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HomeContentsThemes > Russian Revolution and the aftermath (1917)

Warning: The photographs within this theme and the sections on individual wars are of a graphic and violent nature - if you are sensitive to these issues then you should not view this theme.
Disclaimer: This section of the website uses examples from wars and rebellions to highlight the works of photographers - this is not to make a political point but to appreciate that there are different global perspectives on each event. If there is a general point it is about the inhumanity of war.
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Tzarist Russia had been in a state of internal unrest since the Russian Revolution in 1905. The pressures that were reaching unstoppable levels were formented by the defeat of the Russian forces by the Japanese in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) but it was also the hardships brought on by the First World War (1914-1918) that pushed it over the edge.
In February 1917 there was a Revolution that forced Tzar Nicholas II to abdicate. The forces that led the revolution were far from in agreement about the direction the country should go and it was in November 1917 that the Bolsheviks took power in a further push. The October Revolution of 1917 was largely organized from the Smolny Institute in Petrograd (now St. Peterburg) and Jakob Steinberg was there to photograph the daily activities amidst the growing chaos.
Following the overthrow of the Tzar the country was divided and the outcome uncertain as the White Russians backed from outside countries with expeditionary forces sought to bring about a government they could live with. To prevent a return of the Tzar to power the Bolsheviks murdered him, his wife Alexandrina and their children at Yekaterinburg on 17 July 1918. As Russia has accepted its history on 17 July 1998 the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family were reburied in St. Catherine Chapel (Ekaterininsky Predel) of Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg.
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