The Silver Age was the calm before the tempest for both St. Petersburg and the rest of the country. Nicholas II, the son of Alexander III, and Russia’s last Emperor, reigned from 1894 till 1917.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the bureaucratic system was still intact. It hampered the country’s social, political and economical development, and first signs of instability appeared. However, the regime would not let go.
In January 1905, the tsar’s guards gunned down a peaceful demonstration of workers who had come to Palace Square to get their problems through to the Emperor. The ‘Blood Sunday’ fanned the flames of the growing public outrage and triggered the 1905-1907 Revolution. After that, on October 17, 1905, the tsar proclaimed a manifesto, which had a significant democratic veer. It instituted a new parliamentary system. The new parliament was supposed to consist of the State Council and the Duma.
The district where the parliament building was found boomed instantly. Sadly, most bills and decisions initiated by the Duma were blocked by the government. The WWI added more fuel to the fire, sending the country spiraling down into chaos and disintegration.
The Silver Age inspired new life in the city’s architecture. During that period, a lot of commercial apartment buildings were erected in St. Petersburg, featuring well-shaped inner yards and modernist, neoclassic and eclectic décor elements. In 1903, when St. Petersburg was celebrating its 200th anniversary, the Troitsky Bridge was built. Outside the central and historic districts, large workers’ blocks were erected around factories.
Despite the brewing trouble, St. Petersburg was still an attraction for poets, artists, musicians, composers and writers. Before 1917, the city was considered to be the citadel of the Russian culture.