'There is no Tsar'
EXTRACT FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY. Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 (Pimlico, 1997). p.173-176.
...It was ironic but somehow fitting that the 1905 Revolution should have been started by an organization dreamed up by the tsarist regime itself. No one believed more than Father Gapon in the bond between the Tsar and people...
[FULL TEXT 1545 words]
EXTRACT: Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 (Pimlico, 1997). p.176-178.
As the column approached the Narva gates it was suddenly charged by a squadron of cavalry. Some of the marchers scattered but others continued to advance towards the lines of infantry, whose rifles were pointing directly at them. Two warning salvoes were fired into the air, and then at close range a third volley was aimed at the unarmed crowd. People screamed and fell to the ground but the soldiers, now panicking themselves, continued to fire steadily into the mass of people. Forty people were killed and hundreds wounded as they tried to flee. Gapon was knocked down in the rush. But he got up and, staring in disbelief at the carnage around him, was heard to say over and over again: 'There is no God any longer. There is no Tsar'.
In that one vital moment the popular myth of a Good Tsar which had sustained the regime through the centuries was suddenly destroyed.