January 22

This Day in History

General Interest

Jan 22, 1905:

First Russian Revolution begins

In Russia, the revolution of 1905 begins when czarist troops open fire on a peaceful group of workers marching to the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg to petition their grievances to Czar Nicholas II. Some 500 protestors were massacred on "Bloody Sunday," setting off months of protest and disorder throughout Russia.

By January 1905, discontent with the czar's regime permeated nearly all classes in Russia, especially after the crushing January 2 defeat of the Russian navy at Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War. In October 1905, Nicholas, embattled on all sides, was forced to grant basic civil liberties and a representative national body, which would be elected by narrowly limited suffrage. However, this Parliament, known as the Duma, was dissolved after it opposed Nicholas' authority, and the remnants of the revolutionary movement were brutally suppressed by czarist troops.

A decade later, czarist Russia was bogged down in the mire of World War I, prompting the Bolshevik-led Russian Revolution of 1917, which crushed the czar's opposition and proclaimed Russia the world's first Marxist state.

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