Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Bloody Sunday 1905

Tsar Nicholas II
Bloody Sunday was a massacre on January 22 1905 in St. Petersburg, Russia, where unarmed, peaceful demonstrators marching to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II were gunned down by the Imperial Guard while approaching the city center and the Winter Palace from several gathering points. The shooting did not occur in the Palace Square. Bloody Sunday was an event with grave consequences for the Tsarist regime, as the disregard for ordinary people shown by the massacre undermined support for the state.The events which occurred on this Sunday were assessed to be one of the key events which led to the eventual Russian Revolution of 1917.

On the Sunday, January 9, striking workers and their families gathered at six points in the city of St. Petersburg in Russia. They were organised and led by Father Gapon. Holding religious icons and singing hymns and patriotic songs (particularly "God Save the Tsar!"), a crowd of "more than 300,000"proceeded without police interference towards the Winter Palace, the Tsar's official residence. The army pickets near the palace released warning shots, and then fired directly into the crowds to disperse them. Gapon was fired upon near the Narva Gate. Around forty people surrounding him were killed, but he was not injured.Although the Tsar was not at the Winter Palace, he received the blame for the deaths, resulting in a surge of bitterness towards himself and his autocratic rule from the Russian people.
The number killed is uncertain but the Tsar's officials recorded 96 dead and 333 injured; anti-government sources claimed more than 4,000 dead; moderate estimates still average around 1,000 killed or wounded, both from shots and trampled during the panic. Nicholas II described the day as "painful and sad".As reports spread across the city, disorder and looting broke out. Gapon's Assembly was closed down that day, and Gapon quickly left Russia. According to one version, returning in October, he was assassinated by the order of the Combat Organization of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party after he revealed to his friend Pinhas Rutenberg that he was working for the Okhrana or Secret PoliceThis event was seen to inflame revolutionary activities in Russia and contributed to the Revolution of 1905. The writer Leo Tolstoy was also emotionally affected by the incident.