All about bread
“What is it, stupidity or treason?”
Pavel Milyukov, November 14, 1916, leader of the liberal faction in the Russian Duma, speaking on the government’s failure to come up with a strategy.
It started with protests about bread. We're back in 1917. There was apparently enough bread in Russia but train delays occasioned and exacerbated by movements to and from the war front, led to periodic shortages. However, this was only the straw that broke the camel's back and people had, for a long time, been fed up with the war (Russia took about 2 million casualties) and the autocracy (and probably also the dark grim life around them - St Petersburg in February can be a particularly gloomy place. Over the course of the week, the tsar had abdicated, and a new governing dispensation had formed, albeit one on shaky grounds. The new Provisional Government, intended to work towards a constitutional government, governed in a "duality' with the Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers' Deputies, who it seemed respected the constitution only when it suited them. The February revolution destroyed the old state structures, but failed to create a strong and authoritative power, and grew weaker by the day.