Lisburn – Reporting the 1917 Russian Revolution

During the First World War, The Lisburn Standard was issued every Friday evening. Every issue contained notices, advertisements for everything from flax seed to dentistry, extracts of ‘Records from Old Lisburn’, a chapter or two from their latest story, and, most importantly, a section on the news of the war. This section gave news from all over the world – France, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Palestine, Russia – in tidbits of one or two sentences. These tidbits and a handful of  longer pieces, detail the events of the 1917 Russian Revolution up until the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in December 1917. In an issue from March 16th 1917, The Lisburn Standard declared that a “revolution had taken place during the past three or four days” and that “the Czar had abdicated and that the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovitch has been appointed Regent”. This news was followed up by a section in the March 23rd issue, which stated that “news of the revolution continues to filter through slowly, and it is difficult, if not altogether impossible, to understand the position” as well quoting the new Minister for Justice to clarify the new form of Russian Government.

The Lisburn Standard remained neutral in its reporting of the beginning Revolution, instead choosing to use quotations from prominent newspapers to inadvertently give their opinion. Despite this, it soon began to show its true opinion, often describing the situation in Russia as “disquieting” and saying that “Should [The Brest-Litovsk Treaty] fructify, it will enable the Austro-Germans to concentrate vast additional forces of men and guns on the Western front”.

This post was written by Riabh, during her time as a placement student in the museum.

(Note: Russia and the United Kingdom used different calendars, so February 1917 is March in the Gregorian calendar)