May 1917 began full of hope for some and a growing sense of dread for others. Russians had been experiencing freedom for two months, and this freedom was indeed momentous: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of conscience. Political prisoners had been released, and the country was alive with rallies, speeches, and debate. Finally Russians had their long-fought freedom.
But now that they had freedom, what were they supposed to do with it?
This new freedom was put to use first and most radically by Russia’s soldiers, who by 1917 had been sitting in trenches feeding lice for three years. By March they had begun to form soldier’s committees, and by May these committees were wielding tremendous power over the army.
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Savinkov was a terrorist and revolutionary who had been in exile for over a decade, after plotting the murder of top Russian officials, including Prime Minister Plehve. Upon returning to Russia in 1917 he initially became an ardent supporter and aide of Kerensky.
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