A Day in July: An Early 20th Century Timeline

A Day in July - An Introduction
A Day in July - An Introduction


Bolshevik Leaders Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin and Mikhail Kalinin (Left to Right)

Dawn, 5th (18 N.S.) of July 1917 (1)
Pravda Offices, Petrograd, Russian Empire (2)

Seventeen-year old Kolya Stepanovich looked about at the massed military cadets who stood awaiting the final details of their orders from Minister of Justice Pereverzev.

In the last couple of days the Bolsheviks had nearly brought the rightful government to its knees in the name of their German overlords, but the government had stood firm and held its ground. Now that jackal, Lenin, would get what he was owed for his treason.

"Alright men, I have here in my hand an arrest order for Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, commonly known as Lenin, signed by the Minister of Justice Pavel Pereverzev himself." Shouted the lieutenant as the men gathered about him. "Move with speed and precision. We are to raid the Pravda Offices where he has reportedly holed up, just around the corner from here, so keep an eye out for any sympathizers and be prepared for anything."

Kolya joined his squad, sharing a nervous grin with his squad mates Sasha and Vova, before setting off at a run for the office front.

"We are here for the traitor Lenin!" screamed the lieutenant as they burst through the door to the offices. The chaos was significant, secretaries shrieked in terror, men rushed about and the printing presses came to shuddering, jolting, halt. A burst of gunfire into the ceiling quickly quieted the crowd of socialist scum, but out of the corner of his eye Kolya spotted a pair of men making their escape out the back door.

"Halt!" he shouted after the men and took off running after them, hearing Sasha curse before joining the pursuit behind him. Kolya burst through the door and saw the two men turn a corner, rushing after them with his rifle in one hand.

He came to the lightly trafficked main road just in time to see the pair enter a side alley and gave pursuit, soon leaving Sasha well behind him.

Kolya came around the corner of the alley with significant speed, crashing into a trash heap and bouncing back towards the center of the alley opening, out of breath. The two men turned after a moment's silence.

"Forget that you caught up to us kid, nothing for you here." Said one of the men - a menacing, pockmarked and mustachioed man, a Georgian by his accent (3) - while the other sought to hide his face in the shadows behind his fellow.

"You are under arrest." Kolya said, holding his rifle high, pointed at the Georgian.

"You are making a mistake" said the Georgian, and seemed to be preparing to surrender, raising his hand - and in the process expanding the cover provided by his trench coat for the second man.

However, at the last moment Kolya noticed the second man's hand in the Georgian's pocket and he opened fire.

The first bullet struck the Georgian in the chest and as he collapsed, the second man drawing forth a pistol and opening fire in a blaze. Bullets flew around Kolya's head and panic seemed to grip him tightly, but he was able to steady the rifle long enough to fire another shot through sheer willpower - hitting the second man in the head.

Ringing silence descended on the small alley, with the exception of the quiet gasps of the wounded Georgian, as Kolya slid to his knees, shaking with adrenalin and terror at how close he had come to death.

Steps sounded from the mouth of the alley and a hand fell on Kolya's shoulder. "You wounded?" asked Sasha quietly.

Kolya shook his head, but was unable to get a word out. Sasha leveled his rifle at the two men Kolya had shot and advanced on them.

He reached the Georgian quietly and put a foot on him, giving him a shake check if he could still move, resulting in a pained groan. With studied nonchalance Sasha pointed his rifle at the Georgian's head and fired a single round, bringing the gasps to an end.

His next stop was the second man, who was quite clearly already dead, and took a closer look at his face.

"By the Holy Ghost, Kolya, its Lenin!" he shouted excitedly. "You shot the traitor!".

Footnotes:

(1) I will be writing out dates of events in Russia with the Old Style Calendar (O.S.) while the New Style Calendar (N.S.) is in parentheses for events occurring in Russia until changes to the calendar happen there. Everywhere else I will be sticking with the broader used calendar. I am sorry about this, but so much of the Russian Revolution - down to the names of events - are bound up closely in the Old Style months in which they occurred that simply using the New Style would make it more difficult to follow.

(2) The period between Nicholas II's abdication in mid-March and Kerensky's OTL declaration of the Russian Republic on the 1st of September 1917 is rather weird. During this period where Russia was ruled by a Provisional Government, Russia remained an Empire without a head of state.

(3) Just to clarify, this is Josef Stalin - who was present on the day in question and served a key role in helping to hide Lenin from the authorities following the crackdown after the July Days.


Introduction to the Timeline
Welcome to A Day in July: A 20th Century Timeline. As should be clear at this point, the Point of Departure for this Timeline is the death of Lenin and Stalin during the July Days of the Russian Revolution, months before the October Revolution brought the Bolsheviks to power.

The PoD specifically for this timeline is that Lenin's spy in the Justice Ministry is five minutes delayed in bringing a warning to Lenin at the Pravda Offices that he had been declared a traitor to the realm in the early hours of the 5th of July (OS) and as such he is still present at the offices alongside Stalin when military cadets burst through the doors looking for him. Stalin is able to get him out, but not before they are spotted by one of the cadets who gives chase. This eventually results in a bloody gun fight that leaves both Lenin and Stalin dead.

As most of you undoubtedly realize, this is a ridiculously large and influential divergence from OTL which brings with it a mountain of butterflies as we move steadily onward. While the butterflies are initially contained to the leadership struggle within the Bolshevik party and the consequences of this, larger events quickly begin to play into events. By the time the OTL October Revolution occurred events will have taken a very different course with immense consequences for the rest of the world.

1917, 1918 and 1919 are pivotal years in the history of the 20th century and all that followed, laying the groundwork for the modern world and creating the tinderbox which ignited over the next century. Even to this very day, the lines drawn by diplomats and politicians during the Great War have an unimaginable impact on the world around us.

With this timeline I want to explore some of the numerous potential directions the world could have gone in if events hadn't turned out as they did IOTL. While this timeline will initially focus on the Russian Revolution it will quickly spiral out to follow developments in the wider world. Events from Palestine, Italy and the Western Front will quickly begin to play an important role before expanding even further to explore the consequences of these shifts. I can promise plenty of war, politics, intrigue and revolution. I am not sure about the update schedule just yet, but I will be putting out the first update either later today or tomorrow.

This is the most research-intensive project I have gotten myself involved in so far, and if I were starting now I might well have told myself to hold off. Everything that happens in this period is closely interconnected and events in Russia impact events in London, which in turn shift events in the Middle East. Every shift, small or large, has ever widening impacts on a scale that is hard to comprehend.

I hope that I can beg your indulgence for the narrative sections that will be interspersed throughout the Timeline. I am trying to learn how to write in a narrative style and this gives me the chance to do so. As such, any and all comments, critiques and suggestions on these would be warmly appreciated. I am, of course, always more than happy to hear everyone's thoughts and comments on the timeline itself and welcome a discussion on any of the numerous developments I have planned.

Sources:

Oliver Figes:
A People’s Tragedy

Peter Hart:
The Great War
The Last Battle

China Miéville:
October

Steven Donaldson:
Cataclysm: A History of the Great War

Simon Montefiore:
Young Stalin
The Romanov Dynasty

G.J. Meyer:
A World Undone

Robert Gerwarth:
The Vanquished

David Zabecki:
Operational Art and the German 1918 Offensives

Richard Baum - Great Courses:
The Fall and Rise of China

Alexander Watson:
Ring of Steel

Laura Engelstein:
Russia in Flames

Zara Steiner:
The Lights that Failed

Eric D. Weitz:
The Weimar Republic

David Fromkin:
A Peace to End All Peace

David Reynolds:
The Long Shadow

Edward M. Collman:
The War to End All Wars

Adam Tooze:
The Deluge

Ian Kershaw:
To Hell and Back

Peter Watson:
The German Genius

And more…
 
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Update One: The July Days
The July Days


Abdication of Nikolai II Romanov of Russia

A Russian Revolution

The great conflagration which would come to be known as the Great War had its genesis in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand von Habsburg in Sarajevo on the 28th of June 1914. Over the next month a diplomatic crisis played out culminating in the mobilization and declaration of war by half the European Continent. While all the participants had expected a short and victorious war this would prove far from the case. As Germany sought to knock the French out of the war in the face of fierce French and British resistance on the Western Front, the Russians went on the offensive against Germany and Austro-Hungary. Great battles were fought and hundreds of thousands were killed and wounded, but this would prove little more than the prelude to the struggle to come as the two sides settled into their trenches. With the German failure to defeat France in a single blow, they were put on the defensive in the west while they made ground against the Russians in the east. During the first year of the war, the Allies were joined by Portugal and Italy while the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers. The year after, in 1916, the Romanians joined the Allies as well, bringing fresh blood to the battlefield. As the war expanded, so too did the scale of the battles fought with each year bringing larger and more complex battles compared to the year before. Thus in 1915 the French would launch Offensives in Champagne and Artois while the Russians experienced defeat and retreat following the Battles of the Masurian Lakes and Gorlice-Tarnow. 1916 would see French and German forces ground down in the Battle of Verdun before the British began to take on an ever greater role in the land-based war with the Battle of the Somme, soon followed by the Russian Brusilov Offensive. However, by the end of 1916 Russia was nearing the end of its tether under the command of its autocratic Tsar Nikolai II Romanov. While the war grew ever greater in scale elsewhere, the Russian Eastern Front began to collapse in on itself.


The Russian Revolution began on the 23rd of February (8 March N.S.) 1917 with a series of strikes and protests in the Russian capital of Petrograd centered on International Women's Day where women-led protests against bread prices quickly secured the support of the city's working class, soon resulting in more than 50,000 workers going on strike - soon joined by students and white-collar workers. By the 25th (10 March N.S) the strikes had ground the city to a halt and the Tsarist government issued orders for the army to move in against the strikers. While the soldiery initially sought to quell resistance, they soon began defecting in ever greater numbers. By the following day, the 26th (11 March N.S.), entire regiments had begun mutinying and joined the strikers in opposing the Tsarists. It would be on the 27th (12 March N.S.) that events truly took a turn for the revolutionary with the final meeting of the Council of Ministers, the establishment of the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and the simultaneous formation of the Petrograd Soviet. By the end of the day the Russian capital was fully in the hands of the revolutionaries, who released prisoners, attacked and burned police stations, the headquarters of the Okhrana and the district law courts among many others. Over the next several days Tsar Nikolai was steadily pressured to hand over power to a provisional council in preparations for democratic elections. By the 2nd of March (15 N.S.) Nikolai had been persuaded to abdicate on both his own and his son Alexei's behalf, leaving the throne to his brother Mikhail who would, in turn, reject the throne on the following day, thus bringing to an end the Romanov Dynasty's rule of Russia. A Provisional Government headed by Prince Georgy Lvov was announced on the 3rd (16 N.S.) following Mikhail's announcement while the Georgian Nikoloz Chkheidze became the head of the Petrograd Soviet, thus establishing the dual-power centers of the February Revolution. While the Provisional Government would be led by former Duma members, chief among them Lvov, actual power over the populace would reside with the Soviet, causing significant tensions and difficulties as the two centers of power sought to figure out their relationship. This relationship would find itself tested by the April Crisis, which resulted from a struggle over war aims between the Foreign Minister Pavel Milyukov, a prominent member of the Kadet party, and the Soviet. The crisis was launched when a note sent by Milyukov to the Western Allies implying that Russia would continue to hold the Tsarist war goals previously established was leaked prompting major demonstrations and a Soviet push for support of their own war aims which aimed to establish an equitable peace for all without annexations or indemnifications. In response to the protests, the provisional government was reshuffled and both Milyukov and the War Minister Alexandr Guchkov resigned. Soviet politicians were invited to join the government, leaving only the Bolshevik Party to remain firmly against the continuation of warfare. The most important shifts in the reshuffling were Alexander Kerensky's assignment to the War Ministry, Pavel Pereverzev as Minister of Justice and Viktor Chernov as Minister of Agriculture who immediately began enacting the Soviet's plans for the revolution. News that the United States has entered the war alongside the Allies arrived soon after this reshuffle.

Soviet Order Number 1 was issued on the 14th (27 N.S.) of March 1917 and was the first official decree of The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The order instructed soldiers and sailors to obey their officers and the Provisional Government only if their orders did not contradict the decrees of the Petrograd Soviet, it called on units to elect representatives to the Soviet and for each unit to elect a committee which would run the unit. All weapons were to be handed over to these committees and would not be issued to officers, not even at their insistence. The order also allowed soldiers to dispense with standing to attention and saluting when off duty, although while on duty strict military discipline was to be maintained and an end was brought to the traditional terms of address in the army in a bid to end the hierarchical structures of the army. The death penalty was also abolished soon after the passing of the order. Riots and mutinies at the front became common and officers were often the victims of soldier harassment and even murder. Furthermore, the policy of the new government towards the war effort was one of fulfilling obligations towards Russia's allies, as opposed to fighting for the sake of total victory, thus giving soldiers a less credible motivation to fight. However, Minister of War Alexander Kerensky hoped that an important Russian victory would gain popular favor and restore the soldiers' morale, thus strengthening the weak provisional government and proving the effectiveness of "the most democratic army in the world", as he referred to it.


Starting on the 1st (14 N.S.) of July 1917 the Russian troops attacked the Austro-Hungarian and German forces in Galicia, pushing toward Lviv. The operations involved the Russian 11th, 7th and 8th Armies against the Austro-German Südarmée and the Austro-Hungarian 7th and 3rd Armies. Initial Russian success was the result of powerful bombardments on a scale that the enemy had never witnessed before on the Russian front. At first, the Austrians did not prove capable of resisting this bombardment, and the broad gap in the enemy lines allowed the Russians to make some progress, especially against the Austro-Hungarian 3rd army. However, the German forces proved to be much harder to root out, and their stubborn resistance resulted in heavy casualties among the attacking Russians. As Russian losses mounted, demoralization of infantry soon began to tell, and the further successes were only due to the work of cavalry, artillery and special "shock" battalions, which General Kornilov had formed. The other troops, for the most part, refused to obey orders. Soldiers' committees discussed whether the officers should be followed or not. Even when a division did not flatly refuse to fight, no orders were obeyed without preliminary discussion by the divisional committee, and if when the latter decided to obey orders it was usually too late to be of any use. The Russian advance collapsed altogether by the 16th (29 N.S.) of July. On 19th (1 August N.S.) July, the Germans and Austro-Hungarians counterattacked, meeting little resistance and advancing through Galicia and Ukraine as far as the Zbruch River. The Russian lines were broken on the 20th (2 August N.S.) July and by the 23rd (5 August N.S.) July, the Russians had retreated about 240 kilometers.


Street demonstration on Nevsky Prospekt just after troops of the Provisional Government have opened fire with machine guns July 4th 1917

The July Rising

The collapse of the offensive dealt a fatal blow to the Provisional Government and the personal authority of its leaders. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were killed. Millions of square miles of territory were lost. The leaders of the government had gambled everything on the offensive in the hope that it might rally the country behind them in the national defense of democracy. The coalition had been based upon this hope and it held together as long as there was a chance of military success. But as the collapse of the offensive became clear, so the coalition fell apart. After the socialists' entry into the cabinet, most of the Kadets had moved to the Right. They had given up their old claims of standing 'above class' and had taken up the defense of property rights, military discipline, law and order and the Russian Empire against the demands of the nationalists. All this had placed them in growing opposition to the socialists, who were under pressure from their own supporters to steer the government's policies further to the Left. Formally, it was the question of Ukrainian autonomy which was to break the coalition and throw the country into crisis. When the government delegation to Kiev conceded a series of autonomous rights to the Ukrainian Rada on 2nd (15 N.S.) July, three Kadet ministers resigned in protest. The Kadets were opposed to granting anything more than cultural freedoms to those they called 'Little Russians', and insisted that this could only be done by a Constituent Assembly. The concessions of 2 (15 N.S.) July were thus, in their view, illegal. The Ukrainian question, however, was only the final straw. The breakdown of the coalition was also caused by fundamental conflicts over domestic social reforms. Foremost among these was the Socialist Revolutionary, Viktor Chernov's policy on land, which the Kadets accused of sanctioning the peasant revolution by giving the land committees temporary rights of control over the gentry's estates. Then there was the problem of militant strikes, which the Kadets blamed on the Mensheviks who were in control of the Ministry of Labour. For Prince Lvov the collapse of this 'national alliance' was a bitter disappointment. More than anyone else, he had stood for the liberal hope of uniting the country. As its figurehead, he had symbolized the government's ideal of constructive work in the interests of the nation. Party politics were a foreign to him and he was increasingly out of his depth in the factional conflicts of his own cabinet meetings. He cursed both the Kadets and the socialists for placing class and party interests above those of the nation as a whole. The Kadets, he told his private secretary, had behaved like Great Russian chauvinists over the Ukraine; they could not see that some concessions had to be made if the state was to be saved. But he was equally fed up with the socialists, who he said were trying to impose the Soviet programme on the Provisional Government. Chernov's policy on the land committees seemed nothing less to him, as a landowner, than a Bolshevik programme of organized confiscation. In his view the general interests of the state were being sacrificed to the particular interests of parties and classes, and Russia, as a result, was moving closer to civil war. He felt politically impotent, caught in the cross-fire between Left and Right, and on the 3rd (16 N.S.) July he decided to resign.

In April 1917, Lenin had published his April Theses, declaring that the proletariat should overthrow the bourgeoisie. Though initially received with outrage, Lenin's idea of an armed, proletariat insurrection became increasingly popular and by July, rank-and-file Bolsheviks in particular spoke of overthrowing the Provisional Government, who they considered bourgeois. On 20th (2 July N.S.) June the First Machinegun Regiment was ordered to send 500 machineguns with their crews to the Front, where, it was said, they were badly needed to support the offensive. Since the February Revolution not a single unit of the Petrograd garrison had been transferred to the Front. This had been one of the conditions set by the Petrograd Soviet on the establishment of the Provisional Government. The soldiers believed that they had 'made the revolution' and that they therefore had the right to remain in Petrograd to defend it against a 'counter-revolution'. The Provisional Government was all too aware that it lived at the mercy of the garrison's quarter of a million troops. Until now, it would not have dared to try to remove them from the capital. But by June the presence of these machine gunners had become a major threat to the government's existence; and one of the main aims of the offensive was likely to transfer them to the Front. By sending them to the Front, and thus reneging on the Soviet's conditions, it gave credibility to the soldiers' claims - voiced by Bolshevik and Anarchist agitators in their regiment - that the government was using the offensive to break up the garrison and that it was thus counter-revolutionary. Since the April Crisis, the soldiers had viewed the government's efforts to continue the war with growing suspicion and in this climate of mistrust such conspiracy theories were persuasive. On 21st (3 July N.S.) June the machine-gunners resolved to overthrow the Provisional Government, if it continued with its threat "to break up this and other revolutionary regiments" by sending them to the Front. Dozens of other garrison units which had orders to join the offensive passed similar resolutions. The Bolshevik Military Organization encouraged the idea of an armed uprising, and effectively transformed itself into the operational staff for the capture of the capital. But the Bolshevik Central Committee continued to urge restraint.

On the morning of 3rd (16 N.S.) July 1917, the First Machinegun Regiment planned out demonstrations that were to be carried out later that day. With the help of Bolshevik activists, they elected a committee to help delegate resources and to gather support and by the evening of demonstrations began to break out in Petrograd. Led by the First Machinegun Regiment, armed soldiers marched through the streets, with workers and other divisions of soldiers quickly joining as they marched on the Tauride Palace, home to both the Petrograd Soviet and the Provisional Government. These demonstrators marched under the slogan "All Power to the Soviets", wanting the Soviet to not only seize but use their power. Throughout the day, soldiers fired their rifles into the air and commandeered vehicles. The following day, 4th (17 N.S.) July, the protests continued, with more soldiers and workers joining in, including a division of radical sailors from the nearby revolutionary naval base of Kronstadt. The protesters, most them Bolshevik supporters, attempted to gain support from the Bolshevik party leadership and gathered near the Bolshevik headquarters in Kshesinskaya Mansion. Lenin was uncharacteristically hesitant and did not want to speak, and when he was finally persuaded to make an appearance on the balcony, gave an ambiguous speech, lasting no more than a few seconds, in which he expressed his confidence in the coming of Soviet power but left the sailors without orders on how to bring it about. He did not even make it clear if he wanted the crowd to continue the demonstration and, according to those who were with him at the time, did not even know himself. This was to be the last public speech of Lenin's life.


Confused and disappointed by the lack of a clear call for the insurrection to begin, the Kronstadters marched off towards the Tauride Palace, where thousands of armed workers and soldiers were already assembling. On the Nevsky Prospekt they merged with another vast crowd of workers from the Putilov plant, perhaps 20,000 in all. Middle-class Petrograders strolling along the Prospekt looked on in horror at their massed grey ranks. Suddenly, as the column turned into the Liteiny, shots were fired by Cossacks and cadets from the roof-tops and the upper windows of the buildings, causing the marchers to scatter in panic. Some of the marchers fired back, shooting without aim in all directions, since they did not know where the snipers were hidden. Dozens of their comrades were killed or wounded by their own stray bullets. The rest abandoned their rifles and flags and started to break down the doors and windows of the houses. When the shooting stopped, the leaders of the demonstration tried to restore order by reforming ranks and marching off to an up-beat tune from the military bands. But the equilibrium of the crowd had been upset and, as they marched through the affluent residential streets approaching the Tauride Palace, their columns broke down into a riotous mob, firing wildly into the windows, beating up well-dressed passers-by and looting shops and houses. By 4 P.M. hundreds of people had been wounded or killed; dead horses lay here and there; and the streets were littered with rifles, hats, umbrellas and banners. The crowd in front of the Tauride Palace, not quite sure of what it should do, soon lost all its organization while the worsening weather also contributed to the collapse of the uprising. At 5 p.m. the storm clouds finally broke and there was a torrential rainstorm. Most of the crowd ran for cover and did not bother to come back.

But the unruly elements stayed on. Perhaps because they were soaked by the rain, they lost their self-control and began to fire wildly at the Tauride Palace. This caused the rest of the crowd to scream and stampede in panic: dozens of people were crushed. Some sailors began to penetrate into the palace, climbing in through the open windows. They called for the socialist ministers to come out and explain their reluctance to take power. Chernov was sent out to calm the crowd. But as soon as he appeared on the steps angry shouts were heard from the sailors. The crowd surged forward and seized hold of him, searching him for weapons. One worker raised his fist and shouted at him in anger: "Take power, you son of a bitch, when it's handed to you.'' Several armed men bundled the SR leader into an open car. They declared him under arrest and said they would not release him until the Soviet had taken power. A group of workers broke into the Catherine Hall and interrupted the Soviet's session: "Comrade Chernov has been arrested by the mob! They're tearing him to pieces right now! To the rescue! Everyone out into the street!" Chkheidze proposed that Lev Kamenev, Julius Martov and Leon Trotsky should be sent out to rescue the Minister. But Trotsky was the first to get there. Pushing his way through the shouting crowds, he went straight to the car, where the hatless, disheveled and terrified Chernov sat under arrest in the back seat, and climbed up on to the car. The Kronstadters all knew the figure of Trotsky and waited for his instructions. Chernov's captors were asked where they were planning to take their hostage. "We don't know," they answered. "Wherever you wish. He is at your disposal." But Trotsky called for Chernov to be released. The sailors shouted angrily at Trotsky: they could not understand why Chernov was to be let go, if the aim of their mission was to overthrow the government. But not knowing what to do on their own, they sullenly agreed to release the Minister. "Citizen Chernov, you are free," declared Comrade Trotsky, opening the car door and motioning him to get out. Chernov seemed half-dead with fright and plainly did not understand what was happening to him. He had to be helped out of the car and led, like a frail old man, back into the Tauride Palace. A critical moment had passed, one of the most famous in the history of the revolution, and with it had also passed the initiative for a seizure of power.


Yakov Sverdlov, A Prominent Bolshevik

The July Collapse

As darkness fell on the 4th (17 N.S.) of July, the crowds dispersed. Most of them made their way back home, damp and dejected, to the workers' districts and barracks. The Kronstadt sailors wandered around the city, not knowing where to go. Throughout the night the affluent residential streets reverberated to the sounds of broken windows, sporadic shots and screams, as the last participants of the failed uprising took out their anger in acts of looting and violence against the middle and upper classes. The Petrograd military headquarters were inundated with telephone calls from terrified shopkeepers, bankers and housewives. In a last desperate act of defiance, 2,000 Kronstadters seized control of the Peter and Paul Fortress. They did not know what to do with the conquered fortress - it was just a symbol of the old regime which it seemed a good idea to capture as a final hostage of the uprising. The sailors slept in the prison's empty cells, and the following day agreed to leave it on condition that they were allowed to make their own way back to Kronstadt, keeping all their weapons. By this stage, loyal troops were flocking to defend the Tauride Palace. The Izmailovsky Regiment was the first to arrive, on the evening of the 4th, with a thunderous rendering of the Marseillaise from its military band. As they heard the sound of it approaching, the Soviet leaders embraced each other with tears of relief: the siege of the Tauride Palace was finally over. Like most of the loyalist troops, the Izmailovksy Regiment had been turned against the Bolsheviks by leaflets released that evening by the Minister of Justice Pereverzev accusing them of being German agents. On the next day, 5th (18 N.S.) July, the rightwing press was full of so-called 'evidence' to that effect. Much of it was based on the dubious testimony of a Lieutenant Yermolenko, who claimed to have been told by the Germans, whilst he was a prisoner of war, that Lenin was working for them. The timely release of these charges had an explosive effect, turning many soldiers against the Bolsheviks for a short while. Acting under orders from Pereverzev, a large detachment of military cadets ransacked the Pravda offices at dawn on the 5th (18 N.S.) July in search of Lenin.

Lenin had been given early warning of the treason charges by a secret contact in the Ministry of Justice. Hoping to mitigate the xenophobic reaction which was bound to follow, he called for an end to the demonstrations in an article on the back page of Pravda. But it was too late. By the morning of the 5th (18 N.S.), the capital was seized with anti-Bolshevik hysteria. The right-wing tabloids cried for Bolshevik blood, instantly blaming the 'German agents' for the reverses at the Front. It seemed self-evident that the Bolsheviks had planned their uprising to coincide with the German advance. It was during the raid on the Pravda offices that Lenin and his companion, the Georgian Josef Stalin, were caught and killed trying to escape a couple of military cadets (1). Early in the morning of 6th (19 N.S.) July a massive task force of loyalist troops, complete with eight armored cars and several batteries of heavy artillery, moved up to liberate the Kshesinskaya Mansion from the Bolsheviks. Amidst the anti-Bolshevik hysteria, there had been outrage in the right-wing press at the thought of the unwashed Bolshevik workers and soldiers rummaging through the velvets and silks of the former Tsar's one-time mistress Kshesinskaya's boudoir. Not a single shot was fired in the recapture of the ballerina's former mansion. The 500 Bolsheviks still inside surrendered without resistance, despite the large stores of weapons at their disposal. The Bolshevik leaders had been too busy burning party files to organize resistance. Later that day, Pereverzev ordered the arrest of various Bolshevik leaders on charges of high treason. Most of them stayed in the open, risking arrest, and in some cases even giving themselves up. Alexander Kerensky stepped into the chaos and took power in Petrograd, succeeding Prince Lvov as Minister-President of the Provisional Government. For the sake of restoring civil order, the government restricted civil order more broadly; street processions in Petrograd were momentarily banned and the government authorized the closure of any publication that advocated military disorder. On 12th (25 N.S.) July, Kerenksy reinstated the death penalty for rebelling, deserting, and disorderly soldiers on the Eastern Front, a move which earned him the approval of conservatives and the hatred of the soldiery, even though Kerensky himself had long been affiliated with the Socialist Revolutionaries. On 18th (31 N.S.) July, Kerensky moved the new government ministers into the Winter Palace, and moved the Soviet from the Tauride Palace to the Smolny Institute. The suppression of the demonstrations and the restructuring of the government marked the end of the dual power centers which had dominated Russia since February. The new Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik government under Kerensky's leadership shifted in response to the July Days toward a more conservative path.

The blows of the July Days would cause incalculable amounts of damage to the Bolshevik party and caused immense internal strife. While major party leaders like Lev Kamenev were imprisoned, others, such as Grigory Zinoviev, went into hiding and a few were even killed, such as Lenin and Stalin, men of the Mezhraiontsy party (2) - most significantly Trotsky and Anatoly Lunacharsky - sought, and were able to secure, shelter from the storm with the Soviet leadership - who were well recognized the dangers of allowing counter-revolutionary actions against figures who, while affiliated with the Bolsheviks, remained outside the Bolshevik party. As a result, men like Chernov, Martov, Tsereteli and Chekidze sought to protect their fellow socialists against the increasingly counter-revolutionary tenor, including supporting the Mezhraiontsy as a patriotic alternative to the "German" Bolsheviks. This initiated a fierce internal struggle amongst the Bolsheviks. While much of the upper leadership in the party remained paralyzed without Lenin's guiding hand, some of the younger and more dynamic leaders in Petrograd - most significantly Yakov Sverdlov and Grigori Sokolnikov - rallied their party in opposition to what they viewed as treason to the revolution and sought to take control of the party from the old stalwarts. This provoked a protracted battle, often fought in the shadows, as the leaders were pursued by representatives of the Provisional Government. This served to significantly fracture the Bolshevik party - particularly in Petrograd - and spread chaos and dissension throughout the party (3). A key aspect of this struggle centered on those who wanted to compromise with the government, with some even calling for the party to join the other Soviet parties in a governmental coalition, and those who demanded an immediate peace and an uncompromising continuation of the Russian Revolution - holding to Lenin's April Theses and evoking his name in order to strengthen their case. This struggle would last for three weeks after Lenin's death and left nothing but havoc in its wake, destroying the fragile party discipline in Petrograd and leaving many of the Provincial Bolshevik parties alienated from the party in Petrograd. The struggle came to an end in Petrograd on the 26th (8 August N.S.) July when Sokolnikov's safe house was revealed to the Provisional Government by compromise-supporters amongst the Petrograd Bolshevkis. Sverdlov fled Petrograd the following day with his closest supporters and made his way to Moscow where he hoped to secure a base of support for his faction of the Petrograd Bolsheviks. In the meanwhile, Kamenev and Zinoviev were able to authorize the merging of the Petrograd Bolshevik party with the Mezhraiontsy while they sought to persuade the district Bolsheviks to do the same (4). This abandonment of party by compromise-supporting Petrograd Bolsheviks in favor of the Mezhraiontsy would swiftly propel Trotsky to new heights, making him the undisputed master of the far-left within the Petrograd Soviet, while alienating many Bolshevik party-faithful from the compromisers. When Sverdlov arrived in Moscow in early August (O.S), he was met favorably by Nikolai Bukharin, Felix Dzerzhinsky and Andrei Bubnov who were leading figures in the far-left of the Moscow Soviet and made up the leadership in Moscow of the anti-compromise Bolsheviks. All three were horrified at the murder of Lenin and stood firmly opposed to the compromisers who they viewed as traitors to Lenin's party (5). Thus, by August the once tightly unified and centralized Bolshevik party had begun to splinter. The Mezhraiontsy, who would be joined by Kamenev on his release from prison in September and Zinoviev following the rescinding of his arrest order, compromised the vast majority of the inner Bolshevik party - particularly in Petrograd - and were able to draw on quite a bit of support from several of the district Soviets, however they lost much of their tenuous control of the Bolshevik party's military organization and a good deal of their mass support in and around Petrograd. At the same time, the Moscow Bolsheviks declared themselves the true inheritors of Lenin's revolution and set out to secure control of the city's Bolshevik party apparatus while seeking to establish themselves in the surrounding cities - making surprising early gains in Yekaterinburg's Bolshevik leader Filipp Goloshchyokin through his friendship with Yakov Sverdlov.



Lavr Kornilov, Supreme Commander-in-Chief

Kornilov's Rise to Power

On 21st (3 September N.S.) August the Germans captured Riga, and it seemed that they might take Petrograd at any moment. The Empire was falling apart, with self-appointed nationalist governments in Finland and the Ukraine declaring their own independence, while each day brought fresh newspaper reports of militant strikes by workers, of anarchy on the railways, of peasant attacks on the gentry's estates and of crime and disorder in the cities. The propertied classes led the call for order. Hysterical with fear, they gambled vast amounts of money, sold their properties cheaply, and lived wildly for the moment, as if it was the final summer of Russian civilization. The funeral of seven Cossacks killed by the Bolsheviks during the July Days became a stage for the propertied classes to indulge themselves in a patriotic show of emotion. The funeral began with a sung requiem in St Isaac's Cathedral, followed by a solemn procession through the streets of the capital with each of the seven caskets on a white gilded horse-drawn carriage flanked on either side by liveried Cossacks and incense-waving priests. It was not so much a demonstration of democratic solidarity as a mournful lament for the old regime. There was a growing atmosphere of counter-revolution. Newspapers called for the Bolsheviks to be hanged and the Soviet to be closed down. In the absence of prominent Bolshevik leaders, Chernov and Trotsky became the new 'German spies' of propaganda and the bête noire of the Right. Bolshevik workers were assaulted by the Black Hundred mobs while respectable middle-class citizens flocked to the various right-wing groups which blamed Russia's ills on the Jews and called for the restoration of the Tsar, or some other dictator, to save Russia from catastrophe.

As the head of the Russian army, who was thus responsible for the failed offensive, Brusilov soon fell victim to this swing to the right. He had never been liked at Russian High Command, Stavka, where the reactionary generals were suspicious of his democratic leanings, and the failure of the offensive now gave them the chance to step up their campaign for his dismissal. Pressure mounted for his replacement by General Kornilov, a well-known advocate of a return to military discipline in the traditional style. The Kadets even made it a basic condition of their joining Kerensky's government. Although the new Premier had himself been the author of the policies pursued by Brusilov, he was quite prepared to ditch them both if that was the price of power. Brusilov sensed he was about to be dismissed when Kerensky called on him to convene a meeting of all the front commanders at Stavka on 16th (29 N.S.) July. He made the mistake of sending only an aide-de-camp to meet Kerensky at the Mogilev station: the train had arrived early and he was still involved in strategic decisions affecting the Front. It was not official protocol for the Supreme Commander to meet the War Minister; but Kerensky, who behaved like a Tsar and had come to expect to be treated like one by his subordinates, flew into a rage and sent an adjutant to Brusilov with orders to come to the station in person - which he promptly did. But Kerensky was a vain man, obsessed with the trappings of power, and this final breach of etiquette was enough to seal the fate of his Commander-in-Chief. On 18th (31 N.S.) July Brusilov was dismissed. Hurt by the obvious political motives behind his dismissal, he retired to Moscow for a long-earned rest with his wife, who had fallen ill. The man who replaced him, General Lavr Kornilov, had already achieved the status of a national savior in right-wing circles. Small and agile, with a closely shaven head, Mongol moustache and little mousey eyes, Kornilov came from a family of Siberian Cossacks. His father was a smallholder and a soldier, who had risen to become a lower-ranking officer. This comparatively plebeian background set Kornilov apart from the rest of Russia's generals, most of whom came from the aristocracy. In the democratic atmosphere of 1917 it was the ideal background for a national military hero. Kornilov's appointment was hardly merited by his military record. By 1914, at the age of forty-four, he had risen no higher than a divisional commander in the Eighth Army. In 1915 Kornilov had been wounded and taken prisoner by the Austrians after refusing to obey Brusilov's command to withdraw his division from the Front. The following year he had escaped from prison and, disguised as an Austrian soldier, had made his way back to Russia by foot, where he received a hero's welcome. It was at this time that Kornilov began to attract powerful political backers in the form of Chairman of the State Duma Mikhail Rodzianko and Minister of War Alexander Guchkov. They secured his appointment as Commander of the Petrograd Military District in March 1917. During the April riots Kornilov had threatened to bring his troops on to the street. The Soviet had opposed this and taken control of the garrison, forcing Kornilov to resign. Various right-wing groups were scandalized by the Soviet's interference in army matters, and looked to Kornilov as a champion of their cause. They were united by their opposition to the growing influence of the Soviet over the government, particularly foreign and military matters, in the wake of the April crisis. Business leaders, increasingly opposed to the policies of Skobelev, the Menshevik Labor Minister, and the gentry, equally hostile to Chernov, the SR Minister of Agriculture, were also beginning to rally behind the anti-Soviet cause. The Officers' Union and the Union of Cossacks campaigned for the abolition of the soldiers' committees and the restoration of military discipline. All these groups came together through the Republican Centre, a clandestine organization of bourgeois patriots, officers and war veterans formed in May above a bank on the Nevsky Prospekt.


Kornilov was the servant, rather than the master, of these political interests. His own political mind was not particularly developed. A typical soldier, he was a man of very few words, and of even fewer ideas. "The heart of a lion, the brains of a sheep" was former Chief of Staff and Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Alexeev's verdict on him. During his time in prison he had read about the life of Napoleon, and he seemed to believe that he was destined to play a similar role in saving Russia. Most of Kornilov's political pronouncements were written for him by Boris Savinkov, Kerensky's Deputy Minister of War. During his youth Savinkov had been a legendary figure in the SR terrorist movement. He was involved in the assassination of several government figures, including the Minister of the Interior Vyacheslav Plehve, at the turn of the century. Like many terrorists, however, he had a strong authoritarian streak: "You are a Lenin, but of the other side," Kerensky once told him. After a period of exile abroad, Savinkov returned to Russia in 1917 and attached himself to the movement against the Soviet, which he called the "Council of Rats', Dogs' and Chickens' Deputies". It was he who engineered Kornilov's appointment, first, on 8th (21 N.S.) July, as Commander of the South-Western Front, and then, ten days later, as Commander-in-Chief. Other than a well-known advocate of military discipline, it is not clear that Kerensky knew what he was getting in his new Commander. Kerensky harbored Bonapartist ambitions of his own, of course, and likely hoped that in Kornilov he might find a strong man to support him. To secure his appointment, Savinkov had advised Kornilov to stress the role of the commissars as a check on the power of the soldiers' committees at the Stavka conference on 16th (29 N.S.) July. This was a much more moderate stance than that of Denikin and the other generals, who advocated the immediate abolition of the soldiers' committees, and it would enable Kerensky to appease the Right while salvaging the basic structure of his democratic reforms. Thus Kornilov had given the impression that he might be prepared to fit in with Kerensky's plans.

Summary:

The February Revolution is launched in Russia and quickly picks up steam as government after government runs into crises and collapses.

The July Days see the population of Petrograd rise in Bolshevik favor.

The support for the Bolsheviks collapses around them as Lenin and Stalin are killed in a shoot-out with military cadets and the Bolshevik party splinters.

Following the rise of counter-revolutionary forces, Lavr Kornilov is able to secure command of the Russian military.
Footnotes:

(1) Up until this point everything has been OTL events. The death of Lenin and Stalin, as shown in the Introduction, marks the Point of Divergence for this Timeline though it will be a bit before events outside the Bolshevik Party truly change.


(2) The Mezhraiontsy, usually translated as the "Interdistrictites," were members of a small independent faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP), which existed between 1913 and 1917. Although the formal name of this organization was Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (Internationalists), the names "Mezhraionka" for the organization and "Mezhraiontsy" for its participants were commonly used to indicate the group's intermediate ideological position between the rival Menshevik and Bolshevik wings of the divided RSDLP. Its importance stemmed less from the size of its following, which numbered fewer than 4,000 members, than from the stature of its leaders, most of whom were talented organizers, theoreticians, polemicists and agitators such as Trotsky, Lunacharsky, Antonov-Ovseenko, Ryazanov, Uritsky, Manuilsky, Pokrovsky, Yoffe and Volodarsky. IOTL these men played a central role in ensuring the success of the October Revolution after the Mezhraiontsy merged with the Bolsheviks.

(3) I can't stress enough how important this leadership struggle is with regards to popular support within Petrograd and particularly as regards the ability of the Bolsheviks to coordinate the population of Petrograd. This means that the Bolsheviks, now the Mezhraiontsy, are unable to reliably call up the population and martial revolutionary forces in their favor with any degree of ease. Given time, they should be able to eventually mobilize the population, but it would take a good deal of time and effort to do so.

(4) Kamenev and Zinoviev strike a deal with Trotsky to subsume the Petrograd Bolsheviks into the Mezhraiontsy, but remain outside it for the time being in order to try and distance this new faction from the perceptions of the Bolsheviks at this point in time in the capital. Once things settle down, they will join the Mezhraiontsy leadership officially. Trotsky is the most powerful figure in the party at this point in time, but is highly reliant on former Bolsheviks to retain control of the party apparatus which has suddenly been joined to his relatively small faction.

(5) This marks the beginnings of the Moscow-Aligned Reds who claim to represent Lenin's party and to support his wishes. They only have the most tenuous of powerbases in Petrograd, but dominate the Moscow Bolsheviks as well as several other district parties in the surrounding area. These four figures initially form an unofficial quadrumvirate in the party leadership, but Sverdlov and Bukharin are definitely the heavy hitters of the four at this point in time. They have some interesting connections in both the Caucasus and Yekatrinburg at this point.

End Note:

This was mostly a rehash of OTL but I felt it important that we went through all of these things so that everyone is at least partially on the same page. I am sorry about tossing out so many different names and characters in such a condensed format, but I have actually tried to limit it where possible while retaining the richness of the events. Explaining the numerous factions of the left and right-wing in Revolutionary Russia is incredibly complex and difficult with parties constantly splintering and reassembling, factionalizing and condensing, with incredible speed.


As you have seen the first set of butterflies are largely limited to the Bolshevik party apparatus, with Lenin and Stalin's deaths provoking an internal struggle while a number of Bolsheviks seek to escape what they view as a sinking ship. We will have to wait to the next update before we see the first major impact of events outlined here.
 
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Great work and certainly watching, but there's one thing that's bugging me. What happened to the Menshevik and SR parties and sympathies which were the substantial majority of the Left at this point? The Bolsheviks are just one faction and hardly the leading one prior to what was essentially a coup and consolidation of power during the Civil War; to the peasantry, in particular, it's not the Bolsheviks who are the poster child of the Revolution but the SRs they sent to represent them. Maybe you plan on covering this more later... I'm just hoping you remember this isent a conflict of two uniform organized sides
 
Watched.

My personal hope is somehow a constitutional empire by the end, but I'll be along for the ride regardless.
I am happy to have you along.

As regards a Constitutional Empire, you will just have to wait and see. I will say that I have spent several months researching all of this, and I have spent a good deal of time thinking about it but a constitutional empire seems highly unlikely at this point imo. The liberal forces had by this point largely been marginalized and most of the primary actors were solidly in favor of a republic rather than an empire.

Great work and certainly watching, but there's one thing that's bugging me. What happened to the Menshevik and SR parties and sympathies which were the substantial majority of the Left at this point? The Bolsheviks are just one faction and hardly the leading one prior to what was essentially a coup and consolidation of power during the Civil War; to the peasantry, in particular, it's not the Bolsheviks who are the poster child of the Revolution but the SRs they sent to represent them. Maybe you plan on covering this more later... I'm just hoping you remember this isent a conflict of two uniform organized sides
Thank you for the interest and comments, I hope to see more of them in the future.

I am not sure what you mean? The Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) are mentioned plenty of times. The focus of this update was on the Bolsheviks and their troubles following the death of Lenin and Stalin. We will get into the wider impacts on the Russian political scene in the next update. For now the Mensheviks and SRs are part of the Kerensky government with the Trudoviks and Kadets. The Mensheviks are a majority in the Petrograd Soviet, with a significant minority of Bolsheviks (now Mezhraiontsy) and SRs.

The Mensheviks, SRs and Kadets will all pllay prominent roles as we move forward. One of the things I wanted to explore was how a Bolshevik party without Lenin and Stalin might develop - one key aspect of which is that they would be far more likely to enter into coalition governments with other socialist parties. This is really just setting the scene and getting everyone on the same page. Events really start to go haywire in the next couple of updates.

I hope to completely confound you with numerous factions, parties and intrigue as we move forward. It is something I have played around with quite a bit in my previous timelines and I plan to bring a similar level of detail to this one.
 
A Constitutional Imperial Russia would be great. I hope that means Nicholas, and his family won't be killed out of hand?
 
A Constitutional Imperial Russia would be great. I hope that means Nicholas, and his family won't be killed out of hand?
As mentioned, I think that this is too late for Nikolai to actually return to power under anything other than the most extraordinary circumstances. I will say that I have a number of plans for the Romanov family that should be interesting.
 
Kyril and Vladimir, looks like you might replace ol' Nicholas.

Regardless, looking forward to more, my vain hope for happy times in Russia and a continued Empire are unlikely, but I'll take the former over the latter.
 
Thank you for the interest and comments, I hope to see more of them in the future.

I am not sure what you mean? The Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) are mentioned plenty of times. The focus of this update was on the Bolsheviks and their troubles following the death of Lenin and Stalin. We will get into the wider impacts on the Russian political scene in the next update. For now the Mensheviks and SRs are part of the Kerensky government with the Trudoviks and Kadets. The Mensheviks are a majority in the Petrograd Soviet, with a significant minority of Bolsheviks (now Mezhraiontsy) and SRs.

The Mensheviks, SRs and Kadets will all pllay prominent roles as we move forward. One of the things I wanted to explore was how a Bolshevik party without Lenin and Stalin might develop - one key aspect of which is that they would be far more likely to enter into coalition governments with other socialist parties. This is really just setting the scene and getting everyone on the same page. Events really start to go haywire in the next couple of updates.

I hope to completely confound you with numerous factions, parties and intrigue as we move forward. It is something I have played around with quite a bit in my previous timelines and I plan to bring a similar level of detail to this one.
My apologies; after re-reading and remembering the focus of the update was looking at the internal factionalism of the Bolsheviks vs. the broader factionalism of the Russian Left I can see I might have been a little paranoid in expressing concern so early. It was just that near the end it was vearing a little close to a sudden broad societal turn to the Right after only some (relatively minor) events... but it occurs to me that this is just the perception within Petrograd where the tastes of the broader peasentry holds little sway.
 
Kyril and Vladimir, looks like you might replace ol' Nicholas.

Regardless, looking forward to more, my vain hope for happy times in Russia and a continued Empire are unlikely, but I'll take the former over the latter.
I honestly don't know how much to say or reveal here. I think I can say that you aren't likely to see the Empire in any recognizable form any time soon. The legacy of the Romanov Empire is of course immense and will have an important influence moving forward, but Nikolai, Kyril or Vladimir coming to power are among the longest of long shots.

As regards a happier time in Russia, I would say that in some ways it will be a happier experience than IOTL while at others in others it will be even worse. Russia's future does not exactly have a rosy outlook at this point in time, but one thing I can promise is that events will play out quite differently from OTL.

My apologies; after re-reading and remembering the focus of the update was looking at the internal factionalism of the Bolsheviks vs. the broader factionalism of the Russian Left I can see I might have been a little paranoid in expressing concern so early. It was just that near the end it was vearing a little close to a sudden broad societal turn to the Right after only some (relatively minor) events... but it occurs to me that this is just the perception within Petrograd where the tastes of the broader peasentry holds little sway.
Not a problem, I am happy to hear the complexity of these issues called out. All the events described near the end of the update are actually from OTL, where there was a pretty severe counter-reaction to the July Days and the failed Kerensky Offensive which led to Kornilov's rise as the leading man of the political right. Most of the events in the countryside will only really come into play at a later point, when they become relevant. For now it is the events in Petrograd, at the Front and in Stavka at Mogilev and finally in Moscow which make up the central pillars early on.
 
It feels a little strange seeing a TL of yours outside of Before 1900, Zulfurium, but it seems like you've brought your usual quality writing and attention to detail with you! Definitely watching this.


An on-topic question - how integrated were the Mezhraiontsy with the Bolshies at this time? Did they have separate party organs and/or platforms? In any case, with folks like Zinoviev and Kamenev at the helm of the Bolsheviks, something like a genuine alliance with the embryonic Left-SRs in elections seems like it'll be in the cards.
 
It feels a little strange seeing a TL of yours outside of Before 1900, Zulfurium, but it seems like you've brought your usual quality writing and attention to detail with you! Definitely watching this.

An on-topic question - how integrated were the Mezhraiontsy with the Bolshies at this time? Did they have separate party organs and/or platforms? In any case, with folks like Zinoviev and Kamenev at the helm of the Bolsheviks, something like a genuine alliance with the embryonic Left-SRs in elections seems like it'll be in the cards.
Great to see have you join us Goulash, I am happy to hear that you are enjoying it.

The Mezhraiontsy are a completely seperate party organization from the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, but was much smaller than either. The merging of the two party structures is by no means painless or efficient, and there is a pretty large drop-off in Bolshevik party support when the merger occurs. The important thing to keep in mind is that Zinoviev is on the run and Kamenev is imprisoned with Trotsky and various other socialist politicians (the Provisional Government weren't exactly very clear on the distinctions between the two parties), so much of the actual merging of the party structures and organs is accomplished by people in lower positions within both parties.

The Left-SRs (who don't yet exist as a faction in and of themselves) will be a rather natural complement to the Mezhraiontsy, but perhaps the most important other party here will actually be the Mensheviks. With Lenin gone, the single largest stumbling block preventing a partnership between the two factions of the RSDLP are gone - and as such you can expect to see a lot of cooperation between them.

The Bolsheviks - when they merge with the Mezhraiontsy - don't lose their entire Military Organization, but a significant faction within it decides to side with Sverdlov in the early clashes, and as such there is a splintering and weakening of the organization which will take time and effort to repair.

The death of Lenin and Stalin are by no means a death-blow to the Bolsheviks or Mezhraiontsy, but it is a major setback in a particularly critical time period.

Given the interest people are expressing, I think I might be able to speed things up a bit and get another update out sometime in the middle of the coming week.
 
I love revolutionary Russia alternate history with a passion. Consider me a devoted reader!

Up with the saviour(or is he?) of the republic!
 
I love revolutionary Russia alternate history with a passion. Consider me a devoted reader!

Up with the saviour(or is he?) of the republic!
I am happy to have you, next update should be out tomorrow, finished an update I had been working on (Romanov Drama Ahoy) and a shorter narrative interlude today. Oh, and wasted almost 2 hrs watching the single most mindnumbing WC match between Denmark and France I can remember. Then again there might be a reason for that. Anyway, Denmark is on to the elimination rounds, so I am happy.

Different POD, but this TL reminds me of giobastia's TL "White Dawn" with a similar setting, being the Kornilov "coup" doesn't happen as we know it, the October Revolution is put down and Russia continued presence in the Great War contributes to shorten it.
https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/white-dawn-–-alternative-timeline-of-russian-revolution-and-ww1.156052/

Can't wait to see where that's heading.
I hadn't seen giobastia's TL before, it does seem to have some similarities - but he seems to have made a number of conclusions quite different from my own. As you will see tomorrow, events are soon going to go very haywire - in a direction I don't think I have seen anyone else explore before.

I really look forward to sharing with all of you. I still need to proof read, but I feel hopeful that I will get the update out by early afternoon (Danish time).
 
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