Witnessing a Revolution

This month marks the 100th anniversary of St Petersburg’s Bloody Sunday. The Manchester Guardian was there, as Charlotte Alston describes.

In December 1904, on the eve of the 1905 Russian Revolution, Harold Williams arrived in St Petersburg as the first permanent correspondent of the Manchester Guardian in a foreign capital. His appointment reflected the commitment of the newspaper’s editor, C.P. Scott, to expanding the Manchester Guardian’s news service, but also Scott’s interest in the cause of Russian constitutional reform. In Britain, as in much of Western Europe, the Russian government was widely regarded as autocratic, repressive and outdated. Williams joined a growing group of Western correspondents and observers who had come to Russia in the hope of witnessing a revolution. 

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