Petrograd, the site of the Russian Revolution

It would be no exaggeration to say that Petrograd achieved the February Revolution. The rest of the country adhered to it. There was no struggle anywhere except in Petrograd. There were not to be found anywhere in the country any groups of the population, any parties, institutions, or military units, which were ready to put up a fight for the old regime. This shows how ill-founded was the belated talk of the reactionaries to the effect that if there had been cavalry of the Guard in the Petersburg garrison, or if Ivanov had brought a reliable brigade from the front, the fate of the monarchy would have been different. Neither at the front nor at the rear was there a brigade or regiment to be found which was prepared to do battle for Nicholas II. 

History of the Russian Revolution
by Leon Trotsky
trans. by Max Eastman
Haymarket Books, 2017

The peasants and the workers

Not the army but the workers began the insurrection; not the generals but the soldiers came to the State Duma. The soldiers supported the workers not because they were obediently fulfilling the commands of their officers, but because…they felt themselves blood brothers of the workers as a class composed of toilers like themselves. The peasants and the workers — those are the two social classes which made the Russian Revolution.

by Tugan-Baranovsky,
an economist, writing on March 10, 1917 in the
Birzhevoe Vedomosti

as quoted in History of the Russian Revolution
by Leon Trotsky
trans. by Max Eastman
Haymarket Books, 2017

The theft of the revolution by the ruling class

The masses shook off their good-naturedness only a good while later, when they were convinced that the ruling classes wanted to drag everything back and appropriate to themselves a revolution not achieved by them, just as they had always appropriated the good things of life not produced by themselves.”

History of the Russian Revolution
by Leon Trotsky
trans. by Max Eastman
Haymarket Books, 2017

Those who lose by revolution rarely call it by its real name

Those who lose by revolution are rarely inclined to call it by its real name. For that name, in spite of the efforts of spiteful reactionaries, is surrounded in the historic memory of mankind with a halo of liberation from all shackles and all prejudices. The privileged classes of every age, as also their lackeys, have always tried to declare the revolution which overthrew them, in contrast to past revolutions, a mutiny, a riot, a revolt of the rabble. Classes which have outlived themselves are not distinguished by originality.

History of the Russian Revolution
by Leon Trotsky, 1932
translated by Max Eastman
Haymarket Books, hardcover edition, 2017

Readiness to seize power – Trotsky QOTD

…the revolutionists can create a break in the soldiers’ mood only if they themselves are actually ready to seize the victory at any price whatever, even the price of blood. And this highest determination never can, or will, remain unarmed.

History of the Russian Revolution
by Leon Trotsky, 1932
translated by Max Eastman
Haymarket Books, hardcover edition, 2017

The beginning of the February Revolution on Women’s Day

…the fact is that the February Revolution was begun from below, overcoming the resistance of its own revolutionary organizations, the initiative being taken of their own accord by the most oppressed and downtrodden part of the proletariat–the women textile workers, among them no doubt many soldiers’ wives. The overgrown breadlines had provided the last stimulus. About 90,000 workers, men and women, were on strike that day. The fighting mood expressed itself in demonstrations, meetings, encounters with the police.

History of the Russian Revolution
by Leon Trotsky
trans. by Max Eastman
Haymarket Books, 2017