When Lenin’s Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace in St Petersburg during the dramatic culmination of their seizure of power in 1917, the country’s Provisional Government was arrested in a dining room.
The clock in the room was stopped at the moment of the arrest — 2:10 a.m., 26 October 1917. And it has remained frozen ever since.
But this all changed on Thursday morning when the Hermitage Museum, which now occupies the Winter Palace where the tsars once lived, organised an official ceremony to re-start several clocks exactly 100 years after they had fallen silent.
Теперь часы в Малой столовой Зимнего дворца снова идут. pic.twitter.com/1ywdQkwXKi
— Эрмитаж / Hermitage (@state_hermitage) October 26, 2017
“Yes, there was an event — the revolution. But it’s over. We don’t need to get into new revolutionary circles because history in spirals repeats itself as farce,” said Mikhail Piotrovsky, the head of the Hermitage Museum, according to Rossiskaya Gazeta. “We buried the revolution. You always need to bury her carefully so she can’t get out.”
While the centenary of the Russian Revolution has been marked in the West by a a myriad of talks, events and new books, the anniversary has passed with much less fanfare in Russia where there is official reluctance to commemorate a moment of state collapse and military defeat.
The storming of the Winter Palace, which took place in the early hours of 26 October 1917, was the most symbolic moment of the Bolshevik uprising that led to the formation of the Soviet Union. The Provisional Government had taken up residence in the building earlier in the year after a popular revolt in February saw the resignation of Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II.
The Hermitage opened a new exhibition, The Winter Palace and the Hermitage in 1917. History was made here, on Wednesday to mark the anniversary. More details about the exhibition can be found here.