The Russian Revolution
A People’s Tragedy
St Petersburg’s former glories have made it a magnificent place to visit, populated by grand palaces which exhibit examples of architecture from a plethora of artistic periods and its historical centre is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Moscow, the centre of Russia’s political power, also played its part in the revolution, with the Kremlin forever becoming the imposing symbol of the regime and also the resting place of Lenin himself. Visiting Russia’s two prime cities, you won’t just see where the Russian revolution evolved, endured and eventually exploded, but also immerse yourself in one of the most unique and fascinating cultures in the world. All this will be experienced with Orlando Figes, history professor, award winning author and arguably the world’s leading authority on modern Russian history, his book ‘A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924’ is the ‘go to’ resource on the subject.
Today the term ‘revolution’ is used very loosely, making it hard for us to really understand the scale and impact of the Russian Revolution. It was, without doubt, one of the most important events in world history, changing the political landscape for the rest of the twentieth century and giving birth to regimes that would eventually have a third of the world’s population living under them. What happened in 1917 went on to completely reconstruct an empire covering a sixth of the globe and its legacy went on to shape politics, economics, society and culture worldwide. This tour offers you the opportunity to explore this tumultuous period in great detail on what will be a poignant centenary.
- With Orlando Figes, eminent history professor and writer
- Visits to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Optional Tour Extension
"‘The Russian revolution was to an unprecedented degree the cause of the proletariat of the whole world becoming more revolutionary’"
Day 1 – Arrival. Fly London to Moscow arriving in the afternoon to check-in to the hotel and receive an introductory talk before welcome drinks and dinner.
Day 2 – Moscow. Explore the Kremlin, the imposing and impressive of home of the Russian government past and present. It was chosen by Lenin as his residence in 1918, located in the famous Red Square which is also the home of the revolutionary leader’s mausoleum. Thence to one of the most beautiful sites in Moscow, the Novodevichy Convent, a regular feature in the novels of Tolstoy. At the Khdynka Field we see where the coronation of Nicholas II turned into tragedy, as promises of gifts led the masses to stampede resulting in over a thousand deaths. Many believed it was a bad omen for the new Tsar, they were right.
Day 3 – St Petersburg. Before departing the capital for St Petersburg we pay a visit to the Moscow Historical Museum and take a journey through the history of this fascinating country. Experience the vastness and beauty of the Russian countryside aboard the Sapsan express train to St Petersburg and arrive in the early evening to check-in to our hotel for six nights.
Day 4 – The Winter Palace. We spend a full day at the Winter Palace, the official residence of the Russian monarchy. This would have been an obvious target for the Bolsheviks and it was stormed in 1917, an event which became the symbolic image of the revolution. The month-long looting of the palace’s wine cellar gave birth to what is known as ‘the greatest hangover in history’. The Palace now makes up part of the colossal Hermitage Museum, which boasts the largest collection of paintings in the world.
Day 5 – 1917 on the streets. We walk along Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg’s main thoroughfare, where the marches and demonstrations started on Women’s Day 1917. These uprisings over the simple demand for bread gathered momentum and the revolution quickly became an unstoppable force. At the Field of Mars we see where the ‘honoured dead’ of the revolution were buried and memorialised. The famous Kazan Cathedral and the Russian Museum in Mikhailovsky Palace give us an insight into Russian religion and art before the day ends at the stunning Church of the Spilled Blood on the site where Alexander II was fatally wounded by anarchists in 1881.
Day 6 – Politics. Start the day at the Peter & Paul Fortress, a prison for political prisoners that became known as the ‘Russian Bastille’. A one-time home to Trotsky, Dostoevsky, Tito and the Decembrists, it was taken over by the Bolsheviks in 1917 who used it as a base from which to shell the Winter Palace. View the revolution exhibition at the Museum of Political History, based in the former Bolshevik HQ where Lenin made his historic speech from the balcony. Finally move onto Shisselburg Fortress where Lenin’s brother was imprisoned and executed in 1881.
Day 7 – Imperial Families. Yusupov Palace boasts one of the best preserved interiors of the imperial age and is best known for the assassination of the ‘mystic monk’ Rasputin. At the Alexander Palace we experience another beautiful residence, preserved by the Bolsheviks as a demonstration to the masses of how the Tsars once lived.
Day 8 – October 1918. Kronstadt Naval base has become one of the symbolic features of the Russian Revolution. First the sailors joined the February riots, executing their officers and siding with the Bolsheviks, before turning against them in a twelve day rebellion and battle in 1921. Aboard the Aurora battleship we contemplate the enduring 1917 image of Lenin firing the blank shot that signalled the start of the revolution.
Day 9 – Return. We end our tour by visiting the Tauride Palace, where the ill-fated Provisional Government was based before the Petrograd Soviet took it over, and the Smolny Palace where Lenin chose to set up his government and his home until the civil war forced him to move to the safety of Moscow. Fly St Petersburg to London.
Peter the Great Extension
Explore a number of landmarks associated with the city’s founder starting with the great man’s likeness at the impressive and imposing Bronze Horseman statue, mounted on the largest stone ever moved by human beings. The Cabin of Peter the Great was the Tsar’s first ‘palace’ when he was building St Petersburg. The Summer Garden, another of Peter’s constructions, is one of the most romantic and evocative places in St Petersburg. St Michael’s Castle, a royal Palace built for Emperor Paul I, unusual for the fact that it has different architectural design on each side.
The Peterhof Palace, often referred to as the Russian Versailles and laid out on the orders of Peter the Great himself, is arguably the grandest of all of St Petersburg’s Palaces. Catch our return flight to London.
Recommended Reading List
- A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924
- Natasha's Dance
- Nicholas and Alexandra
- St Petersburg, Shadows of the Past
- Ten Days That Shook the World
12th - 20th September 2017 (9 Days)
Return flights from London, 1st class train, 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, all lunches, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout.
Activity Level: 2
Guide: Orlando Figes
Tour price: £3295.00
Single supplement: £395.00
Price without flights: £3045.00
Cost of 2 Day Extension: £795.00
Last few places