WEEKEND BRIEFINGThe Moron's Weekend Briefing
Mar. 7 - Russia's 1917 February Revolution began on March 7, which was then the middle of February, in the city of St. Petersburg, which was then Petrograd, in what was then Russia, but would soon be the Soviet Union.
Tsar (or Czar) Nicholas II of the Romanov (or Romanoff) line had been away from St. Petersburg (or Petrograd) most of the winter, leading his army against the German Empire's Eastern Front (or Russia's Western Front).
Russia's peasants and workers had become exhausted by the war and its attendant famine and were exasperated by the Tsarina's indifference to their suffering. They were furious with the government, which had become two governments and therefore twice as bad. And they were tired of all this nonsense about March being February, St. Petersburg being Petrograd, the Czar being Tsar, and all those crazy, mixed-up fronts.
And so these poor bastards began a series of riots and strikes that eventually led to what is now known as the February Revolution.
With her usual delicate touch, the Tsarina tried to assuage the rioters by having them shot, but her soldiers refused to fire on the crowds. She therefore ordered the soldiers to shoot themselves and was disobeyed again.
It was a bleak moment for the House of Romanov, which like most monarchies had endured through the centuries largely as a result of its soldiers' willingness to shoot people.
On March 11 the Russian Cabinet finally became indignant and tried to dissolve the Duma, but the Duma refused to dissolve. The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies also refused to dissolve, even though the Cabinet had not asked them to. (The Cabinet could not ask them to, because the Cabinet had determined that The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies did not exist.)
On March 13, the imperial guard, acting on the orders of the dissolved Duma, which had not been dissolved, took the Tsarina and her children (who had measles) into custody. A day later, England and France acknowledged the Executive Committee of the Duma as the official government of Russia.
Meanwhile, Nicholas II had taken a train to Pskov. He knew the revolutionaries would be unlikely to pursue him somewhere so difficult to pronounce.
That evening in St. Petersburg, the Executive Committee of the Duma met with the Petrograd Soviet and agreed that the Russian Cabinet should be dissolved, and also the Tsar.
They established a joint government, with Prince Grigori Lvov at its head, nicely countering the Czar's difficult pronunciation ploy. They put the Russian Cabinet in prison, next to the Russian Credenza.
At two o'clock in the morning on March 15, the Tsar sent word to Petrograd that he was awfully sorry about the war and starvation and everything, but that he had some really good ideas about what they could do now, was looking forward to working with them, believed that healthy debate was a symptom of good government, and so on.
The new government told him to blow it out his ass.
And so at three o'clock in the afternoon, Nicholas abdicated in favor of his son (who had measles).
The new government told him and his son to blow it out their asses.
At 11:15 pm, Nicholas signed a proclamation that both he and his son (who had measles) would abdicate in favor of his brother, the Grand Duke Mikhail.
The next day, the new government told Nicholas, his son (who had measles), and the Grand Duke Mikhail to blow it out their asses.
On March 21, Nicholas II and his family were arrested. It was a confused and confusing period, and the situation would only continue to deteriorate until the October Revolution in November.
The eventual triumph of the proletariat, as everyone knows, finally put an end to all the suffering and oppression in Russia.
On March 7, 1918 the Bolsheviks changed their name to the Russian Communist Party. Bolsheviks is Russian for majority, as opposed to Mensheviks, which means minority. The Mensheviks, however, were in fact the majority party in 1918, and the Bolsheviks the minority, so the name change helped ease the work of journalists, who had become so confused they'd begun writing stories about children and ducks.
International Women's Day is March 8. That also happens to be the birthday of Kathy Ireland (born in 1963), best known for looking really good when half-naked. Kathy is not the daughter of Patricia Ireland, president of the National Organization of Women, because there was already enough irony in the world at the time of her birth.
On March 8, 1950, the Soviet Union announced that it had possession of the atomic bomb. This baffled the western powers, who were sure they had left it somewhere safe.
On March 9, 1454, Amerigo Vespucci was born. He was an Italian explorer who made many voyages to the new world at about the same time as Columbus. The two continents of the new world were therefore named for him, and it wasn't until the seventeenth century (Greenwich time) that North and South Vespucci were renamed.
Ivan Lendl turns 43 on March 7. He shares his birthday with Franco Harris (1950), Tammy Faye Bakker (1942), Willard Scott (1934), Maurice Ravel (1875), Piet Mondriaan (1872), and
Luther Burbank (1849).
Kathy Ireland shares her March 8 birthday with Freddie Prinze, Jr. (1976), Aidan Quinn (1959), Mickey Dolenz (1945), Lynn Redgrave (1943), Cyd Charisse (1923), and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Amerigo Vespucci's birthday of March 9 also marks the birthdays of Emmanuel Lewis (1971), Bobby Fischer (1943), Raul Julia (1940), Yuri Gagarin (1934), Irene Papas (1926), and Mickey Spillane (1918).
March 9 is Baron Bliss Day in Belize, Labor Day in Australia (probably observed on the 10th), and Provincial Anniversary in New Zealand.
Enjoy the weekend.
© 2002, The Moron's Almanac