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The Great War
Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Timeline Maps & Battles The Shaping of the 21st Century Historians
Historians OverviewOrlando Figes

The Bread Riot - Starting a Revolution
Orlando Figes
"By 1917, the average working woman was spending 40 hours per week in bread cues.

"The 23rd of February 1917, was International Women's Day. And ironically that day a bread riot started in Petrograd led by the women themselves. They were fed up with waiting for bread. Many of them sleeping outside bakeries overnight to be first in line because so many bakeries had closed.

"They marched through the workers' districts of the city gathering their men folk from the other factories, and occupied the center of the city. About a 100,000 people were in the fashionable downtown districts of Petrograd that day, and over the next three or four days they again occupied the city. More and more people flooded into the center of the city – not just workers, but students, officers, society ladies, and spectators.

"The chief of the military district, General Khabalov, could not cope with the situation.

"But then on the 26th of February, he effectively turned what was a chaotic bread riot into a revolution by ordering his troops to fire on the unarmed crowds. It was that firing which was to turn these bread riots into a revolution. The next day thousands of troops came out from the Garrison. They occupied all the key buildings. They started arresting ministers running for their lives, opened prisons and began to converge on the Tauride Palace."

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