Thursday, March 16, 2017

Today -100: March 16, 1917: Revolution


Headline of the Day -100:


From a confluence of bread rioting, strikes, military mutinies, some of it the results of plots, some of it not, and a regime that had lost all legitimacy through its inability to feed its population, prosecute the war effectively or keep its soldiers supplied with food, clothing, and ammunition, plus the suspected pro-German sympathies of various members of government and the incompetence and/or batshit craziness of others (plus the influence on the tsarina of the late Rasputin).

Czar Nicholas II finally resolves the whole tsar/czar dilemma by becoming just plain Nick, abdicating in the face of a revolution about which the world outside Russia has heard so few concrete details. In theory, he will go into exile, leaving behind his 12-year-old hemophilic son Alexei as the new tsar, with his brother the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich acting as regent. Or, you know, not.

The NYT is reporting that Interior Minister Alexander Protopopov (a follower of Rasputin, who Protopopov thinks is still giving him advice from beyond the grave) has been killed, which he hasn’t. He has, in fact, turned himself in to the Duma in order to escape being killed by the revolutionary mob. The Bolsheviks will execute him (the syphilis probably would have done for him fairly soon anyway).

The new prime minister appointed by the Duma to head the provisional government is Prince Georgii Lvov, who is associated with the Constitutional Democrats (Kadets).

The British government is said to be pleased at the overthrow of the weak tsar and the ouster of various allegedly pro-German officials, and expects that Russia will now fight Germany much more effectively. Andrew Bonar Law tells Parliament that Russian discontent was not caused by opposition to the war but to it not being carried out “with that efficiency and energy which the people had expected.”

The NYT also welcomes “The New Birth of Russia”: “The Russian people, through trusted leaders in the Duma and men of loyalty and enlightenment outside the Duma, have assumed the direction of affairs in the Empire.” They say the Revolution is mainly aimed at “Germanophile treason and conspiracy,” because everything is about German “plots” for the NYT now.

The Russian ambassador to the US, George Bakhmeteff, can shed no light on events in Russia (a country he will not, I believe, ever see again).

An Alien Registration Bill is introduced in the New York Legislature permitting the governor to require aliens from a country with which the US is or might soon be at war to register and requiring hotels, boarding houses etc to tell the police about any alien guests.

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