A message to all the honest citizens of the city of Petrograd from the crew of the cruiser “Aurora” which strongly objects to the accusations that have been levelled at it, unverified accusations, moreover, which have cast a blot of shame on the ship’s crew. See more
We declare that we have come not to destroy the Winter Palace, or to kill ordinary civilians, but to defend freedom and revolution against the counter-revolutionaries and to sacrifice our lives in the process, if necessary. There are reports in the press that the “Aurora” opened fire on the Winter Palace, but are the gentlemen of the press aware that if the “Aurora” were to open fire from her guns, not a stone of the palace, nor of the streets round about, would be left standing? And is that the case now? We appeal to you, workers and soldiers of Petrograd! Do not believe inflammatory rumours that say we are traitors and pogrom-mongers, but verify these rumours. As for the shots fired from the cruiser, the only shot was a blank round, fired from a 6-inch gun, a designated signal to all the ships at anchor on the Neva, calling on them to show vigilance and to preparedness. We ask all newspaper editorials to print this announcement.
The tension rose ever higher; the sound of gunfire floated in from the shore. No sign from the Peter and Paul Fortress – it was already thirty-five minutes past nine and yet there was still no red light to be seen. Voices rang out: “The light, the light!” In the mist beyond the bridge, a crimson light had appeared. It was nine forty. I gave the command: “Open fire!”