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This page contains all 15 turns of A People's Tragedy.

Turn 1: February 1917

White army of Russia farewell of slavianka

White army of Russia farewell of slavianka

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Demonstrations within the streets of Petrograd at the start of the revolution

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At the start of 1917, Russia was at war. Not any ordinary war fought on the basis of a short campaign, but a long gruelling fight to the death. It is a total war, a gigantic test of the modern industrial state. A test Russia failed.

1914 shocked the unprepared participants, none moreso than Russia. A crippling loss in East Prussia at Tannenberg was followed by a bloody push into the Carpathians under General Brusilov that broke the Austrian army for good. Unfortunately, it would not be repeated. Incompetence led to the squandering of many Russian lives and the collapse of the offensive. Russia has been retreating ever since.

By February 1917, the Germans have pushed deep into the Russian Empire. Refugees flood the cities. Despite there being enough food and enough railways, locomotives are pushed off the tracks due to the lack of spare parts to repair them. Food wagons rot in the sidings. Army trains continue to ferry men west, where they fight for a lost cause. Even government ministers have lost faith, and many throughout Russia plot and plan about what to do next. Anti-war sentiment is high in Russia, as weariness sets in. It won’t take much to give the crumbling empire a final push, but then, what next?

Turn 2: February 27th, 1917 (O.S February 14th)


Bread line guarded by Imperial Police

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The cold weather continues to cripple the efforts of railways to bring supplies into many cities, including Petrograd. Strikes called since January continues, although this matters little as nothing can be produced without the railways properly running.

At a meeting, the Duma later attacked the government today in response to food shortages, which threaten to worsen to the point that rationing may be necessary. Overseas, the Germans continue pulling back to the Hindenburg line, a move that has been nearly completed.

Turn 3: February 28th, 1917 (O.S February 15th)


Repurposed goods wagons carrying soldiers to the front

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Yesterdays strikes continue, although the results disappoint both the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Strikers did not march on the Tauride palace as hoped, while many others were arrested by the police. An estimated 200,000 are or were on strike.

The Czechslovak brigade secured a request to access military plans as the growing force is capable of significantly influencing the order of battle. Additional requests for recruitment of POWs have been rebuffed, although many are recruited anyways through proxies.

Turn 4: March 1st, 1917 (O.S February 16th)


Bolsheviks agitating workers in Dnipropetrovsk

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Today Andar Shagdyrov, a charismatic intellectual exile, arrived in Ulan-Ude this morning where he gave a speech to a crowd. It was broken up by the police, but he and his Buryati nationalist associates escaped. Workers in the city downed tools shortly afterwards and began striking.

Strikes continue to spread throughout the Empire, most notably in Almaty, Astana, and Dnipropetrovsk. In Almaty, Kazakh nationalists began encouraging the strikers and quarrelling with the police. By the afternoon, the protests became increasingly violent and police fired into the crowd. The crowd was unable to find many guns to reply with. Astana had a similar series of events, although the nationalists raided several warehouses and began distributing out food to the people. The emboldened strikers marched on the city centre where they took several streets and began to build barricades. The police drove back them back in the evening and called on help from local military units in putting down the uprisings in both Almaty and Astana. The Kazakh nationalists have begun forming militias composed of deserters and workers in response, and fortifying several districts in those cities.

Dnipropetrovsk had the worst outbreak of violence when a local Bolshevik group attacked the local armoury and encouraged the workers to declare a soviet. The police immediately descended on the factories where this was happening and drove out the revolutionaries with heavy gunfire. An attempt to storm the local military armouries went poorly and by the evening the police had broken up the strikes and killed or captured many Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks continue to agitate for an end to the war, although the local offices were raided and quickly the Bolsheviks lose contact with the Ukrainian city.

Later on today, a group of educated locals in Ulan-Ude were gathered by Shagdyrov and the Buryati National Assembly was secretly founded, with a membership of five. Their first order of business was the establishment of a weekly periodic "The Ulaan", written in Buryati language using Latin script, as in "Buriaad zonoi uran eugeiin deeji" (Excerpts from the Buryat folk literature) by B. B. Baradin. They immediately begin working on the secret newspaper, with plans to publish it as soon as possible and to include extracts on Buddhist traditions.

Turn 5: March 2nd, 1917 (O.S February 17th)

Sibelius - Humoresque No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op

Sibelius - Humoresque No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 89

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Samarakand Turkic nationalists

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There was some good news for Russia today as Hamadan was captured in Western Persia. The Zimmerman telegram was also released to the public in the United States yesterday, an event that has pushed the United States further towards war with Germany and hopefully bringing an end to the conflict.

The unrest in Almaty and Astana continues. The police were forced to retreat from angry crowds after one group stormed a police station and a prison in Almaty, freeing up guns and prisoners. Police snipers were deployed to protect the central districts of the city, while local Cossack units arrived in the afternoon. The Cossacks attacked the protestors with sabres and began to clear the streets in Astana. Several prominent imams were killed in the struggle. By evening the crowds had been dispersed and most areas of the city retaken.

Unrest also flared up in Samarakand today, inspired largely by events in Almaty and Astana. Turkic nationalists also raided bakeries and government warehouses before distributing food out to the local people. The police telegraphed to the central government for military support, and now several battalions are moving to put down the revolt and arrest Turkic nationalists. While under control, the events in Almaty are becoming increasingly difficult to contain as mobs continue to raid prisons and free the prisoners, allowing many dangerous politicals and criminals to escape.

The Dnipropetrovsk rioters were crushed today by the police and the local Cossacks. Carrying on from yesterday, the strikers were quickly dispersed, and order was restored to the city. Most Bolsheviks in the surrounding areas are being forced into hiding as a crackdown on dissenters begins. In Turkestan the local Bolsheviks robbed a government supply train. When the soldiers in one of the wagons realised what had happened, they deserted and promptly began looting the train with the Bolsheviks before fleeing. They have been nicknamed the “Red Bandanas”. The Bolshevik leaders in exile have also written letters to Woodrow Wilson, congratulating him on his re-election. A secret soviet has also been founded by Emanuel Kviring with the blessing of Lenin, to agitate the striking workers in Petrograd and other cities.

With unrest quickly rising, the Russian Minister Mikhail Rodzianko informs the tsar that the violence will not be possible to contain for much longer and that immediate urgent concessions are required, as now the supply situation in Petrograd is critical. The Tsar orders the police to enforce curfews and break up the strikers, informing Rodzianko that he is wasting his time, and that he still intends to visit the front soon to boost the morale of the soldiers.

Turn 6: March 3rd, 1917 (O.S February 18th)


Almaty revolutionaries firing on police snipers and Cossacks

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Almaty was lost to the crowds today, after they invented a kind of firebomb made from bottles filled with inflammable fluid. These were thrown at Cossacks and policemen, and into several buildings. The fires started quickly grew out of control and began spreading. With few options, the police barricaded themselves in the central districts and let the fire spread to the rest of the city while abandoning armouries and police stations for their own safety. The crowd acquired more firearms and freed the rest of the prisoners this way, although hundreds died in fires and in shootouts with the police.

By the evening, local military units have begun to deploy on the outskirts of the city with artillery, while the police and Cossacks reinforced the central districts. Large portions of Almaty are under control of the crowds, who take the opportunity to loot shops and warehouses. Houses are being broken into, and the wealthy unable to escape are being robbed and murdered. Telegrams have been sent for additional support to reinforce the brigade outside Almaty. Shortly after the news of military arrival spread, barricades were built in the streets while socialists seized the opportunity to declare a workers soviet.

In the wake of the violence in Astana, Imams and Turkic nationalists began agitating the crowds throughout the Turkic lands, rousing nationalist feelings and opposition towards the tsar. News soon spread of the events in Almaty, further enticing anger. Martyrs are being held up as an example by these revolutionaries. Soon many people begin to down tools, go on further strikes and hold protests. The police and Cossacks begin breaking these up and raiding meetings when possible and imprisoning hundreds of people. Similar events occurred in Samarkand, although the rallies and propaganda sheets being printed are now being cracked down on after news of Almaty spread. Funerary services were held late at night in remembrance of those killed in the events of the past few days.

Ulan-Ude quietened down today after the crowds of striking workers were broken up by local police. This does not stop the nationalists from going out and speaking to workers or peasants when possible, usually by going to their villages or factories to give a speech. The police broke up several of these today, although the villages are virtually untouched by the authorities. Unfortunately for the nationalists, the peasantry care little for the idea of an independent Buryat state. Townspeople are more amenable to the idea.

With unrest increasing, there have been orders for a heightened state of alertness by the military, units of which are moving to several cities to quell unrest. While order has been restored to most areas, breaking up of strikes in Petrograd and other major cities is considerably difficult. The cold weather is the ally of the Tsar, as by evening many cold workers went home, contributing to government success in clearing the streets. Officials in most major cities also held meetings to discuss emergency measures for food distribution and the restoration of order.

Turn 7: March 4th, 1917 (O.S February 19th)


Map of the current situation in Russia and the war

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This morning it was announced food rationing will be introduced throughout many cities in Russia in response to chronic food shortages, including Petrograd in 10 days’ time. Panic buying ensued, with huge queues forming outside shops. Later people turned to vandalism when many of them ran out. A potential conspiracy in government was noted when Rodzianko leaked a message that the Bolsheviks had attempted to communicate with him in the hopes of forming a soviet. The Okrhana later raided the house of the Bolsheviks who wrote this message. This does not stop the spread of rumours about conspiracies in the government, most of which involve them betraying the Russian people in the war. The “Patriotic Circle”, composed of army officers and MVD staff was formed in response, with the object of rooting out traitors and protecting the empire. They have made efforts to recruit postal workers, and telecommunications operators.

The Almaty uprising was put down today when local military units had brought enough artillery with them and soldiers to reinforce an assault. The workers districts were shelled and many of the workers there fled after this was followed up by the Cossacks and police retaking control of much of the city. By the afternoon, the remaining districts were taken and arrests were made of the principal ringleaders of the insurrection. It took longer to put out the fires and begin clearing the barricades, but by the evening it was clear that the Tsarist forces had restored order to the city. A congratulatory telegram was sent by the tsar shortly afterwards. He announces he shall leave Petrograd in three days to visit the front.

Astana is still a centre for Turkic and Socialist agitators, as it was revealed they had formed a mutual alliance to promote the cause of an independent (and socialist) Turkic nation. They are limited largely to printing secret pamphlets and holding rallies and meetings with workers when possible, but have been successful in rousing up their anger by telling them of the atrocities in Almaty and the introduction of bread rationing in the future. Many workers, spurred on by the socialists, are going to go on strike once more in response.

Similar events are presently underway in Samarkand and Kyzylorda, where Imams, Turkic nationalists, and Socialists are spreading news about the events in Almaty. They have had some considerable success as the combination of religious fervour, a demand for social justice, and a longing for independence from the Tsar have proven to be a volatile mix. The police have been forced to step up their activities as a result, and requests for additional men and materials have been telegraphed as the unrest quickly spreads throughout the Turkic nations. This culminates in a successful heist on a Samarkand bank by Bolsheviks and Nationalists, several of who are killed in the event or otherwise captured. Police officers lives are frequently in danger, and several have abandoned their posts or have otherwise been murdered.

Turn 8: March 5th, 1917 (O.S February 20th)


Funerary procession for slain Turkic martyrs

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With food shortages worsening in the wake of panic buying, many cities in Russia are now seeing widespread protests and strikes by those unable to get enough food. While unrest has flared up in Siberia and Turkestan over the past week, they have now spread to Finland. Helsinki and Tampere saw bread queues break down in the morning when the bakeries ran out of food earlier than expected, leading many to begin protesting in the streets. While orderly, the protestors returned in the evening with signs and banners demanding an end to the war and a new constitution. The Putilov factory in Petrograd was also forced to close today as the workers there announced a strike tomorrow.

Elsewhere, the protestors were not so orderly. In Ulan-ude, news of the Almaty uprising arrived there and caused a new wave of strikes and protesting. By the afternoon, they had turned violent once more and took on an aggressive “anti-Russian” and nationalist sentiment. Cossacks initially used the flats of their sabres to drive the crowds back, but a drunken one accidentally used the sharp edge and killed an old babushka. The protestors attacked the police and ransacked multiple buildings throughout the city, before dispersing by the evening. Nationalists and Socialists have constantly agitated the crowds, and a crackdown has been launched by the police in Ulan-ude. Rural peoples outside of the city later heard of the events and have begun to kill or root out figures of authority in response.

Although the revolt in Turkestan is in the process of being brutally put down, many of the nationalists, religious figures, and other intellectual “revolutionary” types have fled. With bread rationing to be announced, several prisons and warehouses in Almaty, Astana, Samarkand, and Kyzylorda have been raided and their prisoners freed (many having taken the opportunity to flee). The nationalists soon managed to buy several horses from a sympathetic farmer near Astana and used them to travel throughout the province, often to villages to spread the word that an uprising is now happening. The confused peasantry have a lukewarm response, although in several villages they have beaten up the nationalists or otherwise beaten up the land captains. In the cities, ad hoc secret armed units are being formed by the Turkic nationalists when possible, although they have had to flee to the countryside to avoid capture by the police.

By evening, several of the cities in Turkestan are slowly coming under further restrictions as the police and military crackdown on unrest. Arrests are being made of Imams who have been agitating their followers, although this does little. Many strikes are still planned for tomorrow, although the police are ready to restore order. Funerary services are being held in remembrance of the fallen, although the police have banned such activities on account of them being a place for revolutionaries to organize in. The theft of many firearms and other military equipment has been of considerable concern to the authorities in Turkestan, especially after the bank robbery yesterday. One group of revolutionaries were discovered to have stolen a car and alcohol. Despite not knowing how to drive and being intoxicated, they drove out of the city at 10pm to spread the revolution before crashing into a telegraph post and knocking out the only connection out of Astana. The event has driven the police there into a state of panic. They immediately declared a curfew and shot a telecommunications engineer by accident after assuming (falsely) he was a saboteur.

Turn 9: March 6th, 1917 (O.S February 21st)


Members of the Buryat guard

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As expected, the workers of the Putilov factory in Petrograd went on strike today, although the factory managers locked out the workers anyways. As in many other cities, they went out onto the streets to protest the introduction of rationing and the war. However, the protesters did not disperse as expected and soon began to attack shops and throw stones and snowballs at the police. Hearing of the events in Helsinki, the Petrograd protestors began to make banners that demanded bread and peace. The tsar ordered the Finnish parliament shut down, and order to be restored as soon as possible. By evening, the protests in Finland and Petrograd took on a much more political flavour and increasing hostility towards the regime. Many in the government were fearful of a repeat of the unrest in Turkestan, and several pro-regime types have aligned themselves with the Patriotic circle.

Today, the Buryat National Committee was founded (in secret) by a certain Shagdyrov, the dangerous foreign-educated intellectual. A structured and hierarchical organisation, it sought to work towards the establishment of an independent Buryat nation. They also managed to publish their first edition of their newspaper, with articles touching on all topics of interest from Buddhism, the unrest throughout Russia, an article promoting an independent Buryatia, and anti-Russian propaganda. The papers were taken by horseback out into the rural areas, where they distributed out the papers and read them to a mildly receptive audience. Although the local policeman or land captain was technically meant to stop such activities, by this stage they had either left or were killed in multiple villages. Several party members elected to find those sympathetic to the cause, and form a “Buryat guard” composed of workers, rural peoples, and deserters.

However, unrest continues to flare up in the rest of the Empire. Attacks on authority figures increased, while strikes crippled what remained of working infrastructure and industry. With the telegraph cable out of Astana ruined, the police there introduced a curfew and put the city on lockdown due to fears of another insurrection. This doesn’t stop the residents (in particular the nationalists) from trying, as they firebomb police stations and try to cut telegraph poles down. The police began heavy firefights with the radicals, but by the afternoon people returned to the streets once more in their relentless search for food. They merged with the nationalists and forced their way into even more police stations and warehouses. An armoury was raided at one stage and the guns distributed out to the crowd (although they did not know how to use them effectively). Children were reported to have thrown bullets into fires for amusement. By the evening, the police had barricaded themselves again and soldiers had been deployed. They opened fire on the mob after firebombs were thrown, and eventually dispersed the crowds once more, before dismantling multiple barricades.

That night, the Turkic Socialist Secessionist Party was formed in the city by various nationalists, allying themselves with a number of Bolsheviks in the city. The unrest continued to spread throughout Turkestan, with reports of party members firebombing police stations and attacking telecommunications. Unfortunately, these were uncoordinated and random, with all sides becoming confused and panicked. Many have accidentally shot each other (or themselves), with the police having similar stories. Stolen food was handed out to the crowds by party members, while they also preached a message of insurrection. The authority throughout Turkestan by this stage had mobilized all the military units possible and deployed them to all hotspots of unrest. Ending the revolt was considerably harder, as many soldiers were unwilling to shoot civilians. These soldiers complained to their superiors later on about being used in this way.

Turn 10: March 7th, 1917 (O.S February 22nd)


Imperial soldiers moving to crush the unrest in Turkestan

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Despite increasing unrest, the Tsar lead for the general staff headquarters in Mogilev today, seemingly unaware of how bad the situation really is. Indeed, the unrest that has sprouted up in Turkestan has grown like a mould in the Buryat areas, with the peoples there now holding regular protests and striking. The Buryat nationalists have been rapidly churning out posters that promote a vitriolic “Pro-Buryat, Anti-Russian” message, and talking about how the “The Urus is sinking”. The poster shows a Russian chained to all of the empires smaller nationalities and dragging them down with him. These have been increasingly effective in drumming up support for the movement, although the police have made efforts to crush it. They have been unable to do so however, and many protesters are now occupying parts of Ulan-ude and revolutionary types being the ones to spur them on. Anti-war and bread demands are slowly becoming more political, much like in the rest of Russia.

In Turkestan the unrest is potentially the worst, with the crowds in Astana rebuilding yesterday’s barricades and making multiple attempts to win over the soldiers. Shouts and cries of “murderers!” were frequent, and the nationalists held funeral services for fallen martyrs. By the afternoon, more fighting had taken place and the soldiers had shot even more unarmed citizens. In the evening, an argument between a soldier and an officer became heated, and he shot his superior. In a panic, the soldiers realised that they were all culpable of treason, and announced an uprising had begun to their comrades. Half of the soldiers there left and joined the crowds, bringing firearms and a military component to them that night. Several joined or assisted the Red Bandanas and other militia groups being formed by the Turkic nationalists.

Throughout the rest of Turkestan (in Almaty, Samarkand, and Kyzylorda), the nationalists have been stockpiling stolen weaponry, recruiting fanatics and deserters, plus agitating the toiling classes to rise up against their masters. They had significant success in Kyzylorda among the peasantry after they announced they would give the farmers support to rebuild their farms and buy back land so they could own it, although many would desire being allowed to seize land from the aristocracy and redistribute it among fair lines. In Samarkand, the Imams continued to preach and encourage people to undertake personal sacrifices in the struggle against the tsar, citing the martyrs throughout the rest of Turkestan who have died in the struggle.

Closer to home in European Russia, the Patriotic Circle as a group has gained some more coherence and support among the ruling classes and army. Unlike many other groups, it possesses a pragmatism that allows it to cultivate many supporters throughout the bureaucracy in particular regardless of ideological bent. Indeed, the groups rather shadowy activities and full extent are as of yet unknown, but as a group interested in the future of Russia (regardless of who rules), the promise of stability in such a time as this is alluring. At least some good news today for the Empire is that her forces (with British support) have decisively routed the Ottomans once more, and that Baghdad will soon be captured by the allies.

Turn 11: March 8th, 1917 (O.S February 23rd)


Mutinous soldiers in Astana

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Today the temperature in Petrograd rose to a mild minus five degrees Celsius. Unlike earlier days, people are emerging in massive numbers to enjoy the warmth and search for food. Today is also international woman’s day, a day dedicated to the other sex and their battle for an equal standing with men. During the morning, many women from all parts of society left the warmth to protest on the streets, with most commercial and industrial enterprises closed for lack of workers. Initially in high spirits and orderly, they were later joined by poorer textile workers who were interested by the less lofty goal of bread. By noon, they had begun to shout at their husbands to come out on strike as well, throwing snowballs at factories and later marching on the city centre. As the afternoon progressed, soon well over 100,000 workers were now on strike and fought with the police.

Most of these crowds were dispersed (taking the opportunity to break into shops on the way home), but the Cossacks were reluctant to ride down women. This was abused by several thousand protestors to cross the ice into the city centre and surround the duma, where the Kadets were debating legislation to promote additional rights for religious and ethnic minorities. As it turns out, many of the Cossacks do not have whips, their horses are not used to city streets, and they lack experience with large crowds. The workers have failed to disperse, and have become much bolder and aggressive. They chanted La Marseillaise outside of the Duma, intimidating the police in and around the Duma as a consequence.

The unrest in Petrograd comes at a time of some good news for the war effort. With Baghdad being captured, an attack on Riga repulsed, and increasing American hostility towards Germany there is reason to believe that American assistance could help lift some strain off the Russian Empire before the eastern front collapses again. Of course, events in Turkestan and Ulan-Ude threaten to undermine this. The nationalists there have again whipped up the crowds into frenzy and started to assault police stations alongside armouries and warehouses. The Buryat guard (although small, without experience or weaponry) helped spearhead this, as several of them had military experience. They successfully seized a warehouse full of forty-year old rifles and distributed them throughout the crowd, which began to build barricades again and shoot at the police. The police responded by hiding in buildings and on rooftops with snipers to prevent the crowds from advancing further. Later in the evening, the Buryat guard seized the railway station but were later driven back by the police. They have telegraphed for military support.

In Turkestan meanwhile, Astana is rapidly falling into chaos. The mutinying soldiers stole several cars (and vodka), driving around the streets with banners declaring that a revolution was taking place. With their guns poking out of the cars the bayonets make them resemble giant metal hedgehogs, which terrify the police as they barrel down the streets. Several more military units mutinied and joined with the crowds, ransacking armouries and building barricades. The police declared an emergency and set up their own barricades in addition to snipers nests. Holding the central districts of the city, they have forced back the crowds and soldiers for a short while, hoping to hold out until military support arrives. In the evening, the crowd discovered a rusty old Napoleonic siege gun, which they packed with cordite and pieces of metal. The gun exploded and immediately ripped apart six people, before showering the police and protestors with red hot shrapnel.

By this stage, most civil and military authorities in Russia are panicking as they realise a full scale uprising is in progress in both Turkestan and Buryatia. They have sent all available military units to restore order, with suitable numbers of artillery and cavalry to support them. In Almaty, the soldiers and police are working together to arrest as many revolutionary types as possible, although the soldiers have reduced morale. Isolated attacks in villages throughout both areas are common. The Tsar wrote that he had “slept well and played dominoes” in his diary today.

Turn 12: March 9th, 1917 (O.S February 24th)


Demonstrators in front of the Winter Palace

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This morning the protests in Petrograd continued. Spurred on by socialist agitators after meetings in the factories, the workers resolved to march on the city centre again. At the same time, the Kadets and Octobrists held cross-party talks over the heavy-handed response of the regime. Of course, this came too late as many workers brought iron bars, bricks, knives, and anything else they could find to fight with. Half of the city is on strike now, with even tram services and the railways closing down. Many concerned people in the government are terrified of a possible repeat of the events of 1905, and have made arrangements in case such a thing happens.

As the morning progressed, the workers began looting the more affluent shops and pushing over trams and cars. Rocks and ice were thrown at the police and Cossacks, with several also being savagely beaten in the process. By this stage, they were now joined by people from all walks of life, from students to bank clerks and even the wealthy sorts. Many of those on the streets are just ordinary people. Of course, they listen to men who jump up onto lampposts to preach and become excited by the events. Some are sporting red banners and slogans. However, this was all changed by a sudden explosion in the Tauride palace, killing several Octobrists and wounding many more. Several Bolsheviks were seen fleeing the area with petrol bombs. Panicking, the police opened fire on the crowds and killed several innocents in the process. The enraged crowds descended on the police and savagely beat some to death, while soldiers were deployed to restore order. By the evening, the crowds became bolder and started to construct barricades. A general strike was now effectively in place, crippling the entire city. The police are also launching a mass arrest of all Bolsheviks they can find.

In Turkestan meanwhile, the Bolsheviks have allied themselves with the nationalists there through formation of the “Red Turks”, a group of former soldiers and volunteers to help fight for an independent Turkestan. However, after news of the explosion in the Tauride Palace and the crackdown on Bolsheviks, one crowd declared the creation of an independent Crimean Soviet in open revolution against the government. Within several hours, the siege of the flat in Sevastopol where the Bolsheviks had been hiding ended (the police were alerted to the Bolshevik flat after a lady who stayed next door complained of the noise). The flat had set ablaze in the process, killing several prominent Bolsheviks. With their spontaneous and random uncoordinated uprisings, they have only badly damaged their own position. They have better luck in Turkestan, primarily in Almaty where a mix of crowds and soldiers are slowly taking over the city. A soviet has been declared there to rule over districts under workers control, although the police are still holding out for reinforcements.

Turn 13: March 10th, 1917 (O.S February 25th)


A barricade in Petrograd

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The protests in Petrograd continue to worsen. In the largest strike yet, over 200,000 people down their tools to take to the streets. Almost everything in Petrograd is either closed or running on a skeleton staff. No newspapers have been printed, and the whole city is in uprising. A Kadet party member delivered a vitriolic speech denouncing the tsar in the Tauride Palace this morning, creating tensions even within the government that led to most Kadets leaving to go home for their own safety (although many later joined in the protests on the streets). The houses of various political figures were attacked by the crowds today too (oddly, several socialist and liberal houses were attacked). The political message of the crowds has become stronger now, and they demand not only an end to the war, but call for the removal of the tsar!

The chief of Police made one last desperate attempt to stop the crowds pushing into the city centre by charging headlong into the crowd, who then pulled him off his horse and beat him to death. The Cossacks did not intervene. The crowds began to then make attempts to win soldiers over to their side, and became increasingly violent towards the police. As the afternoon arrived, the soldiers became unwilling to disperse the crowds and more unruly. The crowds began to push even deeper into the central districts of the city, while soldiers by this stage are disobeying orders. Many are shooting over the heads of protestors, while others are even deserting to join the revolutionaries. Elsewhere in Petrograd workers are frequently breaking into police stations, cutting telephone lines, and setting prisoners free.

The council of ministers held a meeting late at night today to discuss necessary measures, and decided to raid various targets. These included all the houses and apartments of socialist and liberal politicians who could be easily accessed by the okhrana and the police, where multiple arrests were made and the prisoners interred in the Peter and Paul fortress. The officers are becoming steadily more reliant on the Patriotic circle as a crutch, as the government proves itself incapable of putting down the rebellion and authority slowly dissolves. Unfortunately, the mass arrests have spread panic and may have major ramifications tomorrow. A march held for martyrs by the Kadets was disrupted in such a way, when the police arrested several of them and took them to the Peter and Paul fortress. Indeed, the centre of Petrograd is turning into a militarized camp and many officers are fearful of a revolution.

The unrest in Turkestan and Buryatia is following a similar pattern, only with much more violence. In Ulan-Ude, the crowds have been looting firearms and shooting at police, before climbing up the buildings and throwing them off. Each time they do so there is a cheer, before the shooting starts again and everybody runs away (including the terrified police). Having held out for two days, the police have finally lost complete control of the telegraph offices and several warehouses. Unfortunately for the rebels, the army is still advancing on the city and will arrive within 3 days, although the army is currently ignorant of the events in the city due to none of them being able to operate telegraph equipment. By the late evening, the revolutionaries in Ulan-Ude have managed to barricade the post offices and break into another armoury. A unit of Cossacks later deserted and fled the city.

In Turkestan, events come to a head in Almaty after a police barricade in the central districts of the city was destroyed when a drunken soldier ploughed through it in a lorry. The crowd swarmed in afterwards and overran the police there. Within a few hours, the police and Cossacks had either fled or broken down entirely as the city fell into chaos. The last prisons were broken into and warehouses looted, with criminals now flooding the streets and workers setting up soviets everywhere. The nationalists later secured a few machine guns this way, and mounted them on wagons in certain parts of the city to fight against the authorities. Of course, now that the authorities have left, the city is rapidly degenerating. Workers and soldiers soviets are being hurriedly created to fill the vacuum.

Astana is similar, but with a larger military force already present the authorities have kept a lid on the situation for now. The crowds have gotten considerably more violent (as have the police), with firefights common. The nationalists at one stage even mounted a machine gun on a milk float and pushed it up the street towards a unit of Cossacks, a strategy which worked well until it hit a pothole and the wheel snapped off, throwing the occupants and the machine out. A “Turkic Soviet” was founded in Astana today as well, and has quickly been accepted as the main leader of the revolutionaries in the city. It has organized a series of ad hoc basic measures to defend the revolution, starting with the construction and reinforcement of barricades at key chokepoints alongside targeting specific snipers nests and strategic targets in the city. Throughout the rest of Turkestan, sporadic uprisings are sprouting up as the nationalists are encouraging the people to rise up. Given that the army will arrive in two days, this may be ill-timed.

Turn 14: March 11th, 1917 (O.S February 26th)


Current map of Russia, with red stars indicating cities where order has broken down

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Events in Petrograd

This Sunday morning, the crowds did not appear. Many of them slept in until noon, at which point they emerged on the streets. As the protestors marched up the Nevsky and Vladimir Prospekts, the police opened fire from a number of snipers nests and machine gun posts. The Semenovsky regiment also shot dead several protestors, and shortly afterwards the violence got much worse. The crowds have become near-rabid with rage towards those who shot innocent people, and have thrown chunks of ice and bricks at the soldiers and police officers. As the afternoon progressed, it eventually became clear that a revolution was underway. Soldiers are reported to have shot at each other, while one crowd broke into the Pavlovsky barracks and shouted at the men inside to join them. A hundred of them broke into the arsenal and began to distribute rifles to the crowds, before marching on the police and shooting at them. When the soldiers returned to the barracks to rally more comrades, they were arrested and taken to the Peter and Paul fortress.

Order has evaporated within Petrograd, and the recent bombing of the Duma has made matters worse. In the evening, the government was informed that multiple military units were mutinying and that order had effectively ceased to exist. The initiative has now passed to the Patriotic circle, which declares it shall be taking control after the Tsar ordered the uprising put down and the duma dissolved. The patriotic circle responds by saying it will overthrow the tsar. Composed largely of army officers and several government minister (the latter considerably reluctant), they began fighting with loyalist units within the city centre. The crowds grew ecstatic at the news, and started to attack symbols of the hated regime (such as eagles). The American embassy was attacked by accident, while the city is rapidly degenerating into chaos. Many soldiers have switched to fight for the Patriotic circle, and many in the crowd are chanting in their good name. Fighting continues well into the evening, with the Patriotic circle and the crowds seizing the Duma alongside several telephone exchanges and the Mariinsky palace. A broad coalition in the government supports the Patriotic circle, but the workers and soldiers are much more interested in the socialist revolutionaries.

Throughout the rest of the city, revolutionaries have broken into prisons, warehouses, shops, telephone exchanges, and other important buildings. Hundreds have been killed or wounded, while drunken soldiers drive cars throughout the streets and crash them into people or buildings. Police snipers have been picked up and thrown off the roofs of buildings (to the cheers of the crowds below), while loyalist forces have been reduced to street fighting. The Peter and Paul fortress is the last major bastion which the loyalists hold, and have retreated to. They have telegraphed urgently for assistance, which apparently has been promised.

Events elsewhere

As the news of the events in Petrograd spread, the military command is heavily divided over what to do. The tsar has informed the government that he will travel back to Petrograd to calm down the revolutionaries with his presence. Elsewhere throughout the front, officers are struggling to prevent the news from spreading, but to no avail. Many soldiers declare their allegiance to the revolution, while others shoot their superior officers and desert. Order is rapidly breaking down throughout Russia, with the major cities now having similar protests to those in Petrograd.

In Turkestan, the situation could have been contained, but with events back home it seems unlikely that order can be restored. This poverty ridden backwater of the empire is low on priority list for when it comes to that. Almaty was the first city to fall to the revolutionaries, the soviet now busy putting an end to the looting and constructing barricades to defend the city. With the army arriving tomorrow, a desperate attempt has been made to trick them. A number of nationalists stole the identification papers of dead officers and rode out to meet the incoming military unit to inform them that the uprising had been crushed. The demoralized soldiers and officers then told the nationalists that they were marching to the city anyways for lack of supplies, and the need to find a telegraph station to find out what was happening at home. When the news spread back to Almaty, the leaders of the Soviet were thrown into a panic and began to hurriedly recruit a militia to defend the city.

Throughout the rest of Turkestan, revolutionaries have either captured telegraph offices to cut communications with the rest of Russia, or to build barricades and steal weaponry. Advance guards of cavalry reached the outskirts of Astana in the evening and began to skirmish with the revolutionaries, while the crowds made another attempt to overwhelm the police (who are barely holding on inside of the city). This failed, and when news of the army unit arriving was heard, they became confident enough to start shooting the children as well. Samarkand and Kyzylorda are also suffering from the unrest and fighting with the police, but to a lesser degree than in both Almaty and Astana.

In Buryatia, events have followed on the heels of those in Turkestan. A careful check of the telegraph logs hidden in a dustbin behind the office reveals the location of the army (as is usual, they weren’t encrypted) and that it will arrive in Ulan-Ude tomorrow. Although panic broke out, Shagdryov later rallied people in a speech near the city centre. Armed with rifles and aided by deserters who are spreading rumours about the revolution in Petrograd, they make the final push on the governor’s house and police headquarters of the city in addition to the barracks and last warehouses. With control of the city, Shagdryov orders the National Committee to immediately work on the construction of barricades and arming volunteers for the defence of the city. Meanwhile, one group of looters broke into a shop and stole all the wine, before becoming heavily drunk and attempting to topple a statue of Alexander III. They fail to remove it, and instead opt to urinate on it.

Turn 15: March 12th, 1917 (O.S February 27th)


First meeting of the Petrograd Soviet

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Events in Petrograd

Today was eventful, as many believe it to be the final death knell of the Russian Empire. Authority is dissolving everywhere, and with each passing moment the country slides further into chaos. All of the loyalist military units dissolved or otherwise switched sides today as the revolution progressed. The artillery department, telephone exchanges, arsenals, and railway stations have all been seized by various groups of revolutionaries. The bloody street fighting continues, although it seems hopeless for the loyalists. Many of the police stations were set on fire or looted today as well, and almost all prisoners in the capital have been released from prison. With the hated regime effectively cleared from the streets, the crowds have now marched on the Duma looking for political leaders.

The Patriotic circle, run by a number of government ministers, conservative politicians, and military officers, has announced the creation of a provisional government to administer Russia. Given that the Tsar is still of the belief that he is in power, and that much of the army has yet to change allegiance, it is currently unrecognized. However, it began to move quickly. The Conservative parties (the leftwing parties have left, leaving only a rump Duma) immediately appointed an emergency cabinet with the goal of restoring order and establishing communications with the allied powers. Unfortunately, a rival power base has been formed in another wing of the Tauride palace by the Socialist parties, who have established the Petrograd soviet. The first representatives slowly began to arrive, composed largely of the representatives of soldiers. The Kadets and other centrist parties have been divided on the matter, with some wishing to join the provisional government and the others the Soviet.

The first meeting of the Petrograd Soviet that evening went rather poorly. Most of the revolutionary workers and soldiers were on the streets, unaware of its existence. In addition, half of the delegates were drunk and began fist fights inside the room where the ad hoc meeting was being held. With such problems, the Socialist parties have decided to appoint an executive committee anyways, composed largely of Mensheviks. With two rival power centres forming, the Provisional government of the Patriotic circle does possess the advantage of having taken action earlier and gained more soldiers to their cause. Indeed, many soldiers were arguing in the streets about who is the rightful government.

Defending the revolution, let alone advancing it, is much harder. None of the military units in Petrograd possess artillery, machine guns, or field communications. While in the evening the Provisional government made a successful attempt to rein in several regiments and restore a modicum of military command and organization (and manage to successfully seize the admiralty and general staff headquarters), they are still badly equipped and managed. The only good news for the revolution is that the regime seems to be collapsing elsewhere too.

Events elsewhere

The Russian army marched into Ulan-ude today, although they were met by a pitiful advance “guard” of Buryat revolutionaries, volunteers, and other sorts who skirmished with the soldiers as they marched on the city. There is considerable bloody street fighting, until suddenly at 4 o’clock the army commander received a telegram informing him that a provisional government had been formed. Unsure of what to do, he declared a ceasefire and awaited further orders to see if the Tsar or Provisional government (or somebody else entirely) is to give him orders. This follows a trend throughout much of Russia today, as many military units are starting to desert in increasing frequency or refuse to follow orders. The officers (many of who died in the war so far) are too weak and few in number to control them in any case. Some generals are wavering between declaring their loyalty to the new government or the old one. The tsar is still travelling back to Petrograd, although most government ministers are now informing him that abdication may be the only option left by this stage.

The Russian army arrived on the outskirts of Almaty today, but the arrival of a telegram informed the commanding officers to immediately put the revolution into action. Part of the Patriotic circle, they immediately stopped and arrested loyalist officers before informing the soldiers that a revolution was now in process. Cheering at the news, the Turkestan nationalists are relieved to find out that the soldiers are not advancing on Almaty, and soon the crowds there begin cheering after hearing news of the revolution. The Soviet quickly moved to work on the further restoration of order, the introduction of new regulations and orders, plus the organisation of the city (much of which is badly damaged and suffering from massive shortages of all kinds of supplies).

Unfortunately for the Turkic nationalists, Astana was not so lucky. The Russian soldiers arrived too soon for the news to arrive (a group of soldiers cut down a telegraph pole for firewood) and began to relieve the pressure on the police there. By the afternoon, resistance on the barricades effectively collapsed and the insurrection was violently put down. All of the major leaders were arrested, and several were immediately sent to a firing squad. This does not stop the general collapse of authority in the cities however, as the revolution spreads throughout Russia.

Turn 16: March 13th, 1917 (O.S February 28th)


Russian soldiers awaiting attack in the trenches

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Events in European Russia

The revolution continues, with it seeming as though the provisional government is rapidly gaining control over the state (with the Petrograd Soviet also scrambling for power). The sailors in Kronstadt mutinied today and declared their allegiance to the “revolution” at the same time much of the armed forces began to shift their allegiance to the provisional government. Soviets are being established by workers and soldiers throughout Russia, while the first edition of the Izvestia was published today. The tsar was held up by railway problems in Pskov, before he was then informed that he had effectively lost control.

As the news of the revolution spreads, the Provisional government has sent several politicians to meet with the tsar in order to convince him to abdicate and transfer power (although they won’t arrive until tomorrow). In addition, the entente and the central powers are starting to tentatively recognize the new government by opening up diplomatic channels with them. Indeed, military units in Petrograd have been deployed to defend the American embassy, after a crowd mistook the eagles adorning it for tsarist symbols and tried to break in. Several embassy staff who have been arrested were freed.

The provisional government has also managed to secure not only Petrograd, but Moscow in addition. Most cities throughout Russia are reporting unrest of some kind, with support for the old regime rapidly dissolving. Units have been deployed to defend the principal locations of the two main cities, but it seems like the awaited crackdown is not materializing. Many soldiers continue to desert in addition, and the Petrograd soviet is busy trying to rally support. The Kadets are struggling to restore order with the Patriotic circle, with soldiers being unwilling to crack down on looters (in fact, many of them join in).

Events elsewhere

The assault on Almaty was halted, and the officers there (whose soldiers are already of questionable loyalty) were ordered to pull back to a position of interest. The jubilant crowds in Almaty begin to clear the barricades from the streets and to treat the wounded. The Soviet there has declared Almaty to be the capital of an independent Turkestan. Their first order of priority is to secure food supplies, which they begin by riding out into the nearby countryside and telling the farmers about the revolution. Most of the farmers have a mixed reaction, and at present only sell their food to the bagmen (a kind of peddler who travels around with bags), who sell them manufactured consumer goods.

Throughout Samarkand and Kyzylorda, the uprisings continue sporadically (although with less success). The news continues to spread about events at home, heavily demoralizing the police and military units there (both of which are deserting). In addition, they are trying to suppress news of the Almaty revolution, which threatens to spill over into the rest of Turkestan. In Ulan-Ude, the army continues to await news from the Provisional government about what to do next, although several soldiers are now quarrelling with their officers and are attempting to form a soviet.

Notes: This is the last turn that was made for A People's Tragedy.