Russian Revolution documents

This collection of Russian Revolution documents has been compiled by Alpha History authors. This section is a work in progress: we are continually reviewing, transcribing and adding new documents. If you would like to suggest a document for inclusion, please make contact.

Grievances and tensions

Rambaud on the transformation and political stagnation of Russia (1900)
Nicholas II imposes Russian autocracy in Finland (1903)
The ‘Bloody Sunday’ workers’ petition to Nicholas II (January 1905)
The American ambassador’s report on ‘Bloody Sunday’ (January 1905)
New York Times editorial on ‘Bloody Sunday’ (January 1905)
Father Gapon gives his eyewitness account of ‘Bloody Sunday’ (1905)
Lenin’s view of ‘Bloody Sunday’, Gapon and 1905 (1905)
Trotsky’s account of Gapon and his role in the 1905 Revolution (1905)
The Tsar’s October Manifesto (October 1905)
Letter from Nicholas II to his mother, the Dowager Empress (November 1905)
Lenin on the unfolding 1905 Revolution in Russia (1905)
An official Soviet account of ‘Bloody Sunday’ (1938)
Excerpts from the Russian Fundamental Law (April 1906)
The Vyborg Manifesto calls on Russians to resist the government (July 1906)
The tsar’s decree dissolving the second State Duma (June 1907)
Tsar Nicholas’ thoughts on the State Duma (1906-1907)
Extracts from Marx and Engels: The Communist Manifesto (1848)
Extracts from Lenin’s What is to be Done? (1902)
The political program of the Russian Social Democrats or SDs (1903)
Political program of the Socialist-Revolutionaries or SRs (1905)
Victor Serge on the Bolshevik movement (1917)
Trotsky on lessons learned from the 1905 Revolution (1930)

The last years of tsarism

Lenin’s views on World War I (September-October 1914)
The tsarina’s letter to Nicholas II as he departed for the front (August 1915)
The tsarina’s letters exerting pressure on the tsar (1915-16)
A police report on deteriorating conditions in Petrograd (October 1916)
British woman Meriel Buchanan on the growing unrest in Russia (1916)
Russian press reports on the murder of Rasputin (December 1916)
A Duma report on conditions in Russian cities (February 1917)
Telegrams sent on the eve of the February Revolution (1917)
Nicholas II’s diary entries during the February Revolution (February-March 1917)
The abdication decree of Tsar Nicholas II (March 1917)
The British ambassador’s perspectives on Nicholas II’s leadership (1923)
Russian political groups respond to the February Revolution (1917)
An official Soviet account of the February Revolution (1938)
A woman recalls the February Revolution in Kursk (1917)

The Dual Power

A report on the formation of the Provisional Government (March 1917)
The Petrograd Soviet’s Order Number One (March 1917)
An agreement to improve the conditions of Russian workers (March 1917)
Extracts from Lenin’s April Theses (April 1917)
A plea to maintain the Russian war effort (May 1917)
Alexander Guchkov on the fate of the Provisional Government (May 1917)
Congress of Soviets agrees to work with the Prov Government (June 1917)
Leon Trotsky on the ‘July Days’ (1930)
Kerensky on the origins of the Kornilov Affair (1927)
Wealthy Russians attend a meeting with General Kornilov (August 1917)
General Kornilov’s appeal to the Russian people (August 1917)
Intelligence reports of unrest and mutiny in the Russian army (October 1917)
Lenin urges the overthrow of the Provisional Government (October 1917)
Lenin calls for an armed revolution against the government (October 1917)
Bolshevik demands issued on the eve of the October Revolution (October 1917)
The Bolshevik Milrevcom announces that it has seized power (October 1917)
Sukhanov’s recollections of the October Revolution (1922)
The Bolsheviks set terms for aligning with other parties (November 1917)

The Bolsheviks in power

Lenin on fighting counter-revolution and sabotage (December 1917)
The Revolutionary Tribunal is established (January 1918)
Rosa Luxemburg on the Constituent Assembly (1918)
Lenin forms the CHEKA (December 1917)
Martin Latsis on the birth of the CHEKA (1920)
Victor Serge on the CHEKA (1940s)
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk endorsed (March 1918) 
The Oath of the Red Warrior (April 1918)
A Bolshevik account of the Left SR uprising (July 1918)
Lenin’s kulak ‘hanging order’ (August 1918)
An order expanding the Red Terror (September 1918)
Trotsky’s orders for dealing with defecting Red Army officers (September 1918)
Excerpts from the Bolshevik Family Law (October 1918)
Rosa Luxemburg on the lack of democracy in Soviet Russia (November 1918)
Lenin on democracy and dictatorship (December 1918)
Lenin gives instructions for a propaganda pamphlet (December 1918)
Alexandra Kollontai on her work and social reforms (1926)
Bukharin on the transformation of women in Soviet Russia (July 1920)
A Soviet woman explains her work in the new society (1920)
The Soviet decree legalising abortion (December 1920)
A Soviet report on agitprop (propaganda) trains (1920)
The Kronstadt sailors’ 15-point manifesto (March 1921)
Excerpts from Lenin’s ‘political testament’ (December 1922)
Torture methods used by the CHEKA (1924)