Russian Revolution Timeline

An illustration of a group of people with a flag bearing Russian characters.
A 1917 banner of freedom and industry from the Russian Revolution. Hulton Archives / Getty Images

The Russian Revolution of 1917 deposed the czar and installed the Bolsheviks in power. After winning the civil war in Russia, the Bolsheviks established the Soviet Union in 1922.

Timelines of the Russian Revolution are often confusing because up until February 1918 Russia used a different calendar than the rest of the Western world. The 19th century, the Julian calendar, used by Russia, was 12 days behind the Gregorian calendar (used by most of the Western world) until March 1, 1900, when it became 13 days behind.

In this timeline, the dates are in the Julian "Old Style," with the Gregorian "New Style" ("NS") date in parentheses, until the change in 1918. Thereafter, all dates are in the Gregorian.

Timeline of the Russian Revolution

1887

  • May 8 (May 20 NS) - Lenin's brother, Alexander Ulyanov, is hanged for plotting to kill Czar Alexander III.

1894

  • October 20 (November 1 NS) - Czar Alexander III dies after a sudden illness and his son, Nicholas II, becomes the ruler of Russia.
  • November 14 (November 26 NS) - Czar Nicholas II marries Alexandra Fedorovna.

1895

  • December 8 (December 20 NS) - Lenin is arrested, kept in solitary confinement for 13 months, and then exiled to Siberia for three years.

1896

  • May 14 (May 26 NS) - Nicholas II crowned czar of Russia.

1903

  • July 17 - August 10 (July 30 - August 23 NS) - The Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) meeting in which the Party splits into two factions: Mensheviks ("minority") and Bolsheviks ("majority").

1904

  • July 30 (August 12 NS) - After having four girls, Czarina Alexandra gives birth to a son, Alexei.

1905

  • January 9 (January 22 NS) - Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg begins the 1905 Russian Revolution.
  • October 17 (October 30 NS) - The October Manifesto, issued by Czar Nicholas II, brings an end to the 1905 Russian Revolution by promising civil liberties and an elected parliament (Duma).

1906

  • April 23 (May 6 NS) - A constitution (the Fundamental Laws of 1906) is created, reflecting the promises made in the October Manifesto.

1914

1915

  • September 5 (September 18 NS) - Czar Nicholas II assumes supreme command of the Russian Army.

1916

1917

  • February 23-27 (March 8-12 NS) - The February Revolution begins with strikes, demonstrations, and mutinies in Petrograd (also called the March Revolution if following the Gregorian calendar).
  • March 2 (March 15 NS) - Czar Nicholas II abdicates and includes his son. The following day, Nicholas' brother, Mikhail announced his refusal to accept the throne. Provisional Government formed.
  • April 3 (April 16 NS) - Lenin returns from exile and arrives in Petrograd via a sealed train.
  • July 3-7 (July 16-20 NS) - The July Days begin in Petrograd with spontaneous protests against the Provisional Government; after the Bolsheviks unsuccessfully try to direct these protests into a coup, Lenin is forced into hiding.
  • July 11 (July 24 NS) - Alexander Kerensky becomes Prime Minister of the Provisional Government.
  • August 22-27 (September 4-9 NS) - The Kornilov Affair, a failed coup by General Lavr Kornilov, commander of the Russian Army.
  • October 25 (November 7 NS) - The October Revolution - the Bolsheviks take over Petrograd (also called the November Revolution if following the Gregorian calendar).
  • October 26 (November 8 NS) - The Winter Palace, the last holdout of the Provisional Government, is taken by the Bolsheviks; the Council of People's Commissars (abbreviated as Sovnarkom), led by Lenin, is now in control of Russia.

1918

  • February 1/14 - The new Bolshevik government converts Russia from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar turning February 1 into February 14.
  • March 3 - The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, between Germany and Russia, is signed and takes Russia out of World War I.
  • March 8 - The Bolshevik Party changes its name to the Communist Party.
  • March 11 - The capital of Russia is changed from St. Petersburg to Moscow.
  • June - Russian civil war begins.
  • July 17 - Czar Nicholas II and his family are executed.
  • August 30 - An assassination attempt leaves Lenin seriously wounded.

1920

  • November - Russian civil war ends.

1922

  • April 3 - Stalin is appointed General Secretary.
  • May 26 - Lenin suffers first stroke.
  • December 15 - Lenin suffers second stroke and retires from politics.
  • December 30 - The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) established.

1924

  • January 21 - Lenin dies; Stalin will become his successor.