The opening of the Duma in 1906 gave fresh grounds for hope to thousands of liberals in the
intelligentsia. The district where the Duma was located soon became one of the most popular
residential areas. However, the hope was short lived. The government curtailed many of the freedoms
and blocked many of the Duma's initiatives. In the end, after the hardships of World War I had helped to
evaporate public patience, the streets of St. Petersburg - Petrograd saw the two revolutions of
1917. But that happened later. In the meantime, St. Petersburg was the base for many of the most
prominent artists, musicians, composers, writers and poets who actually made this period
the "Silver Age". With a population of 2 million people, the modern metropolis was
about to face new challenges, but the war has changed all the plans.
World War I and the Revolution
When World War I broke out in August 1914, it was decided to change the name of the Russian capital from
St.Petersburg to Petrograd. The old name sounded too German for contemporary Russians. Germany was
now the enemy of Russia and all the forces had to be employed to ensure her defeat. The main part of the
city's industry began to work to support the war effort and many of Petrograd's buildings,
including a large portion of the Winter Palace, were turned into hospitals. Most construction work
in the city has stopped.
The war did not go too well for Russia. The tsar's government had discredited itself and political
tensions started rising. To make things worse, the food supply of the Russian capital deteriorated
significantly towards the end of 1916.