As it turned out Stalin did not have to wait until July 1917, when his term of exile would have expired. On 2 March Nicholas II abdicated the throne of Russia, and a Provisional Government of liberals assumed precarious power. The capital to which Stalin returned on 12 March was a very different place from the city he had known, quite apart from the fact that the tsarist government had renamed it ‘Petrograd’ as part of the anti-German mood of wartime. Not only did the new government support a full range of civil liberties for all political factions, they had no choice but to permit the existence of a rival authority, the ‘Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies’, which had taken form as the old regime collapsed. Although composed of elected delegates from factories and military units of the capital city only, it possessed from the outset enormous prestige as a symbol of some kind of radical democratic order for all Russia.
KeywordsAssure Defend Bide Militant Element
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