Shooting of Bolsheviks, 4-5 July 1917 on Nevski Prospect, Petrograd

9. Shooting of Bolsheviks 4-5 July 1917. Nevski Prospect, Petrograd

Source: Marx Memorial Library (MML)


Persuaded by his Entente partners, war minister Kerensky launched a military offensive in Galicia in July 1917 which had disastrous consequences. Its objective was to strengthen the weak Eastern Front and to improve troop morale and discipline. On both counts it had the opposite effect. The Russian army was forced to retreat from the German advance. Russian soldiers mutinied in protest against their appalling conditions and calamitous military leadership. In early July, the refusal of a machine-gun regiment to be dispatched to the front lines began a protest during which workers and soldiers in Petrograd staged armed demonstrations calling for the Provisional Government to step down. The Bolsheviks were reluctant to support these calls as they were not yet in a position to take power. In response to the demonstrations, the Provisional Government announced a crackdown on the Bolsheviks and many were attacked or arrested by those troops still loyal to the government. This led to the banning of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda. Lenin disappeared into hiding. Kerensky became prime minister and continued participation in the war.