Timeline of the Russian Revolutions: 1918

Anti-Bolshevik Volunteers in 1918
Anti-Bolshevik Volunteers in 1918. Wikimedia Commons

January

• January 5: The Constituent Assembly opens with an SR majority; Chernov is elected chairman. In theory this is the climax of the 1917's first revolution, the assembly which liberals and other socialists waited and waited for to sort things out. But it has opened entirely too late, and after several hours Lenin decrees the Assembly dissolved. He has the military power to do so, and the assembly vanishes.


• January 12: 3rd Congress of Soviets accepts The Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia and creates the new constitution; Russia is declared a Soviet Republic and a federation is to be formed with other soviet states; the previous ruling classes are barred from holding any power. 'All power' is given to workers and soldiers. In practice, all power is with Lenin and his followers.
• January 19: The Polish Legion declares war on the Bolshevik government. Poland does not wish to end World War One as part of the German or Russian empires, whoever wins.

February

• February 1/14: The Gregorian calendar is introduced to Russia, changing February 1st to February 14th and bringing the nation in synch with Europe.
• February 23: The 'Workers' and Peasants' Red Army' is officially founded; massive mobilisation follows to counter anti-Bolshevik forces. This Red Army will go on to fight the Russian Civil War, and win.

The name Red Army would then go on to be associated with the defeat of the Nazis in World War 2.

March

• March 3: The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed between Russia and the Central Powers, ending WW1 in the East; Russia concedes a massive amount of land, people and resources. The Bolsheviks had argued over how to bring an end to the war, and having rejected fighting (which hadn't worked for the last three governments), they had followed a policy of not fighting, not surrendering, not doing anything.

As you might expect, this simply caused a huge German advance and March 3rd marked the return of some common sense.
• March 6-8: The Bolshevik party changes its name from Russian Social Democratic Party (Bolsheviks) to Russsian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), which is why we think of Soviet Russia as the 'communists', and not the Bolsheviks.
• March 9: Foreign intervention in the revolution begins as British troops land in Murmansk.
• March 11: The capital is moved from Petrograd to Moscow, partly because of German forces in Finland. It has never, to this day, gone back to St. Petersburg (or the city under any other name.)
• March 15: The 4th Congress of Soviets agrees to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, but the Left SR's leave the Sovnarkom in protest; the highest organ of government is now entirely Bolshevik. Time and again during the Russian Revolutions the Bolsheviks were able to make gains because other socialists walked out of things, and they never realised how utterly stupid and self defeating this was.

The process of establishing Bolshevik power, and thus the success of the October Revolution, continued over the next few years as a civil war raged across Russia. The Bolsheviks won and the Communist regime was securely established, but that's the subject for another timeline (The Russian Civil War).

Back to Introduction > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9