The February Revolution

  • Evan Mawdsley
Part of the Studies in Russian and East European History book series (SREEHS)


The third week of February 1917 was the last normal week. From the deck of his flagship, the Krechet, Vice-Admiral Nepenin could see the nucleus of his battle fleet, seven battleships, frozen into the North Harbour at Helsingfors (now Helsinki). With a few exceptions, the rest of the ‘Active Fleet’ — cruisers, destroyers, submarines, mine ships, and auxiliaries — was divided between the two main bases of Helsingfors and Reval (now Tallin). Nepenin felt no particular problems in this fleet he had commanded for five and a half months. Men and ships were going through their January-April hibernation just as they had in the two previous winters. The frozen Gulf of Finland made it impossible for them to put to sea, but it also prevented a Germai naval attack on Petrograd (now Leningrad). Nepenin’s main concern was an early attack on the Gulf of Riga, but against this contingency he had left a battleship and a cruiser in Moon Sound. The situation in the rear also seemed satisfactory, for at Kronstadt and Petrograd the winter training courses were ending, promising an influx of trained men.


Black Reactionary Officer Corps Russian Revolution Small Ship Hunger Strike 
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© Evan Mawdsley 1978

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  • Evan Mawdsley

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