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Five Sisters

Women Against the Tsar

Edited and Translated from the Russian By Barbara Alpern Engel and Clifford N. Rosenthal

Publication Year: 2013

Violent movements that opposed the existing political order erupted all over Europe in the course of the 19th century. Nowhere was revolutionary violence more visible and dramatic than in Russia. There, revolutionaries took the lives of dozens of people, most, though not all of them, high officials. Accepting the label “terrorist” as a badge of honor, the revolutionaries insisted upon the morality and justice of their cause, and they were fully prepared to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of it. Unlike most people considered terrorists today, Russian revolutionaries selected their targets carefully, focusing on those whom they regarded as responsible for the oppressive political and social order and mourning unanticipated civilian casualties. The goal: the replacement of the current order by one that would genuinely represent and serve the people.

Published by: Northern Illinois University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-4


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pp. 5-6

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pp. vii-viii

...Our thanks to Mrs. Suzanne Tumarkin, for her invaluable aid in the translation of the manuscript...

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pp. ix-xxx

...In the course of the nineteenth century, violent movements opposed to the existing political order erupted all over Europe. Inspired, no doubt, by French revolutionary assertions of popular sovereignty, and the Jacobins’ adoption of Terror as a means to shape an ideal society between 1793 and 1794, revolutionaries in many European...

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Vera Figner

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pp. 1-58

...Vera Figner was born on June 25,1852; she was the oldest of six children in a weII-to-do gentry family. Her father was a forester, and her early years were spent in the backwoods, isolated from the world. At the age of eleven, Vera was sent off to a cloistered private school for girls of the gentry, which did little to enlarge her experience. She spent six years there, cut off from contact with anyone but her feIIow students as she acquired the superficial education deemed appropriate for women of her station...

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Vera Zasulich

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pp. 59-94

...Vera Zasulich was born into an impoverished gentry family in 1849, the youngest of three daughters, all of whom subsequently became involved in radical politics. When Vera was three, her father died, leaving a smaIl estate. Her mother proved unable to raise the children on her meager income, so she sent Vera to live with wealthy relatives, the Mikulich family of Biakolovo...

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Praskovia Ivanovskaia

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pp. 95-142

...When the People's Will declared all-out war on the state, it attracted the veterans not only of Land and Liberty, but of various currents and phases of the populist movement. Many of its members came from the south of Russia, where the movement was organizationally loose but extensive and highly militant: Odessa and Kiev, in particular, were probably the two most important centers of armed struggle during 1878...

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Olga Liubatovich

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pp. 143-202

...an enigmatic being, whose biological character was at first all but clear to me: a roundish, boyish face, short-cut hair, parted face, a coarse jacket, a burning cigarette in its mouth-everything this desired impression. I looked stealthily under the table-and being took no notice at all of my presence and remained absorbed...

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Elizaveta Kovalskaia

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pp. 203-252

...Elizaveta Kovalskaia was the only woman revolutionary of her generation to be born a serf. Although her father, a wealthy landowner, did not abuse her peasant mother in the fashion of some Russian noblemen, Kovalskaia became painfully and irrevocably conscious of class inequality and oppression early in lite. Years later, she related a remarkable story from her childhood to a comrade, Osip Aptekman...

Bibliography Index

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pp. 251-252


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pp. 253-256


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pp. 257-264

E-ISBN-13: 9781609090838
Print-ISBN-13: 9780875806907

Page Count: 212
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 864685027
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Five Sisters

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Subject Headings

  • Kovalʹskai͡a, Elizaveta, 1851-1943.
  • Figner, Vera, 1852-1942.
  • Zasulich, V. I., 1849-1919.
  • Li͡ubatovich, Olʹga Spiridonovna, 1853-1917.
  • Ivanovskai͡a, Praskovʹi͡a, 1853-1935.
  • Radicalism -- Russia -- History -- 19th century.
  • Women revolutionaries -- Russia -- Biography.
  • Russia -- Politics and government -- 1855-1881.
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