Events, which took place in Russia in 1917 largely determined the further course of world history in the 20th century. However, there is still no consensus among scholars and society at large as to what exactly happened in Russia. Contemporaries have variously defined the fall of the Russian monarchy in March of 1917 as the Great Russian (Russkaia) or Russian (Rossiiskaia) Revolution. The overthrow of the Provisional Government in October of 1917 was labelled as the Great Revolt, the October Revolution or the Proletarian Revolution. Key canonical definitions were developed by the Soviet historiographers: the February Revolution was labelled as “Bourgeois Democratic,” while the October takeover as the Great October Socialist Revolution. A novel concept emerged in Russia in the 2010s and was subsequently presented as a new educational standard; in their entirety, the events of 1917 were once again dubbed as the Great Russian (Russkaia) or Great Russian (Rossiiskaia) Revolution. Ultimately, in 2017, the Russian Federation is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Revolution of 1917 in Russia.
The reasons and motifs, the principal forces and actors of the events of 1917 (the main ones being the fall of the Russian monarchy and the formation of the Provisional Government in February–March; the April, June and July crises; General Kornilov’s attempted military coup d'état in August, the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the suppression of the armed resistance of the opponents to the Bolsheviks in October, dispersal of the Constituent Assembly by Lenin in January 1918) are debated to this day.
Developed by specialists from the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library (St. Petersburg, Russia) in cooperation with Experimental Humanities and Eurasian Studies at Bard College, the current digital exhibition is a part of a larger integrated project. This English-language version of the project traces two key events of the Revolution of 1917 in Russia—the fall of the monarchy in February and the overthrow of the Provisional Government by the Bolsheviks in October. These events are presented principally through documents, recollections, and eye-witness accounts of their direct participants without their further interpretations. These sources are, of course, subjective due to their authors’ varying political preferences, the amount of information they possessed at the time, and the time and place of writing. Supplemented by the information derived from the period’s official documents and newspapers, in aggregate, they allow the viewer to construct his or her own understanding of what happened in Petrograd in 1917. It was here, in Russia’s capital city, that all the key revolutionary events took place. The streets, squares, embankments, bridges, and buildings, where these events unfolded are standing to this day. Many of them have been renamed and modified, but the very space of the city has been preserved, while the sites, which are no longer there, can be seen in documentary photographs. The revolutionary events are presented here on a 1917 map of Petrograd in chronological order, one day a time, from early morning to late at night. At the same time, the chronology of events is constructed on the basis of the information revealed by the sources themselves.