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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

"What it was like": Taking the Winter Palace


Revolutionaries who were involved in the taking of the Winter Palace assemble again outside it 40 years later in 1957


From an account of their reunion in 1957:


THE WINTER PALACE WAS TAKEN in accordance with a plan worked out by the leaders of the uprising. All the exits from the square were occupied by detachments of the Military Revolutionary Committee. Workers' detachments from factories in Vasilyevsky Ostrov District were drawn up on the opposite bank of the Neva. The guns of the Fortress of Peter and Paul, which became the citadel of the Revolution, pointed formidably at the palace, while near the Nikolayevsky Bridge the Aurora weighed anchor.


After the shots from the fortress and the cruiser had died down, the Provisional Government ministers (the Prime Minister Kerensky had left the palace in the morning and fled the capital) sent a telegram "To all, all, all." They called for assistance, declaring that they were placing themselves under the protection of the army and the people. But neither the army nor the people wanted to defend the bankrupt government.


Soon after the cannon fire the signal for attack was given.


We rushed.

On to the carpets!

'Neath the gilded domes!

We took

every step

of the stairway

stepping over

fallen foes.

Thus did Vladimir Mayakovsky write about those historical events. By 2 a.m., the Winter Palace was taken. The last stronghold of the bourgeois Provisional Government fell. At that hour the dawn of a new life rose over the land.

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