22 January 1905

Bloody Sunday in Saint Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.

Bloody Sunday in Saint Petersburg, which occurred on January 9, 1905 (Julian calendar; January 22, 1905, Gregorian calendar), was a pivotal event that marked the beginning of the 1905 Russian Revolution. It was a turning point in the tensions between the Russian people and the autocratic rule of Tsar Nicholas II.

The immediate cause of Bloody Sunday was a peaceful protest march organized by Father Georgy Gapon, a Russian Orthodox priest and a leader of the Assembly of Russian Factory and Mill Workers of St. Petersburg. The workers and their families were seeking better working conditions, higher wages, and political reforms, including a constitution and the establishment of a parliament.

As the demonstrators approached the Winter Palace, the residence of the Tsar, they carried icons and portraits of the Tsar, hoping to appeal to his sense of justice. However, their peaceful intentions were met with brutal force. The Imperial Guard and other military units stationed in the area opened fire on the unarmed protesters, resulting in hundreds of deaths and even more injuries.

The violence of Bloody Sunday shocked the nation and led to widespread protests, strikes, and unrest across Russia. Workers, peasants, and various social groups joined forces in expressing their dissatisfaction with the autocratic regime. The 1905 Revolution became a series of uprisings and strikes that spread throughout the country, with workers demanding better conditions and political reforms, and different ethnic and social groups expressing their grievances.

In response to the mounting pressure, Tsar Nicholas II issued the October Manifesto on October 17, 1905. The manifesto promised civil liberties, including the establishment of an elected legislative body (the Duma) with real legislative power. While the reforms did not fully satisfy all segments of the population, they marked a significant concession by the Tsar and temporarily quelled the revolutionary fervor.

Bloody Sunday and the events that followed in 1905 laid the groundwork for future revolutionary movements in Russia, including the more significant and successful 1917 Russian Revolution, which eventually led to the establishment of the Soviet Union.