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Print version. Published on site Rusnet.NL 11 December 2003

Encyclopedia :: P :: Provisional Government

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Russian government established after the February Revolution of 1917 and lasting until the October Revolution of 1917.

The provisional government was born by decision of the Duma, which on the 27th of February, formed the Provisional Committee of Duma Members. The committee consisted of 12 and was mostly made up of members of the Progressive Bloc, though it included two Socialists: Alexander Kerensky and Nikolai Chkheidze.

By March 1, the commandant of the Palace Guard at Tsarskoe Selo, and hundreds of high ranking officers announced their support for the provisional committee; the workers' and soldiers' revolution of February sent the monarchist officers a clear message: support for the Tsar would no longer be tolerated. The Provisional Committee attempted to gain legal legitimacy through the Tsar, but when Nikolay II refused, the committee assumed power.

The Imperial family was arrested March 3, 1917.

On April 18, 1917, Milyukov sent the Allied governments confirmation that Russia was prepared to continue the fight in World War I to a "victorious end". Immediately thereafter, massive spontaneous demonstrations of workers soldiers and peasants erupted against the continuation of war, reaching enormous proportions on April 20 and 21.

The Provisional Government responded by pushing the Foreign Minister Milyukov and War Minister Guchkov out of the government, and made a proposal to the Petrograd Soviet to form a coalition government, while Russia's participation in the war raged on.

On October 25, 1917 the workers, soldiers, and peasantry of Russia combined with the Bolshevik party and toppled the Provisional Government. The sections of the army loyal to the provisional government refused to suppress the revolts, and instead did nothing or turned sides to the revolution. At the end of the second day the Winter Palace was taken; the esteemed palace guards refusing to fight the rising red tide.

The Ministers of the Provisional Government fled the country, some of who later assisted the United States, France, Britain, and Japan in the invasion of the R.S.F.S.R. during the Civil Wars of 1918-1922.

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