Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg

When I was reading about the Russian Revolution of 1905 one of the topics that I found really interesting was the march that was lead by Georgii Gapon on January 9th of 1905 which would end up being referred to as ‘Bloody Sunday’ in St. Petersburg.

Bloody Sunday

Georgii Gapon was a Russian Orthodox Priest and was known as Father Gapon. Father Gapon was the head of the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers. Gapon had been granted permission to set up a workers assembly in 1904 that would be under the supervision of the Okhrana, who were the Tsar’s secret police. At the beginning of January in 1905, four of Gapon’s members were fired from their jobs and were not given any reason as to why they were fired. This is what lead to Father Gapon preparing for a strike that would take place at the Winter Palace, which was the residency of the Tsar, Nicholas II. 


Father Gapon who would be the leader of the march wanted to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II  that asked for his help in giving workers higher wages and shorter hours along with political and constitutional reform. Father Gapon marched through the streets with around 150,000 people and with the petition to present to Nicholas II asking for his help. The big problem was that Nicholas II was not even there when they went to plea for his help. The march lead by Gapon at the front along with the many woman, children and men who had carried crosses, pictures of the Tsar, and icons with them would soon be confronted with a bloody battle. The protesters were unarmed and had no intentions of the strike becoming violent but when the troops were authorized to fire on advancing protesters it would take a turn and become a violent and deadly day for well over 100 men, women and children and around 800 who had also been wounded. 

Bloody Sunday is what sparked the beginnings of violence in the Russian Revolution of 1905 and is what lead to the people of Russia losing faith in their Tsar who they thought was supposed to be there for them and help them. The massacre that took place on this bloody Sunday is what sparked the Russian Revolution of 1905 and is what would lead to the issuing of the October Manifesto in that same year in October and is what also lead to him being the last emperor of Russia. 




Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.

Translated by, Herman B. “HOW FATHER GAPON WAS LED TO HIS DEATH.” New York Times (1857-1922): 2. Nov 07 1909. ProQuest. Web. 31 Jan. 2016 .


3 thoughts on “Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg

  1. With events like Bloody Sunday, where women and children were killed by armed military during a peaceful protest, many people who were moderate towards the government moved further left after these events. As you said, this event lead to a strong and violent Revolution of 1905 because it shed the government in such a negative light (rightly so). Were there any reasons behind why Nicholas II would not even entertain the petition by the workers? He allowed them to form an Assembly in 1905, which is why it is surprising that he never even showed up to St. Petersburg during the march.


  2. I find the whole concept of “police sponsored Trade Unions” so fascinating and am glad you talked about it here. I really like the way you lead into this post — and I’m really intrigued by the source you cite from the NYT about Father Gapon being led to his death?!?!?!? What’s up with that?


  3. This was quite an interesting post! I have heard of Georgii Gapon in my previous Russian language classes but I did not realize what an impact he made for the Factory workers. Your post taught me that Father Gapon was the head of the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers. Bloody Sunday will never be forgotten. I can’t believe a over 100 men, women and children died and around 800 who had also been wounded!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s