This Russian Revolution timeline lists significant events and developments in tsarist Russia in 1904 and 1905. This timeline has been written and compiled by Alpha History authors.
Note: Russia used the Julian or Old Style calendar until January 24th 1918 when this system was replaced by the Gregorian or New Style calendar. Dates in this Russian Revolution timeline are Julian (or Old Style, O.S.) before January 24th 1918 and Gregorian (or New Style, N.S.) thereafter. To convert Old Style dates to New Style, add 13 days (for example, October 26th 1917 O.S. becomes November 8th N.S.)
January 26th: The Russo-Japanese War begins.
January 30th: A crowd of more than 80,000 rallies in St Petersburg in support of the Tsar and the government.
May 20th: A workers’ union represented by Father Georgy Gapon presents Nicholas II with a declaration of loyalty.
July 15th: Vyacheslav von Plehve, a government hardliner and opponent to reform, is killed by radical SRs, sparking public celebrations.
November 6th: 104 delegates from zemstvos across Russia meet and propose a ‘national assembly of zemstvos‘.
December 12th: Tsarist decrees increase the authority of the zemstvos and ease censorship, however, the Tsar does not agree to an assembly.
December 22nd: Supported by funds from Japan, Vladimir Lenin launches a left-wing newspaper called Vpered. It lasts for six months before being shut down.
January 3rd-6th: More than 120,000 industrial workers go on strike in St Petersburg.
January 7th: Striking workers declare their intention to march to the Winter Palace to submit a petition to the tsar. The government moves troops into the city, while tsarist ministers announce they are not expecting any violence.
January 9th: Tsarist troops open fire on a peaceful demonstration of workers in the streets of St Petersburg on ‘Bloody Sunday‘.
January 18th: The tsar meets with a delegation of industrial workers and declares that he has “forgiven them”.
February 4th: Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, the much-hated former governor of Moscow and an uncle of the tsar, is assassinated by an SR agent.
February 18th: The Tsar promises to investigate the possibility of forming a legislative assembly, handing this task to Bulygin, his interior minister.
March 18th: Believing them to be a source of revolutionary ideas and tension, the tsarist government orders the closure of universities until the next academic year.
April 8th: Strikes break out in factories and at the docks in Odessa.
April 12th: The Bolshevik Third Party Congress begins in London. It hears but rejects a proposal to reunite with the Mensheviks.
April 22nd: In Moscow, the Second Zemstvo Congress demands the formation of an elected legislature.
May 15th: The Battle of Tsushima results in almost the entire Russian Baltic Fleet being destroyed or taken captive by the Japanese.
May 20th: News of the defeat at Tsushima reaches St Petersburg, resulting in unrest and press criticism of the government. Tsar Nicholas II puts Trepov in charge of police forces and “domestic order”, an inflammatory step towards martial law.
June 9th: A general strike erupts in Lodz, Poland, bringing industrial production there to a halt; over the next two days tsarist police shoot more than 300 striking workers.
June 14th-24th: The Potemkin mutiny: sailors aboard a Russian battleship revolt, murder their officers and take command of the ship.
June 21st: The tsar meets with conservatives, telling them he has no intention of supporting the formation of an elected assembly.
July 10th: Pro-tsarist reactionaries in Ukraine launch a pogrom that kills around 100 Jews.
July 19th-26th: A political summit is held at the tsar’s Peterhof residence. It devises an electoral system based on class and property qualifications.
August 6th: The tsarist government unveils the ‘Bulygin Constitution’, allowing for the formation of an elected Duma to provide advice and consultation to the Tsar. It is rejected by most political groups.
August 23rd: The Treaty of Portsmouth ends the Russo-Japanese War, with the Japanese winning decisively and gaining full control of the Korean peninsula.
September 4th: The Tsar and his family embark on a two-week cruise around the Baltic.
September 15th: A congress of zemstvo delegates in Moscow reject the Tsar’s proposal for a consultative Duma; they demand an autonomous Duma elected by universal suffrage.
September 26th: Cossack soldiers open fire on protestors in Moscow; ten people die.
October 1st-November 26th: An uprising of several thousand military personnel at a naval base in Sevastopol, Ukraine. It is eventually crushed by troops loyal to the tsar.
October 3rd: In exile in London, Lenin calls on Bolsheviks inside to Russia to arm themselves and “form fighting squads at once”.
October 10th: Sergei Witte meets with the tsar and says he must either impose a military dictatorship or relent and form a constitutional government.
October 12th: Strike action in St Petersburg spreads to become a general strike.
October 13th: A Menshevik-dominated council, the Soviet of Soldiers’ and Workers’ Deputies, is formed in St Petersburg, with Leon Trotsky appointed vice-chairman.
October 15th: Witte presents Nicholas II with a draft of the October Manifesto, a promise of liberal reforms and an elected Duma.
October 17th: Nicholas II signs and promulgates the October Manifesto. It is received well but does not quell the unrest.
October 19th: Sergei Witte announces the creation of a Council of Ministers, offering key posts to Kadets, who refuse the offer.
October 21th: The St Petersburg Soviet orders an end to the general strike.
October 26th-31st: Mutinies erupt at the Kronstadt and Vladivostok military bases; the Kronstadt sailors vote to form their own soviet.
November 6th-12th: The Peasants Union meets in Moscow and draws up demands for a representative assembly and land redistribution.
November 8th: Lenin returns to St Petersburg.
November 11th-16th: Unrest and mutinies break out among army and navy units in Sebastopol in the Crimea. Rebels seize a naval vessel, the Ochakov before government troops crush the uprising.
November 24th: The government announces a relaxation in press censorship laws and regulations, sparking a flood of anti-tsarist literature and propaganda.
November 26th: The head of the St Petersburg Soviet is arrested by Tsarist police.
December 3rd: Approximately 250 members of the St Petersburg Soviet are arrested, reportedly for taking receipt of a large cache of weapons.
December 7th: Moscow is paralysed by a general strike.
December 10th: An uprising in Moscow sees various political and revolutionary groups attempt to take control of the city.
December 15th: Witte orders the army and tsarist police to crack down on suspected terrorists, protestors and the radical press.
December 15th-19th: Tsarist troops finally crush the Moscow uprising, killing hundreds.
December 23rd: A young radical SR member, Alexander Kerensky, is arrested and imprisoned after being found with inflammatory anti-tsarist literature.