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The February Revolution: the end of the Russian Empire

March 15, 15:05 UTC+3
100 years ago, following the events in Saint Petersburg in March 1917, the Romanov dynasty was brought to an end
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February Revolution in Russia centered on Petrograd (now known as St. Petersburg), then the Russian capital, arguably beginning on March 8 (February 23 in the Julian calendar). Photo: Soldiers riding down a street in Petrograd during the outbreak of the 1917 revolution
February Revolution in Russia centered on Petrograd (now known as St. Petersburg), then the Russian capital, arguably beginning on March 8 (February 23 in the Julian calendar). Photo: Soldiers riding down a street in Petrograd during the outbreak of the 1917 revolution
February Revolution in Russia centered on Petrograd (now known as St. Petersburg), then the Russian capital, arguably beginning on March 8 (February 23 in the Julian calendar). Photo: Soldiers riding down a street in Petrograd during the outbreak of the 1917 revolution
© AP Photo
As a result of World War I, Russia had been suffering from a number of economic and social problems. Food was in short supply and this led to rising prices. By January 1917 the price of commodities in Petrograd had increased six-fold
As a result of World War I, Russia had been suffering from a number of economic and social problems. Food was in short supply and this led to rising prices. By January 1917 the price of commodities in Petrograd had increased six-fold
As a result of World War I, Russia had been suffering from a number of economic and social problems. Food was in short supply and this led to rising prices. By January 1917 the price of commodities in Petrograd had increased six-fold
© Fotokhronika TASS
A demonstration of workers from the Putilov plant in Petrograd. The left banner reads "Feed the children of the defenders of the motherland"; the right banner, "Increase payments to the soldiers' families - defenders of freedom and world peace",  March 1917
A demonstration of workers from the Putilov plant in Petrograd. The left banner reads "Feed the children of the defenders of the motherland"; the right banner, "Increase payments to the soldiers' families - defenders of freedom and world peace",  March 1917
A demonstration of workers from the Putilov plant in Petrograd. The left banner reads "Feed the children of the defenders of the motherland"; the right banner, "Increase payments to the soldiers' families - defenders of freedom and world peace", March 1917
© wikimedia.org/George Shuklin
The revolution involved mass demonstrations and armed clashes with police and gendarmes, the last loyal forces of the Russian monarchy. Photo: Barricades on Liteiny Prospect of Petrograd
The revolution involved mass demonstrations and armed clashes with police and gendarmes, the last loyal forces of the Russian monarchy. Photo: Barricades on Liteiny Prospect of Petrograd
The revolution involved mass demonstrations and armed clashes with police and gendarmes, the last loyal forces of the Russian monarchy. Photo: Barricades on Liteiny Prospect of Petrograd
© wikimedia.org/Nut1917
By March 11, most city workers were on strike, bringing the entire city to a halt. Photo: Mass demonstration in Petrograd
By March 11, most city workers were on strike, bringing the entire city to a halt. Photo: Mass demonstration in Petrograd
By March 11, most city workers were on strike, bringing the entire city to a halt. Photo: Mass demonstration in Petrograd
© Fotokhronika TASS
On March 12 Russian Army forces sided with the revolutionaries
On March 12 Russian Army forces sided with the revolutionaries
On March 12 Russian Army forces sided with the revolutionaries
© Fotokhronika TASS
A detachment of revolutionaries, 1917
A detachment of revolutionaries, 1917
A detachment of revolutionaries, 1917
© Fotokhronika TASS
Revolutionary events in Torzhok, a town in Tver region, March 1917
Revolutionary events in Torzhok, a town in Tver region, March 1917
Revolutionary events in Torzhok, a town in Tver region, March 1917
© Pyotr Dobrynin/Fotokhronika TASS
On March 15, the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, signed his enforced abdication in favour of Grand Duke Mikhail. Photo: Tsar Nicholas II, March 1917
On March 15, the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, signed his enforced abdication in favour of Grand Duke Mikhail. Photo: Tsar Nicholas II, March 1917
On March 15, the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, signed his enforced abdication in favour of Grand Duke Mikhail. Photo: Tsar Nicholas II, March 1917
© Library of Congress
Distribution of revolutionary newspapers after abdication of Nicholas II, Moscow, March 1917
Distribution of revolutionary newspapers after abdication of Nicholas II, Moscow, March 1917
Distribution of revolutionary newspapers after abdication of Nicholas II, Moscow, March 1917
© Fotokhronika TASS
After Nicholas’s abdication, revolutionaries dismantled any tsarist symbol including the bronze statue of Alexander the III, Nicholas’s father. Photo: Demonstration in Petrograd after the Tsar Nicholas II's abdication proclamation, March 1917
After Nicholas’s abdication, revolutionaries dismantled any tsarist symbol including the bronze statue of Alexander the III, Nicholas’s father. Photo: Demonstration in Petrograd after the Tsar Nicholas II's abdication proclamation, March 1917
After Nicholas’s abdication, revolutionaries dismantled any tsarist symbol including the bronze statue of Alexander the III, Nicholas’s father. Photo: Demonstration in Petrograd after the Tsar Nicholas II's abdication proclamation, March 1917
© Fotokhronika TASS
But the revolutionaries wanted a republic, not a new tsar. A new tsar would only incite more violence and possibly a civil war. Grand Duke Mikhail declined the throne and 304 years of Romanov rule came to an end. Photo: Burning of the royal symbols, 1917
But the revolutionaries wanted a republic, not a new tsar. A new tsar would only incite more violence and possibly a civil war. Grand Duke Mikhail declined the throne and 304 years of Romanov rule came to an end. Photo: Burning of the royal symbols, 1917
But the revolutionaries wanted a republic, not a new tsar. A new tsar would only incite more violence and possibly a civil war. Grand Duke Mikhail declined the throne and 304 years of Romanov rule came to an end. Photo: Burning of the royal symbols, 1917
© wikimedia.org/Karl Karlovitch Bulla
On March 16, a provisional government was announced. The socialists had formed their rival body, the Petrograd Soviet. Photo: The Tauride Palace hosts an assembly of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, Petrograd, 1917
On March 16, a provisional government was announced. The socialists had formed their rival body, the Petrograd Soviet. Photo: The Tauride Palace hosts an assembly of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, Petrograd, 1917
On March 16, a provisional government was announced. The socialists had formed their rival body, the Petrograd Soviet. Photo: The Tauride Palace hosts an assembly of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, Petrograd, 1917
© Fotokhronika TASS
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February Revolution in Russia centered on Petrograd (now known as St. Petersburg), then the Russian capital, arguably beginning on March 8 (February 23 in the Julian calendar). Photo: Soldiers riding down a street in Petrograd during the outbreak of the 1917 revolution
© AP Photo
As a result of World War I, Russia had been suffering from a number of economic and social problems. Food was in short supply and this led to rising prices. By January 1917 the price of commodities in Petrograd had increased six-fold
© Fotokhronika TASS
A demonstration of workers from the Putilov plant in Petrograd. The left banner reads "Feed the children of the defenders of the motherland"; the right banner, "Increase payments to the soldiers' families - defenders of freedom and world peace", March 1917
© wikimedia.org/George Shuklin
The revolution involved mass demonstrations and armed clashes with police and gendarmes, the last loyal forces of the Russian monarchy. Photo: Barricades on Liteiny Prospect of Petrograd
© wikimedia.org/Nut1917
By March 11, most city workers were on strike, bringing the entire city to a halt. Photo: Mass demonstration in Petrograd
© Fotokhronika TASS
On March 12 Russian Army forces sided with the revolutionaries
© Fotokhronika TASS
A detachment of revolutionaries, 1917
© Fotokhronika TASS
Revolutionary events in Torzhok, a town in Tver region, March 1917
© Pyotr Dobrynin/Fotokhronika TASS
On March 15, the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, signed his enforced abdication in favour of Grand Duke Mikhail. Photo: Tsar Nicholas II, March 1917
© Library of Congress
Distribution of revolutionary newspapers after abdication of Nicholas II, Moscow, March 1917
© Fotokhronika TASS
After Nicholas’s abdication, revolutionaries dismantled any tsarist symbol including the bronze statue of Alexander the III, Nicholas’s father. Photo: Demonstration in Petrograd after the Tsar Nicholas II's abdication proclamation, March 1917
© Fotokhronika TASS
But the revolutionaries wanted a republic, not a new tsar. A new tsar would only incite more violence and possibly a civil war. Grand Duke Mikhail declined the throne and 304 years of Romanov rule came to an end. Photo: Burning of the royal symbols, 1917
© wikimedia.org/Karl Karlovitch Bulla
On March 16, a provisional government was announced. The socialists had formed their rival body, the Petrograd Soviet. Photo: The Tauride Palace hosts an assembly of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, Petrograd, 1917
© Fotokhronika TASS

The February Revolution was the first of two Russian revolutions in 1917. On March 15, Russian tsar Nicholas II abdicated, handing the throne to Grand Duke Mikhail who later declined it. The result of these events was the end of the Romanov dynasty and the end of the Russian Empire. 

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