The 1905 Russian Revolution swept across the Russian Empire and began when Russian Cossacks attacked a peaceful demonstration of workers. This acted as a catalyst for empire-wide uprisings. On the battleship Potemkin the crewmembers, several of whom were revolutionaries, were tired of their appalling working conditions, including being fed maggot filled borscht. When a crewmember complained about the soup, he was shot dead. This led to a mutiny. The ship docked in Odessa, where Cossacks had been locked in conflict with demonstrators for several weeks. A crowd gathered in the harbour to support the mutineers and martial law was declared. Cossacks killed 2,000 and wounded 3,000. The tsar, Nicholas II, was so alarmed that he published the ‘October Manifesto’ and created a Duma (parliament), to represent the interests of the Russian people. He also lowered taxes for the poor.
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