March 12, 1918 – Bolsheviks Move Russian Capital from Petrograd to Moscow
Pictured – Children look at a demolished statue of Tsar Alexander III in Moscow.
The peace made between the Bolsheviks and the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 stripped Russia of most of its western European territory. Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Germany divided up Russian territory in the Baltic, Poland, Galicia, Ukraine, and the Caucasus between them or parceled it into client states. Russia had been reduced to the borders it had before Peter the Great.
This put the capital of Petrograd, founded by Peter, under threat. German forces were on its doorstep and any renewal of the war could easily see Petrograd fall to them, or to anti-Bolshevik forces sponsored by them or the British. Meanwhile the population of Petrograd blamed the Bolsheviks for leaving them at the mercy of enemies. Therefore on March 12 the seventh congress of the Bolshevik Party officially approved what had already been done: moving the seat of government to Moscow. A secret evacuation moved the government behind the walls of the Kremlin in Moscow. Ironically, the movement that had toppled any last connection to the Tsars now held court in Russia’s medieval capital.