Father Gapon and Bloody Sunday




Pre-Revolutionary Russia was a world which most Americans would deem as one not fit to live in. The economy was almost non-existent, the autocracy that ruled was corrupt and unfair, and the food shortages were crippling to the majority of the Russian citizens.There was no such thing as individuality or thinking for oneself. On top of that, there was no suffrage for any citizen, no labor unions or any kind of association for the citizens to join to make their voices heard.

There were some attempts at trying to begin a revolution so that the citizens could obtain more rights but almost all of them fell through and the conditions for the citizens worsened. Finally, after a few years an Orthodox priest Georgii Gapon successfully gathered a group of workers numbering into the thousands into a coalition named the “Assembly of Russian Factory Workers”. This was a highly motivated group who were ready to step out and try their hardest to get some changes installed to improve their qualities of life.


This picture above shows the fruits of Gapon’s labors. In January 1905, Gapon’s group marched unarmed to the Winter Palace with a petition for Tsar Nicholas to sign in order to increase food distribution and make their lives at work better. In a move that is nothing but disrespectful, Tsar Nicholas failed to appear to heed the request of the worker’s union and he instead ordered his soldiers to kill the protesters. When the massacre was finished, hundreds were wounded or dead and the day would forever be known as “Bloody Sunday”.

This is just one story among many of the struggles of the peasants and working class during the times of Pre-Revolutionary Russia. Reading stories like this truly opens your eyes to the horrors of living in that society because no matter how bad the conditions got, as soon as you voiced your opinion you were struck down. I don’t know about you all, but I could never live in a society without any free-thinking.


Finegan,Patrick G.,,Jr. (1990, Dec 16). Moscow faces apocalyptic times in the spring. New York Times (1923-Current File). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.lib.vt.edu:8080/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/108423769?accountid=14826

Freeze, Gregory. Russia: A History. 3rd Ed. New York: Oxford, 2009. 234-252. Print.

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8 Responses to Father Gapon and Bloody Sunday

    Connor Balzer says:

    I really liked how you set the scene at the beginning of your post. It does a great job of showing the desperation of the Russian people while also highlighting the outside perspective, in this case of American’s, but probably common to many countries around the world. It really is unbelievable that conditions could get this bad and the people still managed to keep their heads and display in a rational, peaceful manner. I think this speaks volumes to Gapon’s leadership of this protest. It is also interesting to me that it was not the starving, desperate people that lost their heads and resorted to violence but the military. How could anyone think that killing protesters that can only be so far from snapping and revolting would be a good idea?

  1. I agree with Conner, I love how you set up the scene leading up to Bloody Sunday and the narration you used. It’s crazy to think that something like that could happen even if it was the start of the twentieth century. I think this was definitely one of the Tsar’s biggest mistakes which had to have played a part in the creation of the October Manifesto and the end of Autocracy as Russia knew it.

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