7 November 1917: The Russian Winter Palace falls

On this day in 1917, the seat of government – the Winter Palace in St Petersburg – fell to the Bolsheviks, cementing communist rule in Russia.

In March 1917, riots and rebellions forced Nicholas II to abdicate as Tsar of Russia. Power passed to an unruly ruling council that included factions ranging from aristocrats and members of the military to socialists.

With people dissatisfied with the council's slow reforms and the decision to continue World War I, demonstrations and protests continued to increase. By July, several members had left the coalition and the radical faction was in control, with Alexander Kerensky as prime minister.

Kerensky pursued a strategy of allying himself with the Bolsheviks and arming their supporters, while isolating remaining moderates and conservatives. This proved to be a huge miscalculation. Instead of working with him, the Bolsheviks simply used their growing influence to further undermine his government.

With an election weeks away, the Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin, ordered his forces to seize control. By 6 November, they were in control of most of the then-capital Petrograd (St Petersburg), leaving the Winter Palace, which was the seat of government, ripe for the taking.

Reinforced by sailors from the naval cruiser Aurora and heavy artillery, Lenin issued an order for the final attack.

The Winter Palace was defended by only a few troops and the result was inevitable: it fell in the early hours of the following day. Kerensky and other leaders escaped into exile, and Lenin took over the machinery of government, though not all cities would come under Soviet control until the next year.

Despite substantial popular resistance to their rule in the first few years, the communists would not relinquish power until 1991.

Recommended

Changpeng Zhao: Binance founder undaunted by the crypto winter
Bitcoin & crypto

Changpeng Zhao: Binance founder undaunted by the crypto winter

Changpeng Zhao, the founder of controversial cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has been severely battered by carnage in the sector. But the future is b…
3 Jul 2022
Ray Dalio’s shrewd $10bn bet on the collapse of European stocks
European stockmarkets

Ray Dalio’s shrewd $10bn bet on the collapse of European stocks

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater hedge fund is putting its money on a collapse in European stocks. It’s likely to pay off, says Matthew Lynn.
3 Jul 2022
Just how powerful is artificial intelligence becoming?
Tech stocks

Just how powerful is artificial intelligence becoming?

An uncannily human response from an artificial intelligence program sparked a minor panic last month. But just how powerful are machines getting – and…
2 Jul 2022
Persimmon yields 12.3%, but can you trust the company to deliver?
Share tips

Persimmon yields 12.3%, but can you trust the company to deliver?

With a dividend yield of 12.3%, Persimmon looks like a highly attractive prospect for income investors. But that sort of yield can also indicate compa…
1 Jul 2022

Most Popular

Five dividend stocks to beat inflation
Share tips

Five dividend stocks to beat inflation

During periods of high inflation, dividend stocks tend to do better than the wider market. Here, Rupert Hargreaves pick five dividend stocks for incom…
30 Jun 2022
Don’t try to time the bottom – start buying good companies now
Investment strategy

Don’t try to time the bottom – start buying good companies now

Markets are having a rough time, so you may be tempted to wait to try to call the bottom and pick up some bargains. But that would be a mistake, says …
1 Jul 2022
The ten highest dividend yields on Aim
Income investing

The ten highest dividend yields on Aim

Rupert Hargreaves picks the highest-paying dividend stocks on Aim, London’s junior market for small and medium-sized growth companies.
29 Jun 2022