Archive for September, 2013

       Following the Russian Revolution that occurred in the early nineteenth century was the formation of a provisional government in order to maintain rule over Russia. This provisional government, also known as the Duma, wanted to transform the former autocracy into a system based on awarding civil rights to its citizens and other liberal principles. This concept of liberal policies even spread into the military, the direct result of this being the creation of Order No. 1.

This order was issued on March, 1917 drastically changed the whole concept of the Russian military. The reason why it sent shock waves throughout the military was that this doctrine called for democracy within the military, where soldiers would not only be elected into their position but be given all the same rights as any normal citizen.  The claim for elections was just one way in which this order effectively dismantled any form of discipline within the military.  Oder No. 1 also abolished the necessity for members of the military to stand, “standing at attention and compulsory saluting, when not on duty.” Now to a normal citizen this may not seem important, yet it is important being it shows not only discipline on behalf of the soldiers it also shows respect for the officers. Without this respect officers no longer have control over their men and without this control you have no hope of ever winning a conflict of any type.

Within the  first two months of the implication of Order No. 1, infighting within the army almost brought the military to its knees. Internal warfare became a common site being that many competent and high ranking officers where jailed and replaced with more popular soldiers who lacked both the experience and leadership qualities of the fallen officers. Realizing that the Russian Army was destroying itself the newly appointed Minister of the Army and Navy, Alexander Kerenskii, decided that in order to bring back a sense of pride and legitimacy to the army he must launch an offensive operation against the Germans. This ended up bringing the state of the military to an even lower level due to them being repulsed by the Germans.

I believe the passage of Order No.1 shows us one clear statement, you cannot treat your military as a democratic society. In the military, you cannot be allowed to elect your leaders or it becomes exactly what we saw happen in the Russian military , a popularity contest. The only question I have left and want to look deeper into is why did the Duma believe this doctrine would be a great addition within the military society?

The fall of the once great Russian Empire in the early 1900’s was not a silent and peaceful crumble from its once great stature as world economic and military power. Nicholas II, known as the last of the tsars, inherited an empire on a spiraling decline and the fact that Russia was defeated during the Russo-Japanese war didn’t help his favor either.

The road to the massacre on bloody Sunday began almost a year before the actual event. In 1904 an Orthodox priest named Georgii Gapon was able to mobilize thousands of members of workers into the “Assembly of Russian Factory Workers.” (Freeze p. 250) Soon this assembly began to spread and take a life of its own; the assembly swelled its ranks, which members soon consisted of former Marxists revolutionaries. On December of 1904 workers at a factory in St. Petersburg, whom were also members of the Gapon Assembly, were laid off with little to know justification. Thus, in order to maintain its credibility the assembly had to rise up in defense of the affected workers.

What ensued was a city wide strike in early January 1905 leading to the organization of a mass march on the Winter Palace with a petition, demanding higher wages and shorter hours, for Nicholas II. However, Nicholas II decided to send a direct message to the presentation to the petitioners by failing to appear at the Winter Palace in order to receive the petition. Nicholas II didn’t stop there; he authorized the authorization for military units to fire on any advancing petitioners. This authorized the massacre of hundreds of petitioners, which included women and children, all of the members of the mob were unarmed many even holding Orthodox crosses and icons. This massacre turned almost all public opinion against the tsar almost as soon as word started to spread.

Bloody Sunday saw over a hundred peaceful protestors killed in and many more wounded. This massacre signaled the beginning of the 1905 revolution and the end for Nicholas II and the reign of the Russian tsars.


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Resources: Gregory Freeze, Russia A History, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 250.

The colored picture shown above was taken, incredibly around 1910, by man named Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Out of the hundreds of images Prokudin- Gorskii took during his journey around Russia between 1907 and 1915, I found this image to be one of the most intriguing due to the history behind the city.

Located in Georgia the city of Tiflis, rest on the banks of the Kura River. At the time this picture was taken Tiflis had an overall population of 160,000 and a multinational population including Armenians, Persians, Poles, Jews, Georgians and Russians.   Tiflis was a major trade and cultural center in Russia during the late 1800’s. However after the Russian Revolution in 1917, Tiflis became the capital city of the newly formed Democratic Republic of Georgia on May 26, 1018.  Than on February 25 1921, the Bolshevist Russians invaded and claimed Tiflis under Soviet Rule.

Once the Soviet Union dismantled the country of Georgia was once again reestablished, placing the newly renamed city of Tbilisi as the capital. It is interesting to see how the modern day city of Tbilisi, shown below, continuously rebuilt and flourished throughout its history. Whether it was 1800’s or most recently the war against Russia in 2008, the city of Tbilisi has always been the center of relations, whether good or bad, between the countries of Georgia and Russia .
















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