St. Petersburg is known as the cradle of three Russian revolutions.
On that Sunday a peaceful demonstration of thousands workers with their families came up to the Winter Palace headed by priest Gapon. They were unarmed, dressed in their Sunday best clothes, carried icons and portraits of the tsar, sang church anthems. The representatives of the participants of the demonstration hoped to present a petition to the tsar or any of his Ministries asking them to improve their life conditions.
Nicholas II himself was outside the city and refused to meet with the people. The soldiers were given the order to open fire on the demonstration. Nearly one thousand people were killed and five thousand were badly wounded on Palace square. Those events went down into the Russian history as the Bloody Sunday. It gave push to the first revolution, which lasted for two years until 1907 and was brutally suppressed.
The revolution of 1917
The most severe reaction followed: many people were arrested and put into jails, some revolutionaries emigrated, and the country was practically court-martialed.
In 1910-1911 a new revolutionary upsurge began in the country, strikes, political demonstrations, and in 1914 the First World War broke out. The whole country was in crises, starvation, shortage of money, and it was clear that another revolution was imminent. It started in February 1917 and as a result Nicholas II abdicated and Provisional Government was formed from the members of the State Duma, who represented the interests of the richest people. Simultaneously the Soviets- the Council of Workers, Soldiers and Peasants- came to power.
This period in Russian history is known as Dual power. Those two governments occupied the Taurida Palace and coexisted until July 1917.
After the July reprisals, the Provisional Government took over and moved to the Winter Palace, the Soviets went to the Smolny. The members of the Provisional Government didn’t solve any issues of the revolution: the war went on and it was the main cause of dissatisfaction, the land reform wasn’t carried out too. All that put together caused another revolution.
First Soviet government
The same night the Second Congress of the Soviets was held in the building of the Smolny Institute and elected the first Soviet Government- the Council of People’s Commissars with Lenin at the head and adopted the first three decrees of the Soviet Power: on Peace, on Land, on Power.
By the decree on Peace, a call was thrown on all belligerent countries to make a peace treaty with Germany. Russia lost enormous territories but got the peace treaty in 1918.
By the decree on Land, all land was proclaimed the state property and expropriated from the church and landlords. It was handed to those who till the soil.
By the decree on Power, all power belonged to the Soviets. This decree was the only to materialize the same night when the first Soviet Government was elected. It resided in St. Petersburg till March 1918 when it moved to Moscow.