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1917: Deposition of the Provisional Government

In early August 1917, the former Emperor Nicholas II and his family were exiled to the town of Tobolsk in Siberia by order of the Provisional Government headed by Alexander Kerensky. The Government declared the nationalization of all the imperial palaces and set up an Art and Historical Committee to inventorise the treasures in the Winter Palace and other imperial property in the suburban palaces.

The Provisional Government moved into what had been the private rooms of Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna. The old furniture was replaced by ordinary office furniture and the walls, upholstered with silk and hung with paintings, were covered with canvas. Only the office of Nicholas II was left unchanged as a memorial. The Malachite Room served as a meeting hall and Nicholas II's Library was used as meetings held by Kerensky, who had an apartment in the rooms overhead. The rooms on the first floor overlooking Palace Square housed guard cadets.

By the time of the outbreak of the Bolshevik Revolution on the night of 25 October 1917, there were over 3,000 people ready to defend the Winter Palace. The assault on the Winter Palace - during which the Provisional Government was arrested in the Small Dining Room leading off the Malachite Room - did not affect the Museum, which had been barricaded off several days earlier on the orders of the Museum Director. Immediately after the famous Storming of the Winter Palace, an armed detachment was despatched to guard the Hermitage.




Alexander Kerensky is speaking at a meeting of the Provisional Government in the Library of Nicholas II


The Library of Nicholas II
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