June Crisis of 1917

June Crisis of 1917


the second political crisis in Russia (after the April crisis) during the period from February to October; one of the stages in the development of a nationwide crisis.

The crisis was caused by the irreconcilable contradictions between the masses of the people and the imperialist bourgeoisie on questions of peace and land and of the struggle against economic dislocation. The First All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies of June 3–24 (June 16 to July 7), at which the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s) and Mensheviks predominated, gave support to the bourgeois Provisional Government and refused the Bolshevik demand for an end to the war and the transfer of power to the Soviets. These actions heightened the anger of the masses. Certain antidemocratic actions by the Provisional Government, in particular a decree of June 7 (20) ordering the confiscation of the dacha of the former tsarist minister, P. N. Durnovo, in which a workers’ club and the offices of the Vyborg district trade unions had been established, led to a strike by the workers of 29 factories in Petrograd on June 8 (21). The same day, in order to give the protest an organized character, the Central Committee and the Petrograd Committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) announced a peaceful demonstration of workers and soldiers on June 10 (23). At the insistence of the compromisers, on June 9 (22) the Congress of Soviets banned the demonstration. The compromisers accused the Bolsheviks of a “military conspiracy.” During the night of June 9 (22) and the early hours of June 10 (23), the Central Committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik), not wishing to oppose itself to the congress, ordered the demonstration to be canceled. With some difficulty, the Bolsheviks restrained the revolutionary enthusiasm of the workers and soldiers. The Cadets, SR’s, and Mensheviks violently denounced the Bolsheviks, the workers, and the revolutionary soldiers. Fearing that they might lose the confidence of the people, the SR-Menshevik leaders were forced to pass a resolution at the congress in favor of holding a general political demonstration of confidence in the Provisional Government on June 18 (July 1). Against the expectations of the compromisers, and as a result of the Bolshevik efforts, the demonstration was held, with some 500, 000 participants, under the slogans of “All Power to the Soviets,” “Down with the Ten Capitalist Ministers,” and “Bread, Peace, and Freedom.” Demonstrations under the same slogans were held in Moscow, Minsk, Ivanovo-Voz-nesensk, Tver’, Nizhny Novgorod, Kharkov, and elsewhere.

The June demonstration showed that, as Lenin said, “a crisis of unprecedented scale had descended upon Russia” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 32, p. 362). The June crisis did not develop into a crisis of bourgeois power, but it did show that unity in the demands and actions of the workers and soldiers was growing stronger and that the influence of the Bolshevik Party was rising among the masses. The original causes of the crisis were not eliminated, and as a consequence the July Days soon followed.


Lenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. (See index vol., part 1, p. 210.) Velikaia Oktiabr’skaia sotsialisticheskaia revoliutsiia: Dokumenty i materialy, vol. 4. Moscow, 1959.
Istoriia Velikoi Oktiabr’skoi sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii. Moscow, 1962. Pages 72–78.
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 3, book 1. Moscow, 1967. Pages 140–47.
Prokhvatilov, Iu. A. Iiun’skaia demonstratsiia. [Leningrad, 1967.]