Insights into St Petersburg

“Ten days that shook the world”

Is it possible to make the world a better place? If it seems to you that nothing can be done by ordinary people, consider how the party of the Bolsheviks managed to change their country and, indeed, the world. How did Lenin come to power? What were the roles of Trotsky and Stalin in the armed revolt of October 1917? Was the victory of the revolution predetermined? The tour will take you to the places where in October 1917 the drama of the October Revolution was set.

Battle-ship Aurora

The armoured cruiser Aurora was among the few vessels that survived the hell of the Battle of Tsushima. The utter defeat of Nicolas II’s navy symbolised the decay of Tsarist Russia. With the emperor’s abdication, the cruiser hoisted a red flag and sided with the revolutionary forces.
In October 1917, the Aurora was moored at Nikolaevsky Bridge, which connects the islands in the delta of the Neva with the city centre. During the October uprising, the ship secured the movement of revolutionary forces towards the city centre after the Provisional Government ordered the bridges to be drawn up.
At 9.45 pm 25 October, the shot fired from the cruiser’s forecastle gun towards the Winter Palace, the residence of the Provisional Government, signalled the beginning of the assault on the palace. The same day, the Aurora broadcast the legendary words of the proclamation “To the citizens of Russia”:

«The Provisional Government has been deposed. State power has passed into the hands of the organ of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies - the Revolutionary Military Committee, which heads the Petrograd proletariat and the garrison.
The cause for which the people have fought, namely, the immediate offer of a democratic peace, the abolition of landed proprietorship, control by the workers over production, and the establishment of the Soviet government - this cause has been secured.
Long live the revolution of workers, soldiers and peasants!»

Bastille of the North

After the Great Northern War (1701-1725) was over, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the original citadel of Saint Petersburg, lost its military significance and from that time was used as a prison. Before the sinister House of Secrets was built in 1797, the prisoners had been kept in the casemates (vaulted chambers inside the walls of a fortress). In 1870-1872, a new two-storey gaol was built in the Trubetskoi Bastion of the fortress.
Peter the Great’s own son, Prince Alexis, together with his anti-Petrine faction, were the first people to be incarcerated in the fortress for opposing the Europeanization policies of the first Russian emperor. From the time of Prince Alexis, the fortress became the principal political prison of Imperial Russia. Although the conditions inside the fortress were very hard, nothing could stop the revolutionaries from pursuing their literary and publishing work. It was in the fortress where “the stormy petrel of the revolution”, Maxim Gorky, composed the play “Children of the Sun”, Fyodor Dostoevsky - the short story “A Little Hero”, Nikolay Chernyshevsky - the novel “What Is to Be Done?”

«Although the prison is as silent as the grave, it is full of its own life protesting against captivity. If you press an ear to the door of the cell and lift up the peephole, you will hear and see how the prisoner paces his cell from corner to corner. Poor bird in the cage!»
From the memoirs of a prisoner of the Trubetskoi Gaol
With the fall of the bourgeois Provisional Government in October 1917, the arrested ministers were imprisoned in the Trubetskoi gaol. Four years later, the fortress received its last prisoners - the members of the anti-Bolshevik Kronshtadt rebellion. Under the Soviets, the Trubetskoi gaol housed a museum, whereas the House of Secrets served as an editorial office of the newspaper “The Guards of the Motherland”.

Song about the Aurora

«What are you dreaming about, the cruiser Aurora?»
Lyrics: M. Matusovsky

The sky is low over head,
The northern city is in slumber.

In the hour when the sun rises over the Neva,
What are you dreaming about, the cruiser Aurora?
In the hour when the sun rises over the Neva,
What are you dreaming about, the cruiser Aurora?

She might see the artillery light
Flashing in the dark clouds far away,
Or she might see her patrolling seamen
Striding the city in their pea jackets.

The ships are destined to confront
Severe storms and high waves.
Their fates are similar to the fates of people.
The salty breeze races across the wide tracts,
The lightning crosses the dark stormy sky.

In the hour when the sun rises over the Neva,
What are you dreaming about, the cruiser Aurora?
In the hour when the sun rises over the Neva,
What are you dreaming about, the cruiser Aurora?


Community style food

«In the 1930s the Soviet government pursued the idea of community nutrition, which included establishing restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, and bistros.»

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