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World War I: Bolshevik Timeline

The frame for the unit is M.A.I.N.: Militarism, Alliances, Imperialism, Nationalism (causes of WWI). WWI poetry is included.

Note on Timeline

All Bolshevik Revolution dates are according to the Russian calendar, which was thirteen days behind the Western calendar until February 1, 1918. (According to the Russian calendar, Feb. 1st is the same as Feb. 14th only for 1918.)
Wade, Rex A. The Bolshevik Revolution and Russian Civil War.  London, Greenwood Press, 2001.  Print.

Overarching Timeline

Russian Revolution 1920

Three Years Ago, Comrades,
- Can You Still Remember?'
Russian Soviet lithograph poster, 1920, by an unkown artist.
The Granger Collection / Universal Images Group /RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, 1920. - '1917 - October - 1920. Three Years Ago, Comrades, - Can You Still Remember?' Russian Soviet Lithograph Poster, 1920, By An Unkown Artist.. Fine Art. Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest. Web. 15 Nov 2011.

Bolshevik Revolution Timeline

April 1870

Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) is born.


Nicholas II ascends the throne.


Russo-Japanese War

Jan. 9, 1905

Bloody Sunday sparks Revolution of 1905.

Oct. 18, 1905

October Manifesto promises legislature, civil rights.

April 1906

First Duma meets.

June 1907

Stolypin dissolves second Duma and restricts electoral franchise.

Aug. 1914

Outbreak of World War I, beginning series of Russian defeats.


Growing popular discontent among both educated elite and the masses.

Feb. 9-22, 1917

Rising tide of strikes in Petrograd.

Feb. 23-26, 1917

Women’s demonstrations (February 23) expand to include most of the population of Petrograd by February 25; troops reluctant to act against demonstrators; government barricades street and orders troops to fire on demonstrators (February 26)

Feb. 27, 1917

Garrison mutiny; Petrograd Soviet formed; Temporary Committee of the State Duma formed and announces assumption of authority.

Mar. 1, 1917

Order No. 1.

Mar. 2, 1917

Provisional Government formed; abdication of Nicholas II.

Mar. 14, 1917

Soviet “Appeal to the People of the World” for a “peace without annexations or indemnities.”

Mar. 20, 1917

Tsereteli arrives in Petrograd from Siberian exile.  Provisional Government abolishes all discriminations based on nationality or religion.

Mar. 21-22, 1917

Tsereteli and Revolutionary Defensists establish leadership of Petrograd Soviet.

Apr. 3, 1917

Lenin arrives in Petrograd from Switzerland.

Apr. 4, 1917

Lenin issues “April Theses.”

Apr. 18-21, 1917

April Crisis.

May 2-5, 1917

Government crisis and reorganization to include Soviet leaders in the government: “coalition government.”

June 3-5, 1917

First All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.

June 10, 1917

Ukrainian Central Rada issues First Universal.

June 18, 1917

Russian military offensive begins.  Soviet-sponsored demonstration in Petrograd turns into massive antiwar and antigovernment demonstration.

July 1, 1917

Provisional Government delegation and Central Rada reach agreement on limited self-government for Ukraine.

July 2, 1917

Kadet ministers resign over Ukrainian issue – new government crisis begins.

July 3-5, 1917

July Days; Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders forced to go into hiding.

July 5, 1917

German counteroffensive and collapse of Russian offensive.

July 8, 1917

Kerensky becomes Minister-President.

July 18, 1917

General Kornilov appointed Supreme Commander of army.

July 20, 1917

Provisional Government extends right to vote to women.

July 21-23, 1917

New government crisis, leading to second coalition government.

Aug. 27-31, 1917

Kornilov Affair; government collapses again.

Aug. 31, 1917

Bolshevik resolution passes in Petrograd Soviet for first time.

Sept. 1, 1917

“Directory,” a five-man government headed by Kerensky, established.

Sept. 5, 1917

Bolshevik resolution passes in Moscow Soviet.

Sept. 14-22, 1917

Democratic Conference to find a new base of support for Provisional Government; debates forming an all-socialist government, but fails to reach agreement.

Sept. 25, 1917

Trotsky elected chairman of Petrograd Soviet, Bolshevik-led radical bloc takes control.  Third coalition government formed under Kerensky.

Oct. 10-16, 1917

Bolshevik leadership debates seizing power.

Oct. 21-23, 1917

MRC challenges military authorities over control of Petrograd garrison.

Oct. 22, 1917

“Day of the Petrograd Soviet” with rallies for Soviet Power.

Oct. 24, 1917

Kerensky moves to close Bolshevik newspapers, sparking the October Revolution.

Oct. 24-25, 1917

Struggle for control of key points in Petrograd between pro-Soviet and pro-government forces – the former prevail.

Oct. 25, 1917

Provisional Government declared deposed; Kerensky flees to front seeking troops; Second Congress of Soviets opens in evening.

Oct. 26, 1917

Second session of Second Congress of Soviets passes decrees on land, on peace, and on formation of a new government – Council of People’s Commissars.

Oct. 27, 1917

Decree establishing censorship of press.

Oct. 29, 1917

Vikzhel appeals for broad socialist government and forces negotiations.

Oct. 26-Nov. 2, 1917

First wave of spread of Soviet power across country, culminating in victory in Moscow on November 2.

Nov. 7, 1917

Third Universal proclaims Rada the government of Ukraine.

Nov. 10, 1917

Abolition of ranks and titles.

Nov. 12, 1917

Elections to Constituent Assembly begin.

Nov. 20, 1917

Bolsheviks take over army general staff headquarters.

Nov. 28, 1917

Arrest of Kadet Party leaders ordered.

Dec. 2, 1917

Formal armistice with Germany and Austria-Hungary, but informal armistices already begun between troops.

Dec. 7, 1917

Cheka established.


Further spread of Soviet power in south and at front.

Dec. 12, 1917

Left SRs join the government.

Dec. 16 & 18, 1917

Decrees on divorce, marriage, and civil registration.

Jan. 4, 1918

Soviet government officially accepts Finnish independence.

Jan. 5-6, 1918

Constituent Assembly opens and is closed by force.

Jan. 9, 1918

Ukranian Rada issues “Fourth Universal” declaring independence.

Jan. 15, 1918

Red Army officially founded.

Jan. 20, 1918

Decree separating church and state, including church and education.

Feb. 1/14, 1918

Russia adopts Western calendar, skips thirteen days (February 1 become February 14).

Feb.-Mar. 1918

Cossack and Volunteer Army opposition in south Russia collapses.

Mar. 3, 1918

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed, formally ending World War I for Russia.

Mar. 8, 1918

Bolsheviks’ name formally changed to Russian Communist Party.

Mar. 12, 1918

Seat of government moved from Petrograd to Moscow.

Mar. 16, 1918

Trotsky appointed People’s Commissar of War.

Mar.-May 1918

German troops occupy Ukraine and parts of southern and western regions.

May 13, 1918

Decree on food procurement.

May 14-28, 1918

Revolt of Czechoslovak Legion and beginning of hostilities with Bolsheviks.

June 8, 1918

Komuch (Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly) government founded at Samara.

June 28, 1918

Decree on nationalization of industry.

July 2, 1918

Allies formally decide to intervene in Russia.

July 16, 1918

Nicholas II and his family executed at Ekatrinburg.

Aug. 1918

Denikin’s army makes important gains in south.

Aug. 4, 1918

Decree authorizing food requisitioning detachments.

Aug. 6, 1918

Czechs and Komuch forces capture Kazan, their furthest advance.

Sept. 4-5, 1918

Bolsheviks proclaim intensified Red Terror.

Sept. 10, 1918

Red Army retakes Kazan, begins to push Czechs and Komuch army back.

Sept. 8-23, 1918

Anti-Bolshevik groups in Siberia meet and agree to create a unified government, the Directory, centered at Omsk.

Nov. 11, 1918

Armistice ends World War I on the Western Front.

Nov. 17-18, 1918

Directory overthrown and Kochak proclaimed “Supreme Leader” of Russia.

Nov.-Dec. 1918

Intensified fighting begins in south, Ukraine, and west as German troops withdraw.

Jan.-Feb. 1919

Red Army retakes most of Ukraine and some areas in west.

Mar. 1919

Kochak begins his major offensive from Siberia, makes early gains.

Mar. 2-7, 1919

First Congress and founding of the Communist International (Comintern).

Apr. 26, 1919

Kolchak’s offensive stopped before reaching the Volga River.

May 19, 1919

Denikin begins offensive from south.

June 9, 1919

Red counteroffensive against Kochak begins, pushes steadily eastward.

Oct. 11, 1919

General Iudenich launches attack on Petrograd from Estonia; stopped by October 22.

Oct. 14, 1919

Denikin takes Orel, about 235 miles south of Moscow, his furthest reach.

Oct. 20, 1919

Red Army retakes Orel, begins general offensive against Denikin.

Nov. 14, 1919

Kolchak’s capitol, Omsk, taken by Red Army.

Nov.-Dec. 1919

Red Army drives south, taking most of Ukraine and south Russia.

Dec. 16, 1919

Trotsky’s proposal for labor armies.

Feb. 7, 1920

Kolchak executed by pro-Soviet authorities in Irkutsk.

Mar. 1920

Denikin’s defeated army retreats to Crimean Peninsula.

Apr. 24, 1920

Poland attacks, beginning Russo-Polish War; makes early gains.

June-July 1920

Red Army counterattacks, re-conquers Ukraine and drives toward Warsaw.

Aug. 15, 1920

Polish counteroffensive stops Reds before Warsaw and drives them back.

Oct. 12, 1920

Armistice with Poland.

Oct.-Nov. 1920

Red offensive against General Wrangel (successor to Denikin) drives Whites from Crimea, destroys last White army; remainder evacuated by sea.

Mid 1920-Mid 1921

Height of the peasant revolt and “Green” armies in Tambov and surrounding provinces.

Late 1920-Early 1921

Red Army re-conquers most remaining territories that had declared independence, except Poland, Finland, and Baltic states, which remain independent.

Mar. 1-18, 1921

Kronstadt rebellion.

Mar. 8-16, 1921

Tenth Party Congress; Lenin introduces the New Economic Policy and a resolution “on Unity,” designed to clamp down on debate within the party.

Mar. 18, 1921

Treaty of Riga ends war with Poland.

Dec. 30, 1922

Declaration of Union and Treaty of Union lay foundation for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, completed by the approval of the constitution in January 1924.


Lenin dies.

Wade, Rex A. The Bolshevik Revolution and Russian Civil War.  London, Greenwood Press, 2001.  Print.
Davenport, John C. The Bolshevik Revolution.  New York, Chelsea House Publishers, 2010.  Print.