SOVIET RUSSIA. Brief history of the USSR
In a situation of sharply aggravated food crisis, the February events of 1917 took place. On February 22, 1917, "Putilovsky plant in Petrograd was closed" until a special permit. The workers appealed for support to the entire proletariat of the capital. By that time, the largest strike in the war years had taken place in Petrograd. On January 9, 1917, 145 thousand workers took part in it. The government took measures to prevent a revolution.
At the beginning of February 1917, the Petrograd Military District was removed from the command of the Northern Front and transferred to the military minister M. A. Belyaev. The district commander, General S. S. Khabalov, received emergency powers to quell possible unrest.
On February 23, 1917, events spontaneously began in Petrograd, which only a few days later ended with the overthrow of the monarchy. Thus, the International Day of Workers (March 8 in the new style) became the first day of the revolution. Workers ’rallies that began at the textile factories of the Vyborg side turned into mass demonstrations. From the workers' outskirts: columns of demonstrators headed towards the city center.
The behavior of the soldiers and the Cossacks tuned workers nz optimistic mood. Petrograd, meanwhile, took the form of a military camp. On fire-fighting cabinets and on some houses machine guns were installed. The government decided to give battle, arming the police and using the army. On February 25, soldiers began to use weapons at the command of their officers. General Khabalov received the king’s order for an immediate cessation of unrest in the capital. To keep the soldiers from communicating with the rebels, the command of some units did not give them overcoats and shoes.
On February 26, the streets of Petrograd were stained with blood — there was a mass execution of the insurgent workers. The report of the Security Department noted that on this day "the firing of live ammunition was carried out at the corner of Nevsky Prospect and Vladimir Avenue", as well as "at the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and Sadovaya Street, where the crowd reached about 5,000 people." On Znamenskaya Square, several dozens and as many wounded were picked up by police officers. The shooting of demonstrators is also taking place at the corner of 1st Rozhdestvenskaya Street and Suvorovsky Avenue, in other parts of the city. These events were a turning point in the revolution.
On February 27, the troops began to go over to the side of the rebels - the shooting had an effect that the authorities did not expect. The Petrograd garrison, which at that time numbered 180 thousand people, and along with the troops of the nearest suburbs 300 thousand people, took the side of the people.
On February 27, 1917, Nicholas II wrote down in his diary: "Riots began a few days ago in Petrograd; unfortunately, troops began to take part in them. The disgusting feeling of being so far away and receiving fragmentary bad news."
On the night of March 2, the former king wrote down in his diary bitter words: "Around treason, and labor, and deceit." From the evening of March 3 until the morning of March 8, Nikolai was at Bet. Leaving, he said goodbye to its inhabitants. According to the testimony of General N. Tikhmenev, the head of the Military Communications of the theater of military operations, the disengagement procedure turned out to be very difficult for many: "convulsive, intercepted sobs did not subside ... The officers of the St. George battalion are people, for the most part several times wounded - they didn’t stand it: two of them fainted. At the other end of the hall one of the convoy soldiers collapsed. "
At the same time, only 2 people from the high command came to the side of the autocrat these days — the commander of the 3rd cavalry corps, General F. A. Keller, and the commander of the Guards Cavalry Corps, Khan-Hussein Nakhichevansky.
Leonid Trotsky was not very far from the truth when he wrote later in his History of the Russian Revolution that "there was no one among the commanding officers who would stand up for their king. Everyone was in a hurry to transfer to the revolution ship in a firm calculation to find comfortable cabins. Generals and admirals removed royal monograms and put on red bows ... Civilian dignitaries and by the position were not obliged to show more courage than the military. Each escaped as he could. "
History of the Soviet Union and Russia in the 20th Century