution

On display next to the Decrees and mounted in a similar way, are the decisions of the Congress on the formation of the Soviet Government-the Council of People's Commissars-headed by Lenin as well as the "Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia", in which the equality and sovereignty of the peoples living in Russia is proclaimed, and their right to free self-determination is confirmed.

Vladimir Lenin. 1918

V.I.Lenin. January 1918.

The concluding part of this exposition reveals the international character of the Russian revolution and its influence on the entire course of world history.


See also:

Anatoly Lunacharsky. Lenin and Russian revolution.
V.Bonch-Bruevich How Vladimir Ilyich wrote the Decree on Land.
Alexandra Kollontai The First Benefit

Fidel Castro October Revolution and Cuban Revolution

and other historical documents and photos at the Defend Lenin mausoleum! site.

Founder of the Soviet State (October 1917-1918)