When the authority of the tsar's government began to fail in March 1917, two rivaling institutions, the Duma and the Petrograd Soviet competed for governmental power. As a compromise, a provisional government was formed that was to lead the country to elections for a constituent assembly. When Tsar Nicholas II abdicated on March 15 and his brother, Grand Duke Michael refused the throne the next day, the provisional government formally ruled Russia, but its power was effectively limited by the growing authority of the Petrograd Soviet.
The provisional government succeeded in organising the elections, but failed to end Russia's involvement in World War I, thereby weakening its popularity among Russia's war-weary people. It was led first by Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov and then by Aleksandr Kerensky, and was abolished by the Bolsheviks in the October stage of Russian Revolution.