Migrant in Moscow

By Migrant

Weekends in Johannesburg

The tradition in this city is that the traffic clears, and runners, walkers and cyclists emerge to enjoy the early morning weather.

But back to the events of 1917:  by 25 February (I'm using the 'old style' dates throughout), nearly all industrial workers in St Petersburg are on strike, and the crowd in the streets has grown to about 300,000 people.  They're hungry and irritated, probably in that order.  Some had approached the city center by walking over the ice on the Neva River in order to avoid the police roadblocks.  Speakers at multiple rallies along Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg's main street and the focal point of the demonstrations, demanded Russia's exit from WWI and the Tsar's abdication. The Tsar's response was to order the local garrison to fire on the crowds, the equivalent, in hindsight, of throwing fuel on the fire.  The night, the Tsarina, Alexandra, writes to Nicholas, who is still down in Smolensk: "This is a hooligan movement, consisting of young men and girls running about and shouting that they have no bread, in order to create excitement, and workers, going about preventing others from working.  If the weather was very cold, they would probably be sitting at home".

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