The Petrograd Workers in the Russian Revolution

February 1917-June 1918


The Petrograd Workers in the Russian Revolution is a study of the Russian Revolutions of 1917 and of the first months of Soviet power as viewed and experienced 'from below', by the industrial workers of Petrograd, Russia’s capital and the centre of its revolutionary movement. Based largely on contemporary sources, it lets the workers speak for themselves, showing them as conscious, creative subjects of the revolutionary process, indeed, as the leading force of the revolution. In doing so, it sheds light on the nature and role of the Bolshevik party as an authentic workers’ organization that by the summer of 1917 had become the leading political force among workers.

Revised and expanded edition of two books published in English, namely: The Petrograd Workers and the Fall of the Old Regime (Macmillan, 1983) and The Petrograd Workers and the Soviet Seizure of Power (Macmillan, 1984).

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David Mandel, PhD. (1977), Columbia University, is a professor of political science and a labour activist. He has authored monographs and articles on politics and labour in revolutionary Russia, the Soviet Union, and in post-Soviet Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
List of Tables and Maps


1 Types of Political Culture in the Industrial Working-Class of Petrograd
The Skilled Workers
Unskilled Workers
The ‘Worker Aristocracy’
The Generational Factor

2 The Social Composition of the Industrial Working Class of Petrograd and its Districts
The Social Composition of Petrograd’s Districts
The Vyborg District
Petergof and Narva Districts
Vasilevskii ostrov
Petrograd District
Moskovskaya zastava
Nevskii-Obukhovskii District
Kolomna District
Second City District
First City District
Rozhdestvenskii District
Okhta and Porokhovskii Districts

3 The Honeymoon Period – From the February to the April Days
The Labour Movement during the War
The February Revolution – The Birth of Dual Power
Census Society
Dual Power in Light of Attitudes before the Revolution
Why Dual Power?

4 The February Revolution in the Factories
The Eight-Hour Day
The Press Campaign against ‘Worker Egoism’
Worker-Management Relations: ‘Democratisation of Factory Life’
Purge of the Factory Administrations
The Factory Committees

5 From the April to the July Days
The April Days
The First Coalition Government
The Break with Census Society
Underlying Causes of the Shift to Soviet Power

6 The Struggle for Power in the Factories in April–June

7 The July Days
The Workers and the Menshevik-SR Soviet Majority
The July Days
Reaction Unleashed

8 Rethinking the Revolution: Revolutionary Democracy or Proletarian Dictatorship?
Census Society on the Offensive
Final Rejection of ‘Conciliationism’
The Question of ‘Revolutionary Democracy’

9 From the Kornilov Uprising to the Eve of October
The Kornilov Uprising
The Democratic Conference
Setting Course for Soviet Power

10 Class Struggle in the Factories – September–October
The Factory Committees under Attack
The Struggle for Production – Workers’ Control Checked
From Workers’ Control and towards Workers’ Management
Factory Committees under Pressure ‘from Below’
The Struggle for Production and the Question of State Power
Quiet on the Wage Front

11 On the Eve

12 The October Revolution and the End of ‘Revolutionary Democracy’
Workers’ Attitudes towards the Insurrection
The Question of a ‘Homogeneous Socialist Government’
Unity from Below

13 The Constituent Assembly and the Emergence of a Worker Opposition
The Elections
Dissolution of the Constituent Assembly
The Chernorabochie and the Upsurge of Anarchist Influence
The Lines Harden

14 The October Revolution in the Factories
‘Active’ or ‘Passive’ Control?
Towards Nationalisation
Management in Nationalised Enterprises

15 Summon Up Every Last Ounce of Strength or Accept Defeat!
Dispersal of Petrograd’s Working Class
The ‘Obscene Peace’
Rise and Failure of the Opposition


Anyone interested in the social and political history of the Russian Revolution, the history of socialism, labour history, the sociology of revolutions and social movement.
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