Above is a picture of the clock that sits on the mantle of the room in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, the time marking the fall of the provisional government. The provisional government was set up after the February Revolution in 1917, which ended the Tsarist regime, and ran the country until the October Revolution in 1917. So, how did a government established after the fall of the Tsars end up meeting a similar fate just a few months later?
After the February Revolution, the provisional government was established. The Provisional Government was a liberal, reformist government that was headed by members of some major forces of revolution such as the Kadets and the Octobrists (Freeze 276). However, the Provisional Government could never quite establish a firm rule on the country, constantly competing for power with the Petrograd soviet. Also, the Provisional Government set out with lofty and in hindsight unattainable goals of reform which were spelled out in the “Programme“. The “Programme” consisted of the Provisional government’s goals for the revolution, laying out liberal ideas, democratic principals, and assuring limited civil rights to minorities (Freeze 277). One major goal of the “Programme” was to end bureaucratic rule in every aspect of the country (Freeze 277).
The Revolution did not end with the ousting of the Tsar and the establishment of the Provisional government. Almost immediately after the Provisional government was established, the same problems from before the February Revolution resurfaced as well as new problems (Freeze 279). Grain shortages, slow production, land reform, and labour reform plagued the new government in an ever worsening Russia. In fact, according the S.L. Maslov’s, “The Taking of the Winter Palace“, the Provisional Government was discussing land reform when they received word the Bolsheviks were planning the uprising that would end the rule of the Provisional government.
Overall, the people, spearheaded by the Bolsheviks, seemed to be as unhappy under the rule of the Provisional government as they were under the rule of the Tsar. The Provisional government simply could not fix the problems that led to the February Revolution nor could they fix the ever arising new problems the people faced. Therefore, on October 24th and 25th the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace and arrested the Provisional government, beginning a four year Civil War that lead to the Soviet Union.Freeze, Gregory L. “The Provisional Government.” Russia: A History. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. 276-80. Print.