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Century-old photos capture drama of 1917 Russian Revolution

November 3, 2017
In this photo taken in Oct. 1917, provided by Russian State Archive of Social and Political History, members of the revolution Red Guards pose for a photo with their arms at the Smolny Institute building which was chosen by Vladimir Lenin as Bolshevik headquarters during the October Revolution in 1917. The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution was long before the digital revolution allowed anyone to instantly document events. But the clumsy cameras of the time still caught some images that capture the period's drama. (Russian State Archive of Social and Political History via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution was long before the digital revolution allowed anyone to instantly document events. But the clumsy cameras of the time still caught some images that capture the period’s drama.

Bodies lie at a main intersection in St. Petersburg and people flee gunfire from soldiers at the bloody end of a demonstration. A phalanx of soldiers marches down one of central Moscow’s main streets bearing a banner reading “Communism.” Pro-Bolshevik Red Guard volunteers stare boldly outside a factory in St. Petersburg, some holding belt-fed machine guns and rifles.

Photos culled from Russian state archives also show Vladimir Lenin, disguised by being clean-shaven, as he hid out in a village near St. Petersburg. Later, with his goatee and mustache restored, he is shown haranguing a crowd celebrating the revolution’s one-year anniversary in 1918.

And in a static but suggestive photo, deposed Czar Nicholas II sits on a tree stump, three of the soldiers that held him captive standing in the background. The heavily bearded face of the czar, whom many regarded as dull-witted, is somber but shows no fear.

By the next summer, in July 1918, he and his family would be executed in a fusillade of gunfire in a basement.

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