After the collapse of the Romanov dynasty in February 1917, Russia was subject to an eight month experiment in democracy. Sarah Badcock studies its failure through an exploration of the experiences and motivations of ordinary men and women, urban and rural, military and civilian. Using previously neglected documents from regional archives, she offers a new history of the revolution as experienced in the two Volga provinces of Nizhegorod and Kazan. She exposes the confusions and contradictions between political elites and ordinary people and emphasises the role of the latter as political actors. By looking beyond Petersburg and Moscow, she shows how local concerns, conditions and interests were foremost in shaping how the revolution was received and understood. She also reveals the ways in which the small group of intellectuals who dominated the high political scene of 1917 had their political alternatives circumscribed by the desires and demands of ordinary people.