Parties respond to the February Revolution (1917)

The following extracts contain responses of various political groups to the February Revolution and the abdication of Nicholas II:

Manifesto of the Central Committee of the Social Democrats, February 27th 1917:

“To citizens of Russia… Workers of the world unite! The strongholds of Russian tsarism have fallen… The Russian people through its huge efforts, its blood and at the cost of many lives has thrown off the slavery of centuries.

The task of the working class and the revolutionary army is to create a Provisional revolutionary government which will stand at the head of the new-born republican order. The Provisional revolutionary government must draw up temporary laws to defend the rights and liberties of the people, to confiscate church, landowners’, government and crown lands and transfer them to the people; to introduce the eight-hour working day, and to summon a Constituent Assembly on the basis of a suffrage which is universal, without regard to sex, nationality or religion, direct, equal and secret…

The hydra of reaction can yet raise its head. The task of the people and its revolutionary government is to put down any counter-revolutionary schemes directed against the people… Citizens, soldiers, wives and mothers! All to battle! To open battle with tsardom and its troops!”

Resolution of the Conference of the Petrograd SRs, March 2nd 1917:

“As the danger of counter-revolution has not yet disappeared, the task at the present time is to strengthen the political gains of the Revolution. The conference considers that support for the Provisional Government is absolutely necessary whilst it carries out its declared programme: an amnesty, the granting of individual freedoms, the repeal of estate, religious and national restrictions, and preparation for the Constituent Assembly.

The conference reserves the right to change its attitude should the Provisional Government not adhere to the implementation of this programme. The conference also recognises that any attempts to undermine the work of the Provisional Government in the fulfilment of its programme must be combated.”

From the Central Committee of the Constitutional Democrat [Kadet] Party, March 3rd 1917:

“The old regime has gone. The State Duma has forgotten its party differences, has united in the name of the salvation of our homeland… All citizens should have confidence in their regime and should combine their efforts to allow the government created by the Duma to complete its great task of liberating Russia from the external enemy and establishing peace inside Russia, on the basis of law, equality and freedom…

Forget all your party, class, estate and national differences! Each class, estate and nationality should be able to express its opinions and achieve its aims. The most important slogan now is ‘Organisation and Unity’, organisation and unity for victory over the external enemy, organisation and unity in internal construction.”

A resolution of the Council of the United Nobility, March 10th 1917:

“In these difficult and great days for Russia, all Russians should put aside their disagreements and should unite around the Provisional Government, now the sole legal authority in Russia, dedicated to defend order and the state system and to the successful conclusion of the war… Each one of us should direct all our strength and actions to harmonious work with all devoted sons of our homeland.”