Chapter six: February to October

Chapter Six: February to October

FEBRUARY AND AFTER

Although the collapse of the autocracy had been sudden, it had not really come as a surprise, even to the exiles in the wilds of Turukhansk. For years we Bolsheviks had been working for the revolution, had accepted prison and exile, forced labour and solitary confinement for the sake of the coming victory. Hundreds of Bolsheviks, the flower of the Party, had laid down their lives for the cause. Though we could not predict when the revolution would come, we lived in expectation, feeling it drawing closer.

We knew that revolution was inevitable, but what exactly had happened in Russia and which classes, which parties were in power we in our Turukhansk exile did not know.

Immediately after Sverdlov's departure we formed a committee, headed by Maslennikov and including Bograd, myself and some others whose names I have forgotten, to take over Monastyrskoye. We began our management of Turukhansk by removing Kibirov, disbanding the guards, impounding police records and distributing the monastery lands gratis to the peasants.

Meanwhile Sverdlov's sledge was racing along the ice-bound expanses of the Yenisei. He stopped only to change horses, look at the latest newspapers and catch up on recent events; he slept in the sledge. The journey became hazardous towards the end, as cracks began to appear in the ice, but once he had reached Yeniseisk safely, the road to Krasnoyarsk, to Russia, was open.

The closer he got to Krasnoyarsk, the more details of the unique and complex situation became available. He saw with increasing clarity that what was happening was historically unprecedented and could not be reduced to any preconceived set of ideas.

But Lenin showed, in his 'Letters from Afar' 1, one of which was published in Pravda, that he had already completely grasped recent developments, complex and unique as they were. He maintained that the continuing war was still imperialist and gave an exhaustive description of the Provisional Government.

In the famous April Theses, one of his first speeches on his return to Petrograd 2 on the night of 3 April, Lenin asserted that the bourgeoisdemocratic revolution had run its course and that the next major step would be the transition to the socialist revolution. A republican government of Soviets would then be formed, under which power would pass to the proletariat and the poorest peasants. The April Theses provided the Party with a unified set of tactics, a programme of action for the coming battle for socialism.

But neither Sverdlov nor the Bolsheviks who met him in Krasnoyarsk knew any of this, although those who strictly adhered to the Pravda line, at first a minority in Krasnoyarsk, held the most clearsighted, the most Leninist, views. Sverdlov joined this group.

When he spoke to the ''Pravda group' shortly after his arrival, he made it clear from the outset that anything he said could represent only his personal attitude, although he knew that they would look to him, as a member of the Central Committee, for their orders. He did not know the intentions of the CC and did not feel justified in speaking in its name.

No politically conscious worker, he continued, should give any support to the bourgeois-imperialist Provisional Government, since no amount of pressure or persuasion would ever alter its nature. Though power might have changed hands, the war in Europe was still imperialist, and all the talk of 'defending the revolution' was nothing more than an attempt to deceive the people.

He advised them to concentrate on agitation, kindling the Bolshevik spirit among the workers and soldiers and rallying them round the Party. He saw the Krasnoyarsk railway depot with its five thousand workers and the numerous military units billeted on the town as vital areas in which the conciliators and unifiers must be defeated.

Sverdlov then left Krasnoyarsk for Petrograd, where representatives of the local Soviets of the larger towns were meeting for the first time, on the initiative of the Petrograd Soviet Executive Committee. The Central Committee Bureau had arranged for an All-Russia Conference of Party Workers to take place simultaneously. Sverdlov attended both, not to speak but to listen carefully to those of his comrades who had been in Petrograd long enough to be more fully in touch than he was.

Both conferences lasted from 29 March to 3 April. Sverdlov went to the Urals next, not, of course, knowing that at that very time Lenin was crossing the border and within a day would be at the Finland Railway Station in Petrograd, surrounded by thousands of workers who had gone to greet their leader on his return from so many years of exile.

The Ural proletariat gave a delighted welcome to `their' Andrei. He went out to the factories straightaway and, no longer hampered by having to keep under cover, spoke at a different place every day.

Following the line that had been mapped out in Petrograd, he hastened to muster the Bolshevik forces and prepare the ground for the revival of the regional organisation and the convocation of a local conference. He became the centre of a group of proven and militant Bolsheviks, many of whom had been through the hard school of prison and exile.

The Free Ural Regional Party Conference met on 14 and 15 April under Sverdlov's supervision. It had the extra title `free' because it was the first of its kind to be held openly in the area.

As soon as the delegates began to arrive, Sverdlov went to visit them in their lodgings, talking to them and showing tremendous interest in their experiences during the years of reaction, in prison and exile, and in their present work. His belief that the Ural workers were on the right path, behind Lenin and the Central Committee, grew stronger every day.

The Conference adopted an essentially Bolshevik platform. Sverdlov spoke on the International, the agrarian question and the Party structure, and took part in debates on other issues. Like many leading Party members in those days, he was not able to determine current Party tactics as thoroughly as he would have liked. His views were neither totally clear nor completely accurate, and it was hard for him to formulate the concept of Soviets as a governmental form through which the dictatorship of the proletariat would operate. However, with regard to the Provisional Government, the war, unification with the Mensheviks (which was being seriously discussed in the Urals and elsewhere), and other matters, his approach was close to Lenin's own.

The Conference elected a five-man regional Party committee and authorised the local Party groups to elect nine delegates to the Seventh All-Russia Conference of the RSDLP(B). Sverdlov was unanimously chosen as a committee member and a conference delegate.

The day after the Ural Conference closed, Sverdlov and the other delegates set out. He did not then know that he would never see his beloved Urals again.

They arrived in Petrograd a few days before the April Conference began, which allowed Sverdlov to take part in the preliminaries. Two days before the official opening his most ardent, most cherished desire was finally realised–he met Lenin. They were not to part company again until Sverdlov's death; the intimacy that was born in April 1917 was to influence Sverdlov's future decisively.

Sverdlov was acquainted with most of the delegates, the finest members of the Party; he had either worked with them in the underground or met them in prison or exile.

This Conference had a tremendous influence on the history of the Party, on the coming proletarian revolution. It wholeheartedly adopted Lenin's plan for the development of the revolution as given in The April Theses. The transition from the bourgeois-democratic to the socialist revolution, and the pressing need to concentrate power in the hands of the Soviets were to define the Party's tactics henceforth. The platforms of Kamenev, Rykov, Pyatakov and other of Lenin's opponents were defeated.

Indeed, Lenin was the major influence at the Conference; he spoke four times, took part in almost every debate and tabled most of the motions that were carried.

The Conference was also useful in that it strengthened the Party's structure and reorganised the Central Committee. Operating in clandestine conditions which put normal elections out of the question, the CC had often been forced to make up its numbers by cooption since the Prague Party Conference of 1912. By the time of the April Conference the CC and its Bureau had over 30 members, most of whom had not been elected. The new CC elected at the Conference had nine members, including Stalin, Milyutin, Nogin and Sverdlov, and was chaired by Lenin.

The CC was then able to work in a more systematic way; both its organisational role, which was to grow as the revolution advanced, and its contact with the local groups were enhanced. At the close of the April Conference the CC appointed Sverdlov head of its Secretariat, putting him in overall control of the CC's organisational functions.

THE SECRETARIAT

In those days the most fundamental and pressing issues were discussed by the Central Committee at its weekly meetings, which, in the few months following the February Revolution, were held in Kshesinskaya's palace or in the Pravda office by the Moika Canal. Later it met in the homes of particularly trustworthy Party members or accepted 82 the hospitality of local Party groups. It had no premises of its own, except for the rooms occupied by the Secretariat.

The Party had only just emerged from the underground and begun to function on a legal basis. The CC members did not, indeed could not, have specific duties; for the most part their decisions were reached jointly, under Lenin's guidance, while the dozens, or rather hundreds, of organisational problems that arose every day devolved upon each individual member, but primarily upon Sverdlov, as head of the Secretariat.

Just before and immediately after the October Revolution the position of Secretary of the Central Committee, as we understand it today, as the supervisor of all Party functions, did not exist. The Secretariat member who was primarily concerned with organising the Party's work, with current practical problems, with drawing up the minutes of Central Committee meetings, became known as the Secretary. This position was held by Sverdlov from the April Conference until his death.

In 1917 and 1918 the five- or six-man Secretariat was the only specialised body within the Central Committee; there were no other departments or sections. It worked from nine or ten in the morning until ten at night or even later. Sverdlov was there every day from the morning until four or five o'clock. His evenings were spent at meetings. His duties included receiving Party members from the provinces and other visitors, scanning the incoming mail, editing or writing the more crucial documents, supervising the work of individual Secretariat members and enlisting help from the Petrograd committee and other local groups when necessary. He took a determining interest in every facet of the Secretariat's work, whatever its importance.

Af four o'clock the large samovar was brought in and everyone would contribute food that they had brought from home. During the lively conversation around the tea-table Sverdlov would comment on noteworthy political events and pass on Lenin's most recent instructions. He wanted to ensure that each of his colleagues had a clear picture of his current responsibilities, so as to discharge them as effectively as possible.

His colleagues noted the speed with which Sverdlov made decisions, never postponing any issue that came within the Secretariat's competence. The other secretaries based their replies to letters from provincial groups on the brief notes that Sverdlov had made in the margins while reading them.

The volume of correspondence addressed to the Central Committee in those turbulent times was immense: reports from regional and provincial groups on their fulfilment of CC directives and on their 83 current activities; statements from urban and military Party groups; the resolutions of meetings and conferences; requests for directions, advice or reading matter; and letters from workers, soldiers and peasants. Every one of these hundreds of documents that poured into the Secretariat offices reflected the ferment of life within the Party, and on almost every one we find Sverdlov's comments and instructions. Of the hundreds of letters sent out to groups and individuals, he wrote dozens himself. It seems almost incredible that Sverdlov and his small group could cope with a work-load of such size and scope.

The revolution had released large numbers of Party members from prison, exile or forced labour, or had allowed them to return from long periods of emigration. Most of them were experienced men, schooled in underground activity. They arrived in Petrograd in force every day and went straight to the Secretariat, where Sverdlov saw almost all of them. They immediately received their assignments to posts all over the country.

The Petrograd factories were a constant source of new Party personnel. For example, when the Ekaterinoslav group requested additional help, Sverdlov replied: We are so shorthanded here that we could not possibly begin to satisfy all the demands made on us. But some Petrograd factories will soon be transferred to your area. You will find your reinforcements there.'

The Central Committee had given Sverdlov other weighty responsibilities besides the Secretariat, so numerous that it is possible to mention only a few.

Shortly after the February Revolution the Petrograd workers had on their own initiative established factory committees, which played a large role in unifying and organising the working people. These bodies were of primary importance to Lenin; he directed Sverdlov to help them strengthen their structure and win them over to the Bolshevik side.

Whereas the trade unions and factory committees helped consolidate the working class, the Bolshevik Military Organisation played a similar role in consolidating the soldiers and rallying them to the Bolshevik cause. It also sent thousands of agitators from the armed forces to the Russian villages, carrying the Bolshevik message to the peasants and urging them to rise against the landlords and capitalists.

Lenin constantly directed the Organisation: its leaders often consulted him; he spoke at the All-Russia Conference of Front and Rear Military Organisations of the RSDLP(B), which met in Petrograd in the latter half of June.

After events in July forced Lenin to go into hiding, he continued to direct the Organisation through Sverdlov. As Nikolai Podvoisky, 84 the Organisation leader pointed out: 'Lenin took a lively interest in our work. He kept abreast of it and of all Party activities thanks to messages from Sverdlov. When he returned to Petrograd in early October 1917 to supervise preparations for the armed uprising, Lenin called our leaders together to find out how far they had got in priming the masses for the rising.'

Two months previously the Central Committee had directed Sverdlov and Dzerzhinsky to oversee the Military Organisation.

THE JULY DAYS

Though three months had passed since the overthrow of the autocracy, nothing had changed: the factories still belonged to the capitalists and the land to the landlords; the devastating war continued and escalated. The conviction that the Provisional Government was a bourgeois, counter-revolutionary body grew among the people, primarily among the workers and soldiers of Petrograd. They were seized by a rebellious mood and on 18 June they took to the street. Over 500, 000 marched in that demonstration, carrying banners bearing the Bolshevik slogans 'Down with the Minister-Capitalists' and 'All Power to the Soviets'. A few groups of intelligentsia, pathetic in a massive jostling flood of demonstrators who were fired by one desire and one emotion, tried in vain to raise their Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik placards.

On that same day an all-out offensive against the German forces had been ordered by the Provisional Government 3. The motivation was clear: if the move succeeded, which no one thought it would, this would strengthen the Government's position; if it failed, the Bolsheviks could be blamed. In either case the Bolshevik cause would suffer.

The offensive was a terrible failure, costing tens of thousands of lives and infuriating the workers. The atmosphere in Petrograd grew more strained by the minute.

The CC and the Petrograd Committee did their best to hold back the soldiers and workers for they knew that the vast bulk of the people did not have the political maturity to undertake any decisive action or even to support a Petrograd rising, while the growing counterrevolutionary forces were looking for an excuse to fall on the revolutionary proletariat. Such was the situation as Sverdlov described it to me when I arrived in Petrograd in early July. At that time he was living in a flat recently vacated by an engineer whom he had known in the Urals.

Then serious disturbances began on the Vyborg side. The 1st Machine-Gun Regiment had decided to move and sent representatives to the neighbouring factories and military units, asking for support. They could be out on the streets in no time. The Petrograd Party Conference cut short its debates and the delegates went out among the people.

The Central Committee, the Petrograd Committee and the Military Organisation did everything within their power to prevent the rising; Sverdlov, Podvoisky, Nevsky and Slutsky made dozens of speeches in those few hours, trying to restore calm and restraint, but to no avail. The wall was breached and the insurgent forces were as ungovernable as the elements themselves, so, during the night of 3 July, the CC, the Petrograd Committee, the Conference delegates and the Military Organisation leadership decided to direct the rising. Since it could not be averted, they wanted to ensure that it was peaceful and organised.

Meanwhile the Cossack regiments, artillery batteries and armoured divisions that had been withdrawn from the front were on their way back to Petrograd and by 4 July the cadets 4 and the dregs of the officer corps were up on the roofs, firing on unarmed demonstrators. In the main streets dozens fell victim to their treachery.

But the Kronstadt sailors and the soldiers and workers of Petrograd held back in the face of this provocation, defending themselves staunchly but refusing to attack and leaving government buildings and officials unscathed. By a tremendous effort the Bolsheviks managed to keep the people from doing anything that would lead to their own and the Party's downfall. Late in the evening of the same day the Central Committee decided to put an end to the demonstration, feeling that it had expressed the people's revolutionary will clearly enough.

Sverdlov did not come home at all on 4 July; I opened the door on hearing the agreed signal very early the next morning. He had hardly got inside before he was telling me that there had been a cadet attack on the Pravda office. They had narrowly missed capturing Lenin, who had left only a short time before. 'We can't put anything past those scum now. They could be here before we know it,' Sverdlov said, looking meaningfully towards the other side of the street. 'I have to warn Lenin right now, get him away from here and then think what to do. I've just come to get my waterproof. He'll need it.'

He ran off, carrying the coat, to Lenin's flat across the street. His haste proved to be well-timed.

He took Lenin to a comrade's flat in the Petrograd district until a more permanent refuge could be found, as he told me when he dropped in for a moment that evening to return the coat.

Very shortly afterwards a lorry roared into the street, stopped near Lenin's house and peppered the pavement with soldiers and cadets. Ignoring all the assurances that Lenin was not there, they searched the cupboards, beds, baskets, trunks... The counter-revolutionary forces were beside themselves with rage: on 7 July the Provisional Government issued a warrant for Lenin's arrest but, no matter how hard they tried to find him and settle accounts, they were powerless against the Party's determination to keep its leader safe.

I hardly ever saw Sverdlov now; he was at home for only an hour or two at a time–obviously, to stay in a flat which was registered in his name would be inviting arrest. One day at dawn he took a few of his things and left, not even waking the children to say goodbye. At the end of July I and the children moved to furnished rooms on Vassilyevsky Island.

Sverdlov visited us on occasions, always briefly and unexpectedly. He moved in more or less permanently at the end of August, when the ardour of the government security services had abated a little, and even then we almost never saw each other at home. In the middle of July the Central Committee had put me in charge of their publishing house Priboi (The Surf), evidently believing that I had learnt something from my years in book shops and depositories. This work brought me into close contact with the Central Committee Secretariat and from August we shared the same premises.

THE RISING DRAWS NEAR

In his secret hiding place in Razliv, near Sestroretsk, Lenin had thoroughly analysed recent events and was calling on the Party to ready iself for an armed rising. Liaison between Lenin and the Party was maintained by Sverdlov; he considered it his most vital task. We generally had no secrets from each other but this link was so clandestine that I only knew it existed; Sverdlov told me no more.

Although the counter-revolution had complicated our work, the bourgeoisie was unable to crush the Party or drive it underground. Our leader was still in control of Party affairs through the Central Committee and, only two and a half weeks after the closure of Pravda, the Military Organisation, with the cooperation of the CC, produced a temporary replacement, Rabochy i soldat (The Worker and the Soldier). Three weeks after that, in mid-August, Pravda, our major Party organ, reappeared as Proletary; Sverdlov had done a lot to help bring that about.

The Sixth Party Congress opened on 26 July. Sverdlov had spoken about it to the Second Petrograd Party Conference early in the month and the Central Committee had formed a special bureau to make preliminary arrangements, a task which the events of July had made considerably more difficult–as the Congress would have to be a partially clandestine operation. But the bureau did all it could to meet the schedule. Sverdlov took on numerous responsibilities, including choosing the meeting hall, preparing the agenda and arranging board and lodging for the delegates.

Lenin should have been the principal speaker, but, as it was too risky for him to participate personally, the Central Committee instructed Stalin to deliver the CC political report and to speak on the political situation in his stead. Sverdlov gave the CC report on current Party activities. These were the central issues considered at the Congress.

Though Lenin was absent, every delegate continually sensed his presence; the hall rose, applauding wildly, when the decision to elect him Honorary Chairman was announced. Sverdlov, Olminsky, Lomov, Yurenev and Stalin were unanimously elected to the Presidium.

This Congress showed the extent to which the Party had taken a militant line, following Lenin's course towards an armed uprising. It was clear that this was the only way that power could pass to the proletariat and the impoverished peasantry.

The Congress was well under way when the bourgeois press began to raise an incredible uproar. On 28 July a Provisional Government decree was issued outlawing all congresses and conferences. A raid seemed inevitable.

Sverdlov suggested that an extraordinary closed session be held to elect a new Central Committee as a matter of urgency. No minutes were taken and the election results were not publicised. Sverdlov noted them down in code and did not announce them until the Central Committee Plenary Session on 4 August.

If the bourgeoisie had counted on quelling the revolution during the July days', they had miscalculated badly. Tension was mounting daily, the country was in growing disarray, bread was in short supply, the June offensive had been a terrible fiasco–and all this served to open the eyes of the people, to strengthen the position of the Bolsheviks.

At the end of August, Kornilov, a general in the tsarist army, attempted a counter-revolutionary coup. Although acting on the instance of Russian and foreign capitalists, he only succeeded in harming the bourgeois cause.

As his troops advanced on Petrograd they were met by detachments of workers, batallions and regiments of revolutionary soldiers, and groups of sailors. Hundreds of Bolsheviks agitators–workers and soldiers–infiltrated his ranks, showing the counter-revolutionary intrigue in its true colours. The advancing forces faltered, hesitated and halted, and the Bolsheviks gained immensely from Kornilov's failure.

On 31 August the Petrograd Soviet adopted the Bolshevik motion 'On Power'. The Soviet's Presidium, which was predominantly made up of Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, was forced to step down; this ultimately ensured a Bolshevik majority on the Presidium, and they later took over the Soviets in Moscow and elsewhere.

Not long after this Sverdlov and the other Central Committee members in the Petrograd Soviet transferred to the former Smolny Institute, along with the rest of the Bolshevik faction. Sverdlov began to spend most of his time there, visiting the Secretariat offices more rarely. At that time we on the staff of Priboi were sharing 19 Furshtadtskaya street with the Secretariat, having moved there not long before the Kornilov mutiny.

Meanwhile the tension continued to mount. Now that the Soviets were in Bolshevik hands, the question of taking power came to the fore. The rising was imminent.

Lenin left Razliv for Finland at the beginning of August; at the end of the month he moved to Helsingfors and the middle of September found him in Vyborg, coming ever closer to the centre of events.

In the first half of September some of his letters were delivered to the Central Committee by his sister, Maria. A meeting was held on 15 September to discuss his insistence that we ready ourselves in earnest for the rising.

Sverdlov had an unshakable belief that the rising would succeed, that Lenin's arguments were correct beyond question; this belief was founded on his knowledge of the situation, on his close ties with the Party nucleus and with large numbers of workers, on his unlimited faith in the revolutionary zeal and the strength of the Russian proletariat. He had gone out among the Petrograd workers, soldiers and sailors, had attended their meetings and talked to them; he knew their mood. And thanks to his daily contact with Party members from local groups, with representatives of the Bolshevik factions in Soviets throughout the country, with, the ordinary people he knew the mood of the provinces too.

From the end of September communications between Lenin and Sverdlov became very lively indeed. Hardly a day went by without news from Vyborg–letters, articles for publication, assessments of recent events, something that he had said or done–and I heard it all from Sverdlov.

And then he came home from Smolny late one evening in early October and announced that Lenin was back in Petrograd. Everything's all right now,' he said.

Lenin was back. He immediately made his presence felt, especially in the Central Committee; Sverdlov saw a great deal of him. On 10 October he participated for the first time in a meeting of the Central Committee that had been elected at the Sixth Congress. Sverdlov opened the session and also chaired it. He gave a short address, outlining the state of affairs on the Roumanian front, in the north, and around Minsk, and emphasised that counter-revolution was gathering force. Lenin then spoke on the current situation–the most vital item on the agenda–and again insisted that a rising was not only essential but inevitable. His arguments were compelling.

Six days later the Central Committee met again. This was a secret session, at which the strictest possible security was observed, for it also involved representatives of the Petrograd Soviet Executive Commission, the Military Organisation, the Bolshevik faction in the Petrograd Soviet, the trade unions and the factory committees. Sverdlov was Chairman.

Several of those present had not met Lenin since his return to Petrograd, and many had not expected to see him at this meeting. He began the proceedings with a speech about the CC decision taken on 10 October to organise an armed rising, and hammered home how necessary and inevitable this rising was.

A disorderly and passionate discussion followed, in which Lenin spoke three times, firmly supported by all the genuine Bolsheviks present. His opponents on the issue of the uprising were routed and the motion was carried by an overwhelming majority.

The Central Committee at its meeting on 10 October had agreed to lead up to the rising under cover of defending Petrograd against counter-revolutionaries. This made it possible to create a perfectly legal body, subordinate to the Petrograd Soviet, which could use its authority to make above-board military preparations.

At the end of the session, when all but the Central Committee had left, a Military-Revolutionary Centre, comprising Sverdlov, Stalin, Bubnov, Uritsky and Dzerzhinsky, was elected to lead the rising, and head the Military-Revolutionary Committee.

I heard about all this from Sverdlov on the same day. As he was talking he pulled some papers from his pocket. I can see them now: sheets of squared paper that could have been taken from a school exercise book. They were covered top to bottom in Lenin's hand. The upper corner of one sheet was torn.

'Take these,' Sverdlov said. `They're Lenin's letters. Put them somewhere really safe. Not a word to anybody for the time being. They're vitally important; we must preserve them at all costs.'

I did as I was told and years later, when Sverdlov was no longer with us, they were handed to the Central Committee.

Preparations for the rising proceeded apace. Smolny seethed with activity, issuing instructions and orders of all kinds, and receiving an endless stream of workers, soldiers and sailors that poured into the wide corridors and spacious rooms of the huge building where young ladies of gentle birth had once studied.

The Provisional Government was in a fever of preparation too, rallying its forces to strike the first blow, to enfeeble the revolution by destroying its leadership, the Party. Troops were recalled from the front and patrolled the streets in strength.

But the days of the bourgeoisie's ascendancy were numbered. The working-class districts of Petrograd were bristling with bayonets; every factory had become a revolutionary stronghold. The workers formed into military detachments under Bolshevik supervision; the Petrograd garrison was in the hands of revolutionaries who were under arms; the peerless men of Kronstadt and Helsingfors were ready for action; aboard the battleships of the Baltic fleet the sailors, prompted by the Party, were stoking the engines. Throughout the land the people were rising, steeling themselves for the conflict that would decide all.

  • 1. The Letters from Afar' are a collection of five letters written by Lenin in Switzerland after he had received news of the bourgeois-democratic revolution of_February 1417 in Russia.– Ed.
  • 2. On 18 August 1914 (New Style) St. Petersburg was renamed Petrograd.–Tr.
  • 3. The Provisional Government, which held power in Russia after the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917, functioned from 15 March to 7 November 1917. It was a tool of the imperialist bourgeoisie and the landlords. The Constitutional Democrats, the ruling party after the February Revolution, were by far the most influential group within the Provisional Government, determining its composition and political stance.– Ed.
  • 4. The cadets were students of the military college which trained future members of the officer corps.– Ed.