The Russian Revolution, as covered by Sky

In the wake of the first Russian Revolution in March 1917, let’s survey some of the media coverage.

Sky News

–There are fears in London to­night over just who will come to power in the wake of this week’s events in Petrograd. Just days after US President Wilson in­sisted that the Tsarist re­gime was ‘stable’, re­ports from Russia in­dicate that Tsar Nicolas II has ab­dic­ated, leaving a dan­gerous power va­cuum in the cap­ital. To help make sense of the re­cent polit­ical de­vel­op­ments, we have on the line Prof. Hawk Stanford from the Hoover Institute. Professor, what sort of re­gime do you pre­dict will take power in Russia after this week’s revolution?

- Well, Kay, the first thing to note is that this re­volu­tion will not be wel­comed in the West for sev­eral reasons. Despite Russia lacking any of the polit­ical freedoms and civil liber­ties that we preach to the world about, the Tsar did bring a measure of sta­bility to Russia. Also, Tsar Nicolas II was a key ally in the War on Germany and any in­dic­a­tion that the new ré­gime may scale back Russia’s mil­itary com­mit­ments on the Eastern Front will be met with con­sterna­tion in Whitehall. Did I men­tion sta­bility? Oh yes. Finally, there is a worry that anti-​Western ele­ments may ex­ploit the situ­ation to es­tab­lish in­ter­na­tional so­cialism. This would not be con­du­cive to British geo­pol­it­ical in­terests in the region.

- Thanks, Professor. We’ll have to cut it short now be­cause on the line from Petrograd we have the Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, Irakli Tsereteli. Mr. Tsereteli, there have been con­cerns about the use of vi­ol­ence during the course of re­volu­tion, re­ports of broken win­dows at the Winter Palace and some Cossacks have been in­jured. Do you con­demn the violence?

- Well, Kay, this was a re­volu­tion so it would be very sur­prising if there was no vi­ol­ence of any sort…

- So, what you are saying is that the vi­ol­ence this week was ac­cept­able? The broken windows?

- What you have to un­der­stand is that we have had peaceful demon­stra­tions in the past and they have just been ig­nored by the media — or worse, vi­ol­ently massacred…

- But vi­ol­ence is violence.

- Kay, the main vi­ol­ence in Russia has al­ways come from the state. Bloody Sunday, the Lena Goldfields Massacre–

- But it is the case, Mr. Tsereteli, that viewers at home will see broken win­dows and turn off. What does this crim­inal damage achieve?

- It has achieved the ab­dic­a­tion of the Tsar and the es­tab­lish­ment of a Provisional Government.

- Mr. Tsereteli, we’ll have to end this here. Irakli Tsereteli there, from the Petrograd Soviet de­fending this week’s violence.

BBC News

- Following the re­volu­tions in Russia last week, Prime Minister Lloyd George has come under fire for the UK Government’s botched at­tempts to evac­uate British hol­i­day­makers. We turn now to our cor­res­pondent in Petrograd.

- Yes, John. I’m here at Petrograd air­port and have been talking to people cut­ting their hol­i­days short in an at­tempt to get home safely. The Coalition Government has faced heavy cri­ti­cism from hol­i­day­makers for what they say was a hes­itant and in­com­petent ef­fort to evac­uate UK na­tionals from Russia in the wake of the re­volu­tion. I’m joined here by Phil who took his family on a ten-​day package hol­iday to a ski re­sort in the Caucuses. Phil, what has been your ex­per­i­ence of the revolution?

- Well, I booked this package over the summer and we’re ab­so­lutely gutted that the Russian pro­let­ariat has chosen to launch its re­volu­tion now. At the end of the day, we’ve worked hard and saved our money to go on this hol­iday and it’s dis­ap­pointing that our en­joy­ment has been marred by people seeking fun­da­mental human rights. We’re gonna try and get the Provisional Government to pay the ex­cess on the hol­iday in­sur­ance but I’ll not hold me breath.

- As you said, John, some dis­gruntled hol­i­day­makers. Back to the studio.

The New Statesman columnist

It’s a cold morning out­side the Putilov factory and the workers are on strike. Across the prom­enade, a line of Cossacks stare men­acingly at us, like furry-​headed agents of Tsarist ab­so­lutism. Glass lies strewn on the street, each glit­tering shard a symbol of a po­ten­tial fu­ture. I meet the eyes of a Russian worker, just for a second. I can tell he is not a seasoned Socialist Revolutionary from the tremble of his lips; a steely re­solve matched with the nervous­ness of a naive first-​time striker.

Elsewhere, dour­faced Bolsheviks are selling Pravda. It’s frus­trating to see the old parties at­tempt to con­trol what has thus far been a spon­tan­eous and cre­ative move­ment. Yesterday morning we were kettled by Cossacks for sev­eral hours. Kids lit fires to keep warm, burning price­less arte­facts from a nearby palace. I’m not in­ter­ested in whether this is a bourgeois-​democratic re­volu­tion or will pass un­in­ter­rup­tedly into a so­cialist re­volu­tion be­cause only the pro­let­arian dic­tat­or­ship is cap­able of solving the ne­ces­sary tasks; I care about who can gen­erate heat from a Rembrandt.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with a crowd of angry women, some­thing re­mark­able happened. They reached a line of sol­diers, eye­ball to eye­ball they lined up in an os­tens­ible dis­play of mu­tual an­ti­pathy. Then one of the sol­diers winked in a friendly manner. With this al­most im­per­cept­ible ges­ture I knew, at that mo­ment, that a move­ment had been born. This is only the beginning.

With kind per­mis­sion from thegreatun​rest​.net

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