The Meaning of Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday was an incident of January 22, 1905 where unarmed
demonstrators marched to the Winter Palace present a petition to the
Czar. They were gunned down by Imperial guards in St. Petersburg.
The event was organized by Father Gapon, a paid agent provocateur of
the Okhranka, the Czarist internal secret police.
Father George Gapon founded the Assembly of Russian Factory and Plant
Workers, an authorized and police-sponsored organization designed to
deviate any unrest away from violent revolutionary activities. In
December1904, there was a strike at Putilov plant. By January 8, the
city had no electricity and no newspapers. All public areas were
declared closed. As fears rose at subsequent unrest Father Gapon
organized a peaceful procession to the Winter Palace to deliver a
petition to the Tsar that Sunday. Father Gapon being a provocateur
Troops had already been deployed around the Winter Palace and at other
key points around St. Petersburg. The Tsar had left the city on
January 8 for Tsarskoe Selo, the Tsar's village outside St.
On Sunday, striking workers and their families gathered at six
different positions around the city; they proceeded towards the Winter
Palace without police interference. The army pickets near the palace
first fired warning shots, and then fired directly into the crowds.
Gapon and his crowd were fired upon near the Narva Gate. Around forty
people surrounding him were killed, but he was uninjured, estimates
still average around 1,000 killed or wounded, both from shots and
trampled during the panic.
Gapon's Assembly was closed down that day, and he quickly left Russia.
Returning in October, he was assassinated by the Esers (socialist
(b) Explain why Bloody Sunday led to the outbreak of the 1905
revolution in Russia?
The Russian Revolution of 1905 was a national period of
anti-government feelings and undirected violence. The revolution was
unorganized and uncontrolled. It was more a signpost of change in the
years leading to the 1917 revolution than an attempt to overthrow
On January 22, Bloody Sunday was the event needed for many groups in
Russian society to move into active protest. However, each group had
its own aims and even within similar classes there were no overall
distinguished aims or direction. The main protestors were the
peasants, the workers, intelligentsia and liberals, the armed forces,
and minority national groups. They protested for economic, political
and anti-industrial reasons. They did not wish to overthrow, merely
make their own causes heard.
The economic situation of the peasants was very poor. However, they
were not united; each faction sought its own objectives. Unrest was
spread across the year, reaching a climax in...