The Russian Revolution, 1917: Eyewitness Account - Vol. 2

By N. N. Sukanov; Joel Carmichael | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 32
OCTOBER 26TH Finale

Two or three hours later the capital awoke--without realizing who were now its rulers. From outside, the events had not been at all impressive. Except for the Palace square, there had been order and calm everywhere. The coup had begun rather modestly and ended rather swiftly. But how?--the man-in-the-street didn't know. The finale in the Winter Palace had come too late at night, and contact with Smolny was weak.

The man-in-the-street rushed to the newspapers. But he couldn't get much light from them. In the 'Latest News' column there were everywhere a few lines reporting the seizure of the Winter Palace and the arrest of the Provisional Government. The accounts of the Soviet Congress consisted solely of 'emergency statements' and testified to the 'isolation' of the Bolsheviks; but they gave no description whatever of the political status that had been created. The leading articles had been written before the final news that night. In general, they were all on one note: patriotic howlings about our unhappy country, accusations of usurpation and violence by the Bolsheviks, predictions of the collapse of their adventure, descriptions of the coup of the day before as a military conspiracy.

The Mensheviks and SRs, by the way, later consoled themselves with this military conspiracy for several months, thrusting it in the faces of the Bolsheviks. Incomprehensible! It would have been better if these sharp-witted people had looked and said: was the Petersburg proletariat in sympathy or not with the organizers of the October insurrection? Was it with the Bolsheviks, or were the Bolsheviks acting independently of it? Was it on the side of the overturn, was it neutral, or was it hostile?

Here there can be no two replies. Yes, the Bolsheviks acted with the full backing of the Petersburg workers and soldiers. And they brought about an insurrection, throwing into it as many (very few!) forces as were required for its successful con-

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