29 January - 4 February 1917

  • By Mark Sutcliffe
  • 02 Feb, 2017
Nicholas II and the Tsarevich Aleksei on the South-West Front 
Spring 1916
On the eve of the Revolution the prospects for the 1917 campaign were brighter than they had been in March 1916 ... The Russian infantry was tired, but less tired than it had been twelve months earlier. It was evident that the Russian Command must in future squander men less lavishly on the front, but still the depots contained 1,900,000 men, and 600,000 more of excellent material were joining from their homes ... There can be no doubt that if the national fabric had held together, or, even granted the Revolution, if a man had been forthcoming who was man enough to protect the troops from pacifist propaganda, the Russian army would have gained fresh laurels in the campaign of 1917, and in all human probability would have exercised a pressure which would have made possible an allied victory by the end of the year.
(Major-General Sir Alfred Knox,  With the Russian Army 1914-1917 , London 1921)

29 January

Diary entry of Lev Tikhomirov, revolutionary and later conservative thinker
I’m worse again. Temperature’s gone up … In Moscow there’s a shortage of flour and bread. The city chief administrator has announced that his reserves have run out as well and asks the people to be patient. It wasn’t long – a week at most – since he was fining bakers for not requesting flour from his reserves! What a ridiculous situation. The bakers are calling him every name under the sun, saying that he’s bought up all the flour on the cheap and is now ‘giving it by the pood [16 kilos] to his cronies!’ I’m sick to death of all this. As though the chief administrator has thousands of cronies! A veritable tower of Babel. Meanwhile ‘the representatives of the allied nations’ are banqueting with representatives of our ‘society’ and making joint declarations about our impending victory. Milner [head of British delegation to Russia] has also been describing how the English will build up our industry. Of course they will, just as they’re doing in India!
(L.A. Tikhomirov,  Diary 1915-1917 , Moscow 2008)

Letter from Aleksei Peshkov [Maxim Gorky] to his wife E.P. Peshkova, from Petrograd
I very much advise against your coming here, Katia! … The situation is critical. If transport stops for two weeks, famine will set in. There’s already no flour here. The session of the Duma probably won’t open on the 14th, although all manner of turmoil could occur on that day … Things here in general are alarming and grim, and there would be nothing for you to do. I’m giving a reading on the first. It will be a success. Zinovii Peshkov [Gorky’s godson] has been promoted to lieutenant, he has been sent by the French to America and is getting forty dollars a day! He’s having an affair with Countess Chernikh, wife of the Sarajevan consul, the one who aided the Austrian plot against Serbia. The countess, who is English by birth, asked her husband for a divorce when the war began, and now Zinovii’s turned up! … Aleksei Peshkov is working like an ox. I’ve caught a cold, I’ve lost my voice, I’m sneezing, and I’m afraid that I won’t get better by the first! But that’s nothing! Everything here is abominable. I say this to you not by way of consolation, but just because that’s how it is.
Keep well!
( Maksim Gorky: Selected Letters , Oxford 1997)

Sunday Times article headed 'The Petrograd Conference: Russia's Peace Aims'
The Conference of the Allies in Petrograd is surrounded by mystery. Nothing official has transpired. However, it is an open secret that what the Conference is discussing is the future map of Europe. Everybody realises that the war has entered on its last stage. Everybody in Russia is confident of victory, even if to attain it a fight with the Government should become necessary.
( Sunday Times , 'From our own correspondent, Petrograd')

30 January
Diary entry of Alexander Benois, artist and critic
A meeting with the Hermitage at 11, this time in the museum itself. All Hermitage people. Everyone extremely pleasant to me, from the director Dm. Iv. Tolstoi down. Seems they’ve decided to draw a veil over my article last year [about poor restoration of museum’s paintings] . Iskersky [curator] once again revealed a surprising degree of ignorance. The question of what to do with the large paintings at Gatchina Palace was also discussed. They include a huge forest landscape with figures, showing the ‘Flight into Egypt’ (Lipgart [curator of paintings] claims that it’s an early Titian! I’m more inclined to attribute it to Domenico Campagnola) … These paintings were taken to the Hermitage temporarily for restoration, but they would like to ‘incorporate’ them. Will the Dowager Empress [Maria Feodorovna] agree to this? After all, she is fundamentally opposed to any changes to Gatchina’s artistic ensemble: ‘As it was under the late Sovereign, so it must remain!’ … Lunched with Argutinsky [collector] at Café Donon. Two of our elegant diplomats – Savinsky and Prince Urusov – came and sat with us. This quite spoilt it for me, as they blathered on the whole time, either about the war, or mutual acquaintances, or about the Allies. And a table away from us were two of the most typical Jews imaginable, with predatory faces, discussing with gusto their (no doubt dark) affairs. It seemed very clear who now holds the cards, who is generally ‘master of the situation’, and into whose hands the present critical state of affairs will play.
(Alexander Benois , Diary 1916-1918 , Moscow 2006)

31 January
Diary entry of Georges-Maurice Paléologue, French Ambassador to Russia
Eleven workmen, members of the Central Committee of Military Industries, have just been arrested on a charge of ‘plotting a revolutionary movement with the object of proclaiming a republic’. Arrests of this kind are common enough in Russia, but in the ordinary way the public hears nothing about them. After a secret trial, the accused are sent to a state gaol or banished to the depths of Siberia. The press never mentions the matter, and quite frequently even their families do not know what has happened to their missing relative. The silence in which these summary convictions are wrapped has a good deal to do with the tragic notoriety of the Okhrana . But this time the element of mystery has been dispensed with. A sensational communiqué informs the press of the arrest of the twelve workmen. This is Protopopov’s way of showing how busy he is in saving tsarism and society.
(Maurice Paléologue,  An Ambassador's Memoirs 1914-1917 , London 1973)

1 February
Diary entry of Alexander Benois, artist and critic
Visit from Scamoni [printer] again. He is convinced there won’t be any serious disturbances, only some isolated and fruitless strikes resulting from specific harassment of workers. But he’s basing his judgement on the business he runs – and the Golike-Vyborg printing house is run on far more cultured lines than many other, bigger enterprises. Their workers, it seems, are happy with their situation, which has greatly improved in recent times. ‘Their doorkeeper now earns more than the typesetter used to’.
(Alexander Benois , Diary 1916-1918 , Moscow 2006)

2 February
Diary entry of James L. Houghteling, Jr, attaché at the American Embassy, Petrograd
This is a church holiday, and G. and I went out to Lyubertsi, the Harvester Company’s industrial town ten miles out, to ski with the Varkalas … The travelling was up-hill and down-dale but the snow was fairly hard and the air clear and exhilarating. We came to no fences nor boundary marks till we neared the monastery … After an hour we came out on the top of steep slopes above the valley of the Moskva River … Here we had glorious coasting, so good that we climbed up and tried again. On the second trip down, I carelessly raised one foot and had the pleasure of seeing my ski dash off down the hill ahead of me. Of course I had a beautiful fall and the rest of the slide was a mélange of hopping, tripping and bad language.
(James L. Houghteling, Jr, A Diary of the Russian Revolution , New York 1918)

4 February
Letter from Nicholas II to his cousin George V
My dearest Georgie,
I thank you very much for your kind long letter. I entrust mine to the care of Lord Milner, whose acquaintance I was very pleased to make. Twice I had the occasion of seeing all the members of your mission. I hope they will return safely to England – the journey has become now still more risky since those d--d pirates sink every ship they can only get hold of. In a couple of days the work of the Conference will come to an end. May its results be fruitful and of useful consequences for both our countries and for all the Allies. The weak state of our railways has since long preoccupied me. The rolling stock has been and remains insufficient and we can hardly repair the worn out engines and cars, because nearly all the manufactories and fabrics of the country work for the army. That is why the question of transport of stores and food becomes acute, especially in winter, when the rivers and canals are frozen. Everything is being done to ameliorate this state of things which I hope will be overcome in April. But I never lose courage and egg on the ministers to make them and those under them work as hard as they can. But whatever the difficulties may be yet in store for us – we shall go on with this awful war to the end. 
Alix and I send May and your children our fond love.
With my very best wishes for your welfare and happiness. Ever my dearest Georgie, your most devoted cousin and friend,
(Sergei Mironenko,  A Lifelong Passion , London 1996)

Diary entry of Lev Tikhomirov, revolutionary and later conservative thinker
Moscow is dark, they’re not lighting the lamps. So of course the robbers are having a field day. What a difficult time! It’s not just the maid who’s barely surviving, even the cat Barsik has got as thin as a skeleton. There’s nothing to eat – he eats potato. Today I gave Masha 40 kopecks to buy him some offal. He loves it but when there’s nothing to buy, there’s nothing to give him. He’s already polished off every mouse going. Poor old cat.
(L.A. Tikhomirov, Diary 1915-1917 , Moscow 2008)


4 February 2017
A review in the  Guardian of the Royal Academy's Revolution exhibition that's due to open next weekend. In fact the article takes issue with the title rather than the exhibition, which the reviewer hasn't yet seen, and whether it's right to be celebrating revolutionary art in this way – art that glorifies the victory of a regime achieved through terrible bloodshed. Not sure I agree with the premise, but it got me thinking about contemporary Russian or earlier Soviet attitudes to the seismic events of 1917. It's easy (particularly for students of Russian art and literature) to be misty-eyed about a revolution that forged the work of poets and artists such as Mayakovsky, Stepanova and Rodchenko in its fire; less so perhaps for those who lived with the consequences. Dmitry Furman, who died in 2011, has been described as 'a scholar ... who joined political integrity and intellectual originality in a body of work that addressed the fate of his country, and the past of the world, in ways that were equally and strikingly passionate and dispassionate'. In response to the 'what ifs', the different paths Russia could have taken in the early twentieth century, Furman wrote this: 'This was, in the end, our revolution, engendered by our culture. In countries with a cultural tradition such as that of England, the USA or the Netherlands, this kind of revolution would be essentially impossible. With us, though, powerful forces were pushing us towards it, forces linked to internal cultural factors that were specifically ours: the cultural rift between the top and bottom of society; the 'westernized' orientation of the intelligentsia and its desire ... not just to catch up with the West but surpass it and make Russia the lodestar for the whole world; the inflexibility of a political and ideological structure that made gradual, evolved development almost impossible; and the archaic mindset of the popular masses, who could only grasp revolutionary ideology in a quasi-religious form. Maybe there could have been other other ways, perhaps less bloody, perhaps more so, but to imagine that if 1917 hadn't happened Russia would have developed peacefully and quickly, and would now be some kind of USA-equivalent – it's virtually impossible.'

A hundred years ago, Russia overthrew a monarchy and started off on a path that led to 70 years of communism. Follow events here week by week through eyewitness accounts.

By Mark Sutcliffe 18 Nov, 2017

A peculiar atmosphere prevailed at the conferences of the highest administrative councils of Soviet Russia, presided over by Lenin. Despite all the efforts of an officious secretary to impart to each session the character of a cabinet meeting, we could not help feeling that here we were, attending another sitting of an underground revolutionary committee! … Many of the commissars remained seated in their topcoats or greatcoats; most of them wore the forbidding leather jackets. In the wintertime some wore felt boots and thick sweaters. They remained thus clothed throughout the meetings.
(Richard Pipes, quoting the Menshevik Simon Liberman,   A Concise History of the Russian Revolution , London 1995)

12 November

The Bolsheviki are forming councils, committees, sub-committees, courts, leagues, parties, societies; they are talented talkers and gifted orators. The masses of the people flock to their call. Already they have established the nucleus of the Proletarian Republic and drawn up their political programme; and, what is more surprising, they have successfully organised the Red Army – in great part drawn from the disloyal soldiers of the Imperial Army. One and all wage war against the ‘intelligentsia’ and the ‘bourgeoisie’ – nicknames given to the educated people and to the middle-class or ‘idle rich’. There is no doubt that Lenin and Trotsky are intent on exterminating the Russian intellectual classes.
(Florence Farmborough, Nurse at the Russian Front: A Diary 1914-18 , London 1974)

Diary entry of Louis de Robien, attaché at the French Embassy
Alexandre Benois, who is president of the Fine Arts Commission, told me that the damage done to the Winter Palace is not as bad as people thought. It is confined to the theft of a few objects in the rooms of Alexander II and Nicholas I.
(Louis de Robien, The Diary of a Diplomat in Russia 1917-1918 , London 1969)

13 November

Report in The Times headed ‘Bolshevism repudiated at Washington’
M. Bakhmetieff, the Russian Ambassador, has officially repudiated the Bolshevist regime in Petrograd. He has addressed to Mr. Lansing a long letter which explains that he will continue to carry out the duties entrusted to him at the Embassy regardless of the Bolshevists or any other temporary rule of violence in Russia … M. Bakhmetieff declares in his letter his confidence that the sound, constructive element in Russia will soon arise and sweep aside the Bolshevists or any others who, in opposition to the true spirit of the nation, seek to betray the Allies and withdraw from the war.
(From our correspondent, New York, The Times )

In a highly sensational speech, delivered before the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, Trotsky expressed the hope that General Dukhonin would act in conformity with the policy of the Government … The peace ‘decree’, Trotsky continued, marked the beginning of a new era in history. It came as a surprise to the routine-loving governing classes of Europe, who first regarded it as a mere party manifesto, not as an act of the Russian Government … The greatest hostility was exhibited on the part of England, ‘who plays a leading part at the present juncture and who has suffered least from the war, while she stands to gain most. France, who had suffered most, responded to the Russian revolution with the bourgeoisie Ministry of M. Clemenceau, which was the last effort of French Imperialism. Italy, disillusioned by her losses, welcomed it with enthusiasm. America had joined in the war, not for the sake of ideals, as President Wilson declared, but with a view to financial and industrial advantages.
(Report in The Times )

14 November

Sir George Buchanan, British Ambassador to Russia
In my opinion, the only safe course left to us is to give Russia back her word and to tell her people that, realizing how worn out they are by the war and the disorganization inseparable from a great revolution, we leave it to them to decide whether they will purchase peace on Germany’s terms or fight on with the Allies … It has always been my one aim and object to keep Russia in the war, but one cannot force an exhausted nation to fight against its will.
(Sir George Buchanan, My Mission to Russia , London 1923)

Report in The Times headed ‘Escape of Ex-Tsar’s Daughter’
American audiences are shortly to have the privilege of listening to appeals on behalf of the Russian people from a young woman who will be presented to them under the simple name of Miss Tatiana Nicolaievna Romanoff. She is understood to be the 20-year-old daughter of the deposed Tsar. On the authority of M. Ivan Narodny, of the News Bureau of the Russian Post Office in New York, the American newspapers today publish romantic accounts of the escape of the former Grand Duchess from Tobolsk. Miss Romanoff, according to these accounts, underwent a fictitious ceremony of marriage with a son of her father’s former Court Chamberlain, Count Fredericks, and thereby gained a certain measure of freedom from observation, which she utilized in order to make her escape to Kharbin for Sand Francisco. M. Narodny, who prefaces his narrative with the observation ‘these are strange times in Russia,’ says that the Tsar’s daughter when she arrives here will work for the Russian Civilian Relief Society. She will write short fairy stories, give dance performances, and desires to lecture to American women on conditions in Russia.
(From our correspondent, New York, The Times )

15 November

Diary entry of Alexander Benois, artist and critic
In my heart of hearts I am convinced that in his soul and in his being the Russian is freer than anyone. Even under the tsarist regime there was nowhere in the world with such freedom (even to the level of libertinism) of way of life, conversation, thought, as in Russia. Even our proverbial ‘right to disgrace’ is only an expression of the freedom that is within and inherent to everyone, based on racial characteristics but nurtured in the Christian idea of ‘the kingdom of God being within us’.
(Alexander Benois, Diary 1916-1918 , Moscow 2006)

16 November

Pauline Crosby, wife of American naval attaché, in a letter home
In general the news is: Petrograd is still here; a part of Moscow is no longer there; many handsome estates are no longer anywhere; the Bolsheviki are everywhere.
(Helen Rappaport, Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917 , London 2017)

From somewhere torches appeared, blazing orange in the night, a thousand times reflected in the facets of the ice, streaming smokily over the throng as it moved down the bank of the Fontanka singing, between crowds that stood in astonished silence. ‘Long live the Revolutionary Army! Long live the Red Guard! Long live the Peasants!’ So the great procession wound through the city, growing and unfurling ever new red banners lettered in gold. Two old peasants, bowed with toil, were walking hand in hand, their faces illumined with child-like bliss. ‘Well,’ said one, ‘I’d like to see them take away our land again, now!’
(John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World , New York 1919)

17 November

Diary entry of Louis de Robien, attaché at the French Embassy
Things are happening fast, and yesterday Trotsky was able to make a triumphant announcement to the Assembly of Soviets (which has been joined by the Council of Peasants, which up to now had remained with the opposition and had rejected all contact with the Bolsheviks). The announcement is to the effect that armistice negotiations have begun.
(Louis de Robien, The Diary of a Diplomat in Russia 1917-1918 , London 1969)

18 November

Diary entry of Louis de Robien, attaché at the French Embassy
The Allies here continue to give an impression of complete confusion … Meanwhile Trotsky keeps the score and no longer misses a single false move on the part of his adversaries. He has become very self-assured and has not hesitated to send a very firm note to Sir George [Buchanan] asking for two Russian anarchists who are being held in England to be released immediately … People say that the Commissars even contemplated shutting up Sir George himself as a hostage in Peter-and-Paul.
(Louis de Robien, The Diary of a Diplomat in Russia 1917-1918 , London 1969)


18 November 2017

The report by the New York correspondent of The Times of the escape of Tatiana, one of Nicholas II’s daughters, must have been one of the first accounts of the Romanov children avoiding their terrible fate at the hands of the Bolsheviks; a fate that was proved decisively through DNA tests only in the 1990s. Such romantic stories – or as we now call them, ‘fake news’ – subsequently became legion, focusing on Anastasia and Alexei in particular. This report is interesting precisely because it is so early, when the family was still alive and reasonably well in Tobolsk and yet to be moved to Ekaterinburg, where they were all murdered in July 1918. It’s also, frankly, bizarre, with mention of the Grand Duchess preparing to give dance performances to the American public. It makes one wonder what would have become of the former imperial family had they been offered asylum by George V or indeed been spirited away from the Crimean coast like many of their circle. In exile the children would no doubt have married, had children of their own – their grandchildren would be easily alive today, perhaps even back in favour with the current regime. Stranger things have happened (are happening).

By Mark Sutcliffe 11 Nov, 2017
The Winter Palace during a spectacular light show to mark the anniversary of the revolution,
as per the Gregorian calendar. 5 November 2017
By Mark Sutcliffe 05 Nov, 2017
Red peasant, soldier and working man to the cossack: 'Cossack, who are you with? Them or us?'
By Mark Sutcliffe 28 Oct, 2017
Students and soldiers firing across the Moika River at police who are resisting the revolutionaries,  24 October 1917
© IWM (Q 69411)
By Mark Sutcliffe 21 Oct, 2017
Revolutionaries remove the remaining relics of the Imperial Regime from the facade of official buildings, Petrograd
© IWM (Q 69406)
By Mark Sutcliffe 14 Oct, 2017
There entered a clean-shaven, bespectacled, grey-haired man, ‘every bit like a Lutheran minister’,
Alexandra Kollontai remembered.
By Mark Sutcliffe 06 Oct, 2017
Masses of Russian prisoners captured in the fighting near Riga, September 1917 © IWM (Q 86680)
By Mark Sutcliffe 30 Sep, 2017
Florence Farmborough at the Russian Front, 1915 (painted from a photograph)
By Mark Sutcliffe 23 Sep, 2017
The man with whom the moderates urged caution, Kerensky, remained pitifully weak, and growing weaker. He struggled, lashed out to shore up his authority. On 18 September he pronounced the dissolution of the Central Committee of the Baltic Fleet. The sailors responded simply that his order was 'considered inoperative'. The Democratic Conference, too, strained for relevance ... The proceedings were outdoing their own absurdity.
(China Miéville, October: The Story of the Russian Revolution , London 2017)

17 September

All power to the Soviets – such is the slogan of the new movement… All power to the imperialist bourgeoisie – such is the slogan of the Kerensky Government. There is no room for doubt. We have two powers before us: the power of Kerensky and his government, and the power of the Soviets and the Committees. The fight between these two powers is the characteristic feature of the present moment. Either the power of the Kerensky Government – and then the rule of the landlords and capitalists, war and chaos. Or the power of the Soviets – and then the rule of the workers and peasants, peace and the liquidation of chaos.
(J. Stalin, ‘All Power to the Soviets’,  The Russian Revolution , London 1938)

18 September

Letter from Sofia Yudina in Petrograd to her friend Nina Agafonnikova in Vyatka
I don’t know much about art, I’d love to know more. If you were here and there was no war, we’d go to the Hermitage, everywhere, and we’d learn. Arkasha would go with us the first few times and teach us how to look, how to see and find the beauty in paintings … But unfortunately, sadly, we can’t do any of this. The Hermitage is closed: it’s being evacuated and only, probably, in about four or five years will it be possible to see pictures in the Hermitage again…
(Viktor Berdinskikh,  Letters from Petrograd: 1916-1919 , St Petersburg 2016)

19 September

Report in the Times headed ‘Good work of Democratic conference’
The conference has lost much of its nervousness and seems to be finding itself. There was a good deal of wandering from the main point, which is to decide the form of government which will be in control until the meeting of the Constituent Assembly. Nor is this to be wondered at when it is considered how little experience the Russian masses have had in conducting politics. There is no doubt that the Conference is realizing the terrible situation in which the country finds itself, and is trying to the utmost to bend its energies in the direction of a solution.
(‘Coalition Probable in Russia’, The Times (from our correspondent))

20 September

Diary entry of Joshua Butler Wright, Counselor of the American Embassy, Petrograd
Yesterday’s conference was typical of the political chaos now reigning in this distracted country. First vote was for coalition, second to eliminate those implicated with Kornilov, third to eliminate Kadets, and fourth (submitted for no perceivable reason) overwhelmingly against coalition! Whereupon the somewhat dazed ‘presidium’ decided to enlarge itself and to adjourn conference until 6.00 PM today. The two outstanding facts were the extreme unpopularity of the Kadets and the quiet power of the Maximalist [Bolshevik] faction. I forgot to say yesterday that a charming piece of German propaganda is to have a cartoon and the Russian words ‘Why fight for capitalistic England’ on every sheet of toilet paper in the Russian latrines at the front.
( Witness to Revolution: The Russian Revolution Diary and Letters of J. Butler Wright , London 2002)

21 September

Sir George Buchanan, British Ambassador to Russia
The Bolsheviks, who form a compact minority, have alone a definite political programme. They are more active and better organized than any other group, and until they and the ideas which they represent are finally squashed, the country will remain a prey to anarchy and disorder ... If the Government are not strong enough to put down the Bolsheviks by force, at the risk of breaking altogether with the Soviet, the only alternative will be a Bolshevik Government.
(Sir George Buchanan, My Mission to Russia , London 1923)

22 September

Report in The Times
Russia is a woman labouring in childbirth, and this is the moment chosen by Germany to strike her down. Whatever may be the strict rights of the case, the spirit of history will never forgive her. The liberty which has been painfully born in Russia will rise to vindicate her in the coming generation, and will become the most implacable foe of a future Germany.
(‘Reprisals’, The Times)

23 September

Diary entry of Louis de Robien, attaché at the French Embassy
In the provinces, the hostility of the peasants towards the workers is increasing and the moujiks are refusing to sell their products to feed the workers, whom they accuse of having caused the economic crisis through their idleness. The workers are doing less and less work because it does not provide them with a living, and because on their part they do not want to do anything for the peasants who refuse to supply them. It is a vicious circle which makes the economic situation more serious every day. The result is armed conflict, pogroms, and disorders of every kind.
(Louis de Robien, The Diary of a Diplomat in Russia 1917-1918 , London 1969)



23 September 2017

Party conference season is upon us and excitement is rising to an almost noticeable level. Actually, that's not entirely fair. There is a good deal of anticipation this year, thanks to Corbyn fever and Maybot uncertainty, with Brexit looming large over everything. The stakes are higher than normal, just as they were for the All-Russian Democratic Conference in Petrograd a hundred years earlier. (Corbyn is no Stalin, but a small amendment to the 17 September quotation has a certain resonance: Either the power of the May Government – and then the rule of the landlords and capitalists, war and chaos. Or the power of the Labour left – and then the rule of the workers and peasants, peace and the liquidation of chaos. ) Nobody really suspected that a month after this conference the country would be in greater turmoil than ever before (though the British ambassador, Buchanan, seems to make a good stab at such a prediction, in a book published six years later). Descriptions of the conference reveal all factions to be in various degrees of confusion and internal strife. Perhaps if its representatives had talked about transitional arrangements that avoided a cliff-edge scenario, leading to a new promised land of fairness and prosperity for all, things might have been different... Soft, not hard, revolution then.

By Mark Sutcliffe 16 Sep, 2017
A half-length portrait of a young female Russian soldier serving with the Russian Women's 'Battalion of Death', 1917. The Battalion was formed by the Provisional Government in Petrograd after the February Revolution. The soldier is carrying a shortened Mosin-Nagant rifle, with bayonet fixed. Her head has been completely shaved (© IWM (Q 106251)
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