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Demonstrators disperse from machine gun fire during the July Days uprising.

The July Days were a period in 1917 during which workers and soldiers of Petrograd staged armed demonstrations against the Russian Provisional Government, resulting in a temporary decline in the power of the Bolshevik party and Aleksandr Kerensky achieving the office of Prime Minister.


The events of the February Revolution forced Czar Nicholas II to abdicate. Power in Russia shifted to the control of the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet. The Soviet proved to hold more leverage than the new government, which sought to continue Russian involvement in the Great War.

On March 14, the Soviet issued Order No. 1, an edict which directed the military to obey only the orders of the Soviet and not those of the Provisional Government. It also allowed for soldiers to vote for the commander of their choosing. The Provisional Government was unable to counteract the order. All that prevented Petrograd Soviet from openly declaring itself the real government of Russia was fear of conservative backlash.

On April 7, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin arrived in Petrograd by train, calling for another revolution.

By this time, anti-war sentiment was rife in the country.

A Revolt Which Failed

On July 16, the Bolsheviks planned a peaceful demonstration, it quickly devolved into confusion. The Petrograd garrison sent in troops with machine guns to quell the riots. Neither the Petrograd Soviet nor the Provisional Government could handle the situation and the Bolsheviks shied away from an open insurrection.

In an attempt to discredit the Bolshevik movement, the government accused Lenin of being a German puppet. Many Bolshevik leaders, such as Lunacharsky, Kamenev, and Trotsky, were sent to prison; Lenin fled to Finland in disguise.


Unable to garner popular support, Georgiy Lvov stepped down as Prime Minister in favor of War Minister Aleksandr Kerensky.

Kerensky ordered Lenin's arest, charging him for inciting revolt on behalf of Germany.

Continued Russian participation in the war and receding support for the Provisional Government, led General Lavr Kornilov to attempt to wrest power from Kerensky the following August. Kerensky, desperate for allies, would release scores of Bolsheviks arrested in July and arm them. The uprising never materialized and Bolsheviks were in position to take power themselves in November.

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