Events that made history

November 1, 1907
The Third State Duma Starts Its Work
Russia was not always a dictatorship

Contrary to a widely held belief, Russia has had elected bodies of power for most of its history. In the 16th and 17th centuries tsars were selected by Zemsky Sobor, an elected body representing the gentry, the clergy and "people of the land" (zemstvo). In 1905 Russia became a constitutional monarchy, and the following year the State Duma, the first elected parliament, was introduced, but it became effective only after the third Duma of 1907 when one third of the delegates represented Rightist parties, one third the Centrist Oktyabrists and one third constitutional democrats and the Left.

November 7, 1917
October Revolution Begins in St Petersburg
A coup brings the radical Leftists to power in the world's largest country

The event that shaped 20th-century history for Russia and much of the rest of the world started in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) on what was then October 24, which corresponds on today's calendar to November 7. On that day Vladimir Lenin led the Bolshevik coup against an ineffectual Provisional Government in Petrograd. Five years later the Soviet Union was established and five years after that, on November 12, 1927, two of the revolution's main movers, Lev Trotsky and Grigory Zinovyev, were expelled from the party by its new leader, Joseph Stalin. Persecution of their followers began, growing into the Great Purge of the 1930s, during which hundreds of thousands were put to death.

November 16, 1957
Doctor Zhivago Published in Italy
Pasternak's life achievement sees light three years before the author's death

Boris Pasternak's epic novel, reflecting the tragic destiny of Russian intelligentsia in the beginning of the 20th century, was published by Italian publisher Feltrinelli, who had it "smuggled" to him by a former Italian communist living in Moscow. The novel won Pasternak the Nobel prize, which the poet had to refuse under pressure from the authorities. Relatives of the then Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev remember that he later regretted suppressing the novel, saying that it would have done no harm. The novel was not published in the Soviet Union until 1990.

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