April 17 in Russian history

1912: Lena massacre. On March 13, workers of the Andreyevski goldfield on river Lena in Siberia began a strike. The working conditions were terrible. They worked for 16 hours a day, 6 days a week, in Siberian cold weather. The salary was very low and it was partially substituted with coupons which could be ecxhanged for food in the shops belonging to the owners of the goldfields. The prices were high and the food itself was of a poor quality. Also, the workers had to pay fines for every fault. Safety regulations simply did not exist, so about 700 accidents per 1,000 workers happened every year. The workers demanded to shorten the working day to 8-10 hours, to increase wages and supply them with better food. By mid-March, about 6,000 people participated in the strike. On April 17, about 2,000 workers marched to protest against the arrest of their leaders, which took place one day before. The workers were met by soldiers who opened fire, killing about 270 people and wounding around 250 more.

95 years later, in 2007, the authorities of Moscow and St.Petersburg ordered the police to attack the participants of other peaceful marches. In Moscow, about 9,000 policemen beat 3,000 protesters with clubs and kicked the fallen people, dragged them by hair to the police cars. About 500-600 people were detained in Moscow and about 200 in St.Petersburg. Many of them were arrested before the march began. Many people from Moscow suburbs were arrested on railway stations. Few were hospitalized. In St.Petersburg, one woman was hospitalized with broken nose and jaw. Another man is suffering from broken rib, which damaged his lung. A member of the prohibited National-Bolshevist Party was hospitalized with cranial trauma. In Moscow, an operator of a Japanese TV channel was severely beaten. A number of other journalists became victims of the police violence, too. The arrested people were trialled and found guilty in "chanting anti-government slogans and using foul language" on the basis of the evidences given by policemen. Many of them were passers-by who did not participate in the protests. Testimonies of other witnesses were not taken into account. Of all national TV channels, only one covered the events in depth. "President" Putin at the moment of the massacre was visiting a show called "fights without rules". A nice choice.

5 years after the Lena massacre, the tsar abdicated the throne. In 1918, he was executed.

1923: The XII congress of the RCP(b) Russian Communist Party (of bolsheviks) began. There were 836 delegates who represented 386,000 members and candidates of the Communist Party. It is interesting that in April 1922, during the XI congress, there were 532,000 people in the party. Moreover, in March 1921, during the X congress, there were 732,521 members.

Lenin was ill and did not attend the congress. Among the most important matters was the question of the industrialization. K.Radek and L.Krasin offered to seek the assistance of foreign capitalists (which implied certain concessions, of course). The proposal was rejected. Idiot Trotsky came up with a stupid idea to close the larges factories of the country and to boost industrialization by providing more support to the agriculture. The congress decided to give special attention to the heavy industries (the accent which survived till the last years of the USSR). Another important point was the position of the party on the national question. The extreme danger of all kinds of nationalism was recognized. The liquidation of the inequality of the nations of the Soviet Russia was stressed by the congress.

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