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The February Revolution was a series of mass protests, worker strikes and demonstrations in St. Petersburg, then known as Petrograd, that began on 8 March (22 February) 1917. Initiated by a women's march planned for International Women's Day by Bolshevik feminist Clara Zetkin, the demonstration soon spread to other factory workers, and later white collar workers. In the course of a few days, Petrograd descended into anarchy, while Czar Nicholas II refused Duma president Mikhail Rodzianko's requests to form a people's government. When the order had finally been given to suppress the rebellion by force, the reserve troops around Petrograd mutinied. By 12 March only some army units, the local police and gendarmes remained loyal to the Imperial government and 95% of Russia's total workforce was on strike.

On 12 March, Timofey Ivanovich Kirpichnikov, who was in charge of a small reserve squad of 600 recruits, gave orders to fire on remaining loyal soldiers. Soon armed conflict erupted throughout the city and soldiers often shot their comrades and officers in the confusion. On 15 March, Czar Nicholas II officially abdicated on behalf of himself and his son, choosing his brother as successor. The Provisional Government was announced on 16 March, along with a Russian Republic, and waves of celebration swept Petrograd, where the Petrograd Soviet was reestablished. Meanwhile, Nicholas's brother, the Grand Duke Michael, declined the crown for fear of not being seen as legitimate. The title of Emperor of All Russias would never be legitimately held again, and the chaos paved to way for the October Revolution.

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