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Gender and Russian revolutionary thought in exile

Le genre et la pensée révolutionnaire russe en exil
Faith Hillis
p. 75-89

Résumés

À travers l’étude des communautés créées par les révolutionnaires russes en exil en Europe entre 1860 et 1910, cet article soutient que les régimes de genre révolutionnaires ont joué un rôle essentiel dans la création et l'expression de la politique radicale. Contrairement à de nombreuses études qui abordent l'histoire intellectuelle du point de vue des textes et des débats doctrinaux, cet article soutient que l'expérience vécue - y compris l'expérience de la définition d'un nouvel ordre des genres - a joué un rôle crucial dans la formation d'idées intellectuelles abstraites. L'article analyse les régimes de genre révolutionnaires en exil (et leur évolution dans le temps) en se concentrant sur la praxis genrée de trois acteurs révolutionnaires : Vera Figner, Vera Zasulich et Vladimir Lénine. Cette approche nous permet d'identifier à la fois les cohérences et les points d'évolution des régimes de genre sur la longue durée.

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  • 1 Nikolai G. Kuliabko-Koretskii, Iz davnikh let: vospominaniia lavrista, Newtonville, MA, Oriental R (...)

1In 1872, a young Russian named Nikolai Kuliabko-Koretskii arrived to study law in Zurich. Emerging from the train station, he climbed the hill that led to the Oberstrass district, just north of the university. Along the way, he encountered groups of Russian-speaking women who sported short black skirts without adornments, blue eyeglasses, and closely cropped hair. As he approached, they refused to avert their eyes “as proper ladies do.”1 Kuliabko-Koretskii had entered one of Europe’s first “Russian colonies” – vibrant communities of radical exiles that were then proliferating across the continent. The “emancipated women” of these spaces were among the most striking symbols of their radical promise.

  • 2 The literature here is vast, but exemplars include: Edward Hallet Carr, The Romantic Exiles: A Nin (...)
  • 3 Yuri Slezkine, The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution, Princeton, Princeton Uni (...)

2It is common knowledge that exile provided fertile soil for the development of Russian radical parties and movements, and intellectual historians have lavished attention on the texts and debates that emerged abroad. Their single-minded focus on ideas, however, has left the lived experience of exile – and the ways in which it influenced intellectual cultures – under-examined.2 Even the most creative and provocative reappraisal of Russian radicalism in recent years is quick to dismiss emigration as an insignificant experience of boredom and stasis, “mostly remembered as a time of homelessness, secret conferences, frequent moves, fractious votes, work in libraries, meetings with leaders, and loneliness in a variety of strange and mostly uninteresting cities and countries – or not remembered at all…”3

3This essay takes a different approach, arguing that life in exile presented opportunities for individual and collective reinvention that profoundly shaped the face of radical thought. It is true that Europe’s Russian colonies were liminal spaces whose residents were poorly integrated into the cities they inhabited and estranged from their homelands. Yet precisely their marginality endowed them with the power to redefine the contours of their world. Russian radicals in exile built utopian communities from the ground up – spaces that expressed and often realized their ambitious dreams for a better future through their quotidian life. From the beginning of émigré history, these projects sought to reimagine some of the most foundational practices of human sociability, including gender roles, family life, and sexuality. The forms of gender radicalism that emerged from the colonies offered new repertoires for revolutionary politics, but they were far from dry expressions of theory. Rather, they were grounded in forms of quotidian praxis that were imbedded in and inseparable from revolutionary doctrine.

4In exile, Russians enjoyed the opportunity to live the revolution. However, what this meant – and the nature of the gendered ideologies that undergirded this entire venture – evolved quite dramatically over the years. This essay will explore the development of exile gender regimes between 1860 and 1917 as well as their changing relations with the outside world. Drawing on memoirs and correspondence, surveillance reports, and the periodical press, I will focus on the lives of three exiles – Vera Figner, Vera Zasulich, and Vladimir Lenin – to examine how revolutionary projects that reimagined the gender order evolved over time. Although each of these figures were exceptional in their own ways and informed by their individual experiences, they are also illustrative of three distinct phases in émigré projects to revolutionize the gender order. Understanding how a gendered praxis of everyday life underpinned their radical ideologies reveals the generativity of the exile experience as well as its inherently fissile nature.

 

  • 4 Elena Likhacheva, Materialy dlia istorii zhenskogo obrazovaniia v Rossii, 1856-1880, St. Petersbur (...)
  • 5 Richard Stites, The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 186 (...)

5In 1872, Vera Figner arrived in Zurich. A recent graduate of a women’s gymnasium, Figner was among the “emancipated women” of the 1860s who studied education, agronomy, and medicine with the intention of serving the suffering peasantry. Although the “emancipated women” were created by social and political conditions in Russia, it was in Zurich where they achieved their greatest influence. After the tsar overturned a short-lived reform that had allowed women to enroll in university courses, a small handful of Russian women transferred to Zurich’s medical school, which had recently co-educated its classes. Over the ensuing years, several hundred women followed, some of whom brought husbands and families. By 1870, a distinctively Russian neighborhood boasting about 500 residents had emerged in Zurich.4 Figner, who enrolled in the medical school determined to cultivate “economic self-sufficiency, the formation of the mind, and good,” settled in this Russian colony.5

  • 6 Nikolai Kuliabko-Koretskii, Iz davnikh let…, op. cit., p. 16, 195-205.
  • 7 Daniela Neumann, Studentinnen aus dem Russischen Reich in der Schweiz (1867-1914), Zurich, H. Rohr (...)
  • 8 Das Frauenstudium an den schweizer Hochschulen, Zurich, Rascher, 1928, p. 153-166.

6The very decision to leave Russia was the first path-breaking act of the Zurich students. Many engaged in fictive marriages with sympathetic peers to defy patriarchal laws that required women to obtain permission from a male relative in order to receive a foreign passport. Others relied on the services of traffickers who illegally spirited them across the borders.6 Once in Zurich, the Russian women accounted for about 90% of the first cohorts of female students, which meant that their every action was closely scrutinized by male students, professors, and the international press.7 Even after graduation, they remained trailblazers, becoming some of the first women to earn doctoral degrees, professional licenses, and professorial chairs.8

  • 9 Vera Figner, Studencheskie gody…, op. cit., p. 31-33, 99.

7The “emancipated women” of Zurich arrived abroad with grand dreams, but their experiences in Europe transformed their individual consciousness as well as their collective aspirations. The women settled in communes of six to eight whose members formed fierce loyalties to one another – bonds that were expressed by their closely cropped hair, simple garb, and the oversized tinted glasses that they donned. Collective study also encouraged them to bond as a group. Figner’s housemates, who called themselves “the Fritschi” after their Swiss landlady, gathered each night to pore over political treatises and to discuss the merits of various ideological systems. After extensive study, they declared themselves socialists, concluding that their personal goals of autonomy and self-actualization were only possible in the context of a broader struggle for social emancipation. Figner and several of the Fritschi also joined a women’s discussion club that endeavored to familiarize female students with pressing political issues and to enhance their comfort with public speaking.9

  • 10 Ibid., p. 19-24, 97-98 ; Ben Eklof, Tatiana Saburova, A Generation of Revolutionaries: Nikolai Cha (...)

8The communes and discussion club were initially founded to mitigate the poverty and isolation that female students faced. However, they eventually became building blocks of a new society that brought their dreams of freedom, equality, and justice to life. Both institutions challenged social hierarchies, bringing the daughters of elite bureaucrats under the same roof as women from modest backgrounds. They also offered alternatives to the patriarchal family, allowing the women to create their own support structures that revolved around mutuality and respect. Eventually, the women in these groups gravitated toward more radical experiments to transform family life and sexuality. Some members of the discussion club hailed sexual abstinence and independent living as the path to autonomy. Figner, whose husband resented the radical views she had developed in the club, eventually foreswore his financial support and demanded a divorce. Other women practiced free love and used the medical educations that they acquired abroad to experiment with abortion techniques.10

  • 11 Nikolai Kuliabko-Koretskii, Iz davnikh let…, op. cit., p. 11-18, 27 ; Vera Figner, Studencheskie g (...)

9For the women of Zurich, the personal was political: they used their own lives and their relationships with each other to express their revolutionary ideals and to bring the world of which they dreamed into being. At the same time, they created a broader revolutionary infrastructure that introduced their values to audiences beyond their tight-knit circles. They formed dense networks of libraries, canteens, and mutual aid that offered moral and material support to needy students as well as an honor court to mediate disputes.11

  • 12 Ibid., p. 128 ; Franziska Tiburtius, Erinnerungen einer Achtzigjährigen, Berlin, C. A. Schwetschke (...)

10These institutions served both male and female students as well as substantial cohorts of Poles, Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, and especially Jews who settled abroad to escape tsarist oppression. They also nourished powerful friendships and solidarities across gender and ethnic lines. The Fritschi, for example, became especially close with a group of male students from the Caucasus, who bonded with the women over their shared sense of marginality.12 These relationships between men and women who never would have met had they remained in Russia imbued the women’s dreams of emancipation with a universalist spirit, speaking to the capacity of Zurich’s émigrés to build a new revolutionary society that overcame superficial divisions.

  • 13 Abram Iakovlevich Kiperman, « Glavnye tsentry russkoi revoliutsionnoi emigratsii 70-80-kh godov XI (...)

11By the time another young woman named Vera – Vera Zasulich – arrived abroad in 1879, the population of Russian subjects living in Europe had grown rapidly, expanding far beyond Zurich. Large numbers of male and female students continued to move abroad each year, joined by legions of professional revolutionaries, including Zasulich. A member of an anarchist circle in Kiev, she fled abroad after a failed attempt to assassinate the governor of St. Petersburg. She eventually settled in the bustling Russian colony that had appeared around Geneva’s Pleinpalais square. By that time, large Russian colonies had also appeared in Paris’ 13th arrondissement and in the East End of London. These communities were so large and self-contained that some exiles lived in them for decades without ever needing the need to learn the local language of their host society.13

12The colonies of the late nineteenth century were ethnically, sociologically, and ideologically diverse, compressing the complexity of the Russian empire into compact urban districts. They welcomed socialists, anarchists, and nationalist activists, disgruntled nobles and impoverished peasants. They were majority-minority, populated primarily by the non-Russian nationalities of the imperial periphery. Nevertheless, residents were united by their shared revolutionary values and their dreams of achieving a better future.

  • 14 « Spisok pozhertvovanii, postupivshikh v kassu “Zagran. Otd. Obshch. Krasn. Kr. Narodnoi voli” », (...)
  • 15 Sergei Stepniak, Underground Russia, New York, C. Scribner’s sons, 1883, p. 19.
  • 16 « Zhozefina Ioteiko », Pervyi Zhenskii Kalendar’ na 1912 god, p. 108-110 ; « Zinaida Mitrofanovna (...)

13Zasulich and other activists who belonged to the second wave of “emancipated women” emerged as potent symbols of the colonies’ revolutionary promise. Zasulich became a revolutionary celebrity as a result of her assault on the governor and her subsequent flight from Russia, and her notoriety, in turn, made her a prominent and respected émigré leader. She organized a “revolutionary Red Cross” and was one of the first Russians to embrace Marxism after a lengthy correspondence with Marx himself.14 The colonies’ female students also contributed to these communities’ reputation as a “Jerusalem” for liberated women.15 Émigré authors hailed the path-breaking accomplishments of the Paris-trained doctor from Kiev who had established a physiological lab of her own, the economist who had become an advocate for the working women in Belgium.16

  • 17 « The London Anarchists », The Graphic, 3 September 1892 ; « Réunion organisée par le groupe des o (...)
  • 18 Charles Rappoport, Une vie révolutionnaire, 1883-1940, Paris, Éditions de la Maison des Sciences d (...)

14Women who did not achieve personal notoriety nevertheless made their own contributions to the colonies’ revolutionary mystique. Women were such integral presences at revolutionary meetings, as both speakers and attendees, that their appearances there became entirely unremarkable.17 In several cases, the economic power of female breadwinners quite literally underwrote the colonies’ radical politics. The Marxist theoreticians Georgii Plekhanov and Pavel Aksel’rod, for example, were free to focus on their intellectual work because their wives, the successful doctor Rozaliia Bograd and the tailor Nadezhda Kaminer, supported their families economically.18

  • 19 Angelica Balabanoff, My Life as a Rebel, New York, Harper and Brothers, 1938, p. 69.
  • 20 Ivan S. Dzhabadari, « Protsess 50-ti », Byloe, 21-22, 9-21 September 1907, p. 169-192 ; Khasia Shu (...)
  • 21 Nikolai Aleksandrovich Pal’chevskii, « Kratkii istoricheskii ocherk Turgenevskoi obshchestvennoi B (...)
  • 22 Ivan S. Dzhabadari, « Protsess 50-ti… », art. cit., p. 183.

15Indeed, quotidian expressions of the colonies’ gendered utopias were often the most powerful. Attire continued to serve as a powerful expression of residents’ revolutionary values. Women, in the words of one student-turned-radical, tended to dress “as plainly – even as unbecomingly – as possible, so eager were they to differentiate themselves from the parasitic women of the ruling classes.”19 Some made a habit of showing up to political meetings in full men’s suits.20 Meanwhile, efforts to create alternatives to the patriarchal nuclear family through communal same-sex living and free love continued to flourish.21 Émigré men remarked on women’s uncanny ability to coax revolutionary ideology out of the realm of ideals, to inscribe it in everyday praxis, and to distill it to outside observers. One celebrated his female comrades as “truly the most developed and conscious activists that I had met.”22

  • 23 « O Russkikh poddannykh, prozhivaiushchikh v Tsiurikhe i slushaiushchikh kursy v tamoshnem univers (...)
  • 24 The decree is cited in « Swiss Federal Council to M. A. Gorchakov », 22 January 1875, in Danièle T (...)

16Of course, the revolutionary gender order that exiles built abroad was not universally admired. From the first days of the Zurich experiment, tsarist officials focused intense – and unwelcome – attention on that city’s Russian residents. An 1873 imperial commission charged that Zurich’s female students propagated “communist theories of free love and changed their lovers more often than their gloves,” adding that they promoted “utopian, almost revolutionary” ideas about “the equalization of rights of women with those of men” that threatened to “destroy the very basis of the family.”23 The following year tsar Alexander II issued a decree demanding the return of all women studying in Zurich, announcing that those who defied his order would be barred from obtaining further education in Russia.24 Although many defied his demand, relocating to other cities in Europe, they would continue to face surveillance and harassment by the tsarist police abroad.

  • 25 Vladimir Medem, Vladimir Medem, the Life and soul of a Legendary Jewish Socialist, Ktav Publishing (...)

17Misgivings about the colonies’ efforts to rebuild the gender order also emerged from within the émigré community. The socialist activist Vladimir Medem offers one example in his recounting of a scandal that had rocked the Bern colony during his student days. A young woman who had become pregnant demanded that her lover marry her. When he refused, she went to the colony court, which ordered the young man to comply with her demands. However, shortly after the couple married, it became clear that the woman had never been pregnant in the first place. In spite of Medem’s radical ideology, he revealed surprisingly conservative views in his discussion of this affair, describing “the din created by the girls; the digging into the most intimate subjects; and the hauling up of a deeply personal matter virtually into the street” as “dreadfully repellent.”25

18Medem’s distress over the episode not only revealed the discomfort provoked by the colonies’ schemes to redefine the gender order, but also testified to the fissile character of these experiments. The same intimacies and solidarities that infused exile life with such positive potential in this case also became their downfall, producing the “small-town tempest” to which Medem objected. Moreover, Medem, like the members of the tsarist commission that ordered the Zurich students home, inverted the meaning of the struggle for women’s emancipation. He associates it with chaos and antisocial lust rather than a struggle for the better world of the future; he portrays the women’s ability to merge the personal and the political as dangers rather than accomplishments.

  • 26 Vera Figner, Studencheskie gody…, op. cit., p. 21-22, 189-198.
  • 27 P. N. Ariian, Pervyi zhenskii kalendar’ na 1909 god, St. Petersburg, 1909, p. 255 ; also « Pechal’ (...)
  • 28 Ibid., p. 136.

19The women of the colonies were clear-eyed about the resistance that they faced from within their communities and beyond them. Figner remarked that an unusually high number of her female comrades had met unfortunate ends, falling victim to madness or suicide.26 Periodicals aimed at female students frankly described the social and intellectual hardships that they should expect to face, warning that they would “live and study under the most difficult situations.”27 One recounted the tragic fate of a certain Aleksandra Lei. A student of physical sciences at the Sorbonne, she had pursued her study with abandon in spite of hostility she endured from professors and landlords who mistrusted “educated women.” While preparing for her exams, she developed gangrene on three fingers, but ignored advice to seek medical care lest it distract her from her work. Lei performed brilliantly on her exams, becoming the first woman to earn a diploma in her field. Just after her exam, however, she went into shock, lost consciousness, and ultimately died.28

20This piece highlighted the myriad challenges that Lei faced. Yet in recounting this tragic anecdote, the author inscribed Lei’s defiance – and that of women like her – into the colonies’ lore. Although Lei’s determination had quite literally been the death of her, her story, retold to other émigrés, could inspire other women to emulate her efforts to reach her fullest intellectual potential and to make the world a better place. In moments of both triumph and despair, the struggle of Lei and other women like her gave abstract revolutionary ideas a living human form.

 

  • 29 Petr Lavrov, Vera Zasulich, « To the English People », APP, BA 196.
  • 30 « Anarchist morality » and « Anarchism: Its philosophy and ideal », in Roger N. Baldwin (ed.), Kro (...)

21Although the colonies appeared as worlds apart – a quality that allowed their residents to redefine the foundations of society and to live the revolution – they were also engaged in dialogues with the outside world that profoundly influenced their own evolution. The colonies’ very existence was indebted to the liberal asylum regimes of France, England and Switzerland. Consequently, although émigrés critiqued the values of their European host societies, they strove to remain in their good graces, framing their radical ideas in terms that would appeal to Westerners. In a message to Europeans, Zasulich and a revolutionary comrade described the terrorist tactics they employed against the tsarist regime as righteous acts of vengeance justified by the autocracy’s brutality and the “cruel sufferings of the condemned.”29 Similarly, the anarchist Piotr Kropotkin described anarchism as a force that promoted “individual development and freedom” and as an escape from the “deceit, cunning, exploitation, depravity, vice” that had deformed modern society.30

  • 31 James Mavor, My Windows on the Street of the World, London, E. P. Dutton and Co., 1923, t. II, p.  (...)
  • 32 « The Nihilisms and Socialisms of the World », The Eclectic Magazine, t. LII, September 1890, p.  (...)
  • 33 Margaret Jones Bolsterli, The Early Community at Bedford Park, Athens, Ohio University Press, 1977 (...)

22Europeans who engaged with the colonies often remarked on their difference, but many also drew inspiration from their alternative lifestyles. One Briton who frequented émigré gatherings remarked on the Russians’ fondness of “fundamental discussions” and their willingness to “tear things up by the roots to examine them.”31 A visitor to Paris’ Russian colony observed that the “weird reformers” practiced many odd behaviors, but he added that Christ and John the Baptist had also been rebels in their time.32 In certain progressive circles, Russian exiles acquired reputations as prophets of social and political transformation. For example, the confessed terrorist Sergei Stepniak joined with a group of West London reformers to create Bedford Park, a planned settlement that revolved around cheap mass-produced homes and emphasized mutual aid.33

  • 34 « Russia », The Times, 7 April 1881, p. 5 ; « Vera Zassoulitch », Le Gaulois, 28 February 1880, p. (...)
  • 35 Sofya Kovalevskaia, Nihilist Girl, New York, MLA, 2001.
  • 36 « Russian Women », The Anglo-Russian, 9, 1906, n° 12, p. 1031.

23The revolutionary gender order that colony residents had built made a particularly strong impression on European observers. Reportage on female exiles often highlighted their “masculine” and “unladylike” traits. One French newspaper, for example, described Zasulich as possessing a “strong will, and a brusque manner… the opposite of most young women her age.”34 Far from contesting such stereotypes, émigrés embraced them. Sonia Kovalevskaia, the first woman to hold a chair of mathematics, wrote an autobiographical novel, Nihilist Girl, that offered a sympathetic portrait of the efforts of women of her generation to destroy patriarchal injustice in all its forms. First published in Geneva in 1891, it went on to be translated into at least six European languages.35 A male émigré boasted, “in other countries women strive for themselves, for their own peculiar ‘women’s rights,’ but in Russia it is not woman for woman, but woman for humanity.”36

  • 37 Cited in Patricia Mazon, Gender and the Modern Research University, Stanford, Stanford University (...)
  • 38 Victor Böhmert, « Das Frauenstudium nach den Erfahrungen an der Zürcher Universität », in Das Arbe (...)

24Discussions about the unusual traits and accomplishments of Russian women opened new conversations about the roles that women could and should play in society more broadly. Many European men who had interacted with female students from Russia unabashedly sang their praises. The rector of Bern University remarked that the Russian women whom he had encountered were “hard-working, live quietly, and have not given university officials the least cause to regret having admitted them.”37 A Swiss professor went further still, insisting that women were in every way the equals of men.38

  • 39 « Notes sur Paris. Nihilisme », Événement, 29 February 1880, APP, BA 196.

25The notion that the women of the colonies could open new avenues for their sisters acquired broad resonance in other contexts as well. A short story that appeared in a Paris newspaper follows a French student who falls in love with a female medical student from Russia. It places the woman in the familiar role of a sexual object, describing the narrator’s fascination with her unique combination of delicate lips and a “masculine physiognomy.” Yet in treating her androgynous appearance as the source of her sexual allure, the story also charts out new ways for women to move through the world. Indeed, at the end, the female student disappears without a trace, leaving her pursuer bereft. Her abandonment of her beau accords her with a new kind of power once available only to men.39

  • 40 « L’assassinat du général Mesentsew », Le Monde illustré, 31 August 1878, p. 134 ; G. Valbert, « L (...)
  • 41 « Courrier du palais », L’univers illustré, 22 June 1878, p. 394.

26The treatments of Russian women analyzed above are universalist in spirit, testifying to the capability of women to participate in intellectual endeavors and to acquire power just as effectively as men. However, other European observers were inspired by the particular experiences of Russian women, remarking on the suffering they had endured as well as the defiance that had allowed them to overcome it. Much of the coverage of Zasulich’s assassination attempt came from this point of view. A French illustrated journal marveled that the slight young woman in her twenties had secured her place in “universal history,” shaking the tsarist police state to its core.40 Another publication treated Zasulich’s assassination attempt and her subsequent escape from the police as a stunning example of how the small and oppressed could emerge victorious from the battle against powerful patriarchal forces.41

  • 42 Sofia Vasilev’na Kovalevskaia, Sonya Kovalevsky: Her Reflections of Childhood, New York, Century C (...)
  • 43 The Anglo-Russian, I, December 1897, n° 1, p. 72; « Votes for women », The Anglo-Russian, 11, Apri (...)
  • 44 Kevin Grant, « British suffragettes and the Russian method of hunger strike », Comparative Studies (...)

27Attracted by the colonies’ opportunities for radical female empowerment, social reformers and feminist activists such as Annie Besant, Isabella Ford, Beatrice Webb, and Ellen Key flocked to émigré enclaves. There, they joined salons and political meetings as well as organizations that advocated for the rights of women and exiles.42 British suffragettes developed especially close relationships with radical Russians, who were strong supporters of their cause.43 In fact, the suffragettes appear to have learned the tactic of the hunger strike from their Russian friends, who hailed its use by Siberian prisoners to protest abuses.44

  • 45 Juliet M. Hueffer Soskice, Chapters from Childhood, New York, Selwyn & Blount, 1922, p. 236.

28Progressive Western women who gravitated to the colonies found that their engagement in these communities liberated them from conventional gender roles that they found stifling. Some were struck by the open and non-hierarchical spirit of the émigré gatherings they attended; upon meeting Kropotkin, Juliet Hueffer, the granddaughter of the artist Ford Madox Brown, remarked, “He was one of the most learned men alive, but he was not too proud to talk to me although there were a lot of other people and I was so ignorant.”45 Others escaped the strictures of bourgeois mores by attending workers’ meetings and exploring the radical clubs that had emerged in East London’s Russian colony.

  • 46 Barry Cornish Johnson, Tea and Anarchy…, op. cit., p. 125.

29Just as the émigrés’ lived experience had altered their understandings of freedom, Western women who frequented the colonies experienced profound personal transformations. The British teenager Olive Garnett, who met Russians in the British Library, which her father ran, kept a vivid diary that recounts how her experiences with the exiles altered her sense of self. She embarked on an intensive study of Russian language and history with Stepniak, and joined her new friends at East End demonstrations and radical clubs. These relationships offered her a newfound sense of autonomy and eventually led her to embrace the exiles’ radical political platforms, including the abolition of marriage. The relationship also catalyzed Olive’s sexual awakening, for she fell in love with Stepniak. Garnett’s relationship with the Russian attracted ridicule from her father and his friends, who chided her for acting a “little rebel, going in for Russians & revolutionists & all that sort of thing.” This patriarchal pressure, however, only deepened Olive’s attraction to Stepniak and his comrades.46

  • 47 Isabel Meredith, A Girl among the Anarchists, London, 1903, p. 13-18 (quote from p. 17).
  • 48 Ibid., p. 56, 19.

30Olivia and Helen Rossetti, the daughters of the writer and critic William Michael Rossetti, friends of Garnett, and the cousins of Juliet Hueffer, also became deeply involved in émigré circles. Under the Russians’ influence, the teenagers gravitated to anarchism and launched a radical journal. The Rossetti sisters left a chronicle of their discovery of radical politics in A Girl among the Anarchists, a largely autobiographical novel that they co-authored under a pseudonym. The novel’s protagonist first discovers Russian radicalism through Kropotkin’s pamphlets. She then begins to attend a salon where she meets emancipated women as well as Russian Marxists and anarchists, whom she admires for their “habit of taking nothing for granted, of boldly inquiring into the origin of all accepted precepts of morality, of intellectual speculation unbiased by prejudice…”47 Eventually, she becomes a fixture of London’s radical political scene, founding a clandestine press and traveling between anarchist safe houses in the East End. These activities at once free her from “all the ideas, customs, and prejudices which usually influence my class” and catalyze her transformation from a diffident orphan to a confident and independent young woman who is her “own mistress.”48

  • 49 Report of Agent Star, 20 May 1884 ; Report of Agent 20, 7 August 1886, both in APP, BA 196, 331, 3 (...)

31Progressive Western women were not the only foreign observers who recognized the colonies’ emancipatory promise. Irish, Persian, Turkish, Chinese, Egyptian, and Indian nationalists living in exile also gravitated to the Russians. Inspired by the latter’s reputation as warriors for justice and equality, anti-colonial activists also took notice of the Russians’ opposition to militarization and social Darwinism. In these conversations, too, Russian women often emerged as potent symbols of the capacity of the once disempowered to avenge the abuse of helpless victims and to vanquish the strong.49

  • 50 Oscar Wilde, Vera, or the Nihilists, Boston, 1883 ; Michael Newton, « Nihilists of Castlebar! Expo (...)

32Irish nationalists were particularly drawn to Russian revolutionaries, whose struggle offered an aesopic means of discussing their own quest for freedom at a time when open conversations about Irish liberation were impossible in England. A striking example of this Russian-Irish nexus appears in Oscar Wilde’s first play, “Vera of the Nihilists,” which is clearly inspired by the story of Vera Zasulich. Telling the story of a young Russian woman who joined a conspiracy to assassinate the tsar in retribution for the suffering endured by her convict brother, the play celebrates the capacity of a single woman to shake an empire to its core. According to the literary critic Michael Newton, the message would have been unmistakable for Irish audiences: no matter how disempowered they might feel, they must emulate Vera’s struggle to liberate her people from colonial oppression.50

  • 51 Clipping from Journal de Lausanne, 8 June 1904, AN, F7/12521.
  • 52 Theodor L. W. von Bischoff, Das Studium und die Ausübung der Medicin durch Frauen, Munich, Literar (...)
  • 53 Louis Andrieux, Souvenirs d’un préfet de police, Paris, 1885, t. I, p. 185-200 (quote from p. 199)

33Of course, not all Western observers appreciated the radical experiments of the colonies. Some accused Russian women of possessing an “abnormal psychology” and leading a “double life,” passing as ordinary scholars by day until they transformed into revolutionary combatants at night.51 Others identified Russian women as enemies of family and social stability, accusing them of selfishly pursuing their own ambitions and of participating in lesbian activity.52 These anxieties only intensified after Russian radicals succeeded in assassinating the tsar in 1881 – an event that raised concern that émigrés would spread violence and chaos across Europe. Paris’ prefect of police warned that the exiles who had sought refuge in his city had shown a “contempt for human life” and a “desire to overturn all authority,” arguing that republics and monarchies alike had a common interest in stamping them out.53

  • 54 P. Ivanow, Confession d’un nihiliste, précédée d’une étude sur les nihilistes en général, Paris, L (...)
  • 55 Un gentilhomme russe, Russie et liberté, Paris, Albert Savine, 1889, p. 89.

34The Russian secret police – who organized their own outreach campaigns that endeavored to turn Western public opinion against exiles – seized on these concerns and amplified them. In books and pamphlets that they published for European audiences as well as in contributions made by their agents embedded in European papers, they insisted that émigrés were social reprobates motivated by “bestial instincts” and “political charlatanism,” not pitiful refugees.54 Turning exile utopias on their heads, they warned that the revolutionary gender order that had emerged from the colonies had already undermined the family and would eventually lead to the downfall of society.55

  • 56 « Le procès des nihilistes russes », L’éclair, 3 July 1890, p. 1-2 ; « Chronique judiciaire », Le (...)

35The Russian police also used provocation to shape public opinion. The most successful example of this tactic occurred in 1890 in Paris. An agent provocateur supplied professional revolutionaries and students, both male and female, with bomb-building materials, and then alerted the French police, who raided the émigrés’ dwellings and arrested the Russians. The French police would not realize that the entire “plot” had been organized by their Russian counterpart until 1909.56

  • 57 « Russian conservative view of the Siberian atrocities », The Times, 14 March 1890, p. 13 ; « Book (...)
  • 58 Grant Allen, « The dynamiter’s sweetheart », Strand Magazine, 8 July 1894, p. 137-148.

36The 1890 incident, understood at the time as one of the first of what would become a wave of anarchist outrages, had major repercussions. Mainstream outlets assumed an increasingly hostile tone toward the émigrés, characterizing them as “wretched men and women” who demonstrated “social depravity.”57 A short story that appeared in a British publication captures many of the anxieties of the time. It recounts the tragic tale of a young American woman studying art in Paris who had taken up with a radical exile.58 At the beginning of the narrative, she expresses her horror at the abuses of the tsar and her sympathy for the revolutionaries fighting him. Over the course of the story, however, she grows increasingly disturbed by the violent tactics of the radicals with whom she consorts. The tale concludes with her watching in horror as her lover hurls a bomb at innocent civilians on the street. The story presents the émigrés who had claimed to lead the world toward freedom and a new revolutionary morality as terrorists with no regard for the suffering they caused. It also inverts the revolutionary gender order created by the Russians, portraying the woman’s engagement with the Russian colonies as a source of anguish and ruin, not personal liberation.

37The shifts in public opinion that occurred in the 1890s struck a devastating blow to the revolutionary lifestyles of the colonies. Intensifying police surveillance and public blowback plunged their residents into despair and left their women struggling against narratives that presented them as threatening presences or hapless victims rather than agents of emancipation. Colony life revealed the generative potential of exile, but it also showed the capacity of the émigrés’ gendered utopias to evolve in unforeseen – and sometimes, unwelcome – directions.

 

  • 59 L. Martov, Zapiski sotsial-demokrata, Berlin, 1922, p. 400-408 ; Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaia (...)

38In 1900, Vladimir Ul’ianov arrived in Europe with his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaia. Just released from several years of Siberian exile, the couple would use their time in exile to embark on a wholesale renovation of Russian Marxism. While still in Siberia, Ul’ianov, who wrote under the nom de guerre Lenin, delivered blistering critiques of the shortcomings of émigré intellectuals. Once in Europe, he rejected the Marxist orthodoxy that revolution would evolve out of social contradictions, insisting that it would necessarily be incited and guided by experienced cadres.59 These ideas, which would become the foundation of Bolshevism, are usually portrayed as the outgrowth of a long and distinctively Russian philosophical tradition. However, this new doctrine was profoundly shaped by the milieu of the colonies and their utopian project to hasten the arrival of a new political order by transforming everyday life.

  • 60 Grigorii Kramol’nikov, « Iz vospominanii delegate III s’’ezda partii », in F. N. Petrov et al. (ed (...)
  • 61 Vladimir I. Lenin, « O manifeste “soiza armianskikh sotsial-demokratov” », « Natsional’nyi vopros (...)

39Lenin saw precisely what others valued about émigré life – its intimacy and striving for emancipation from below – as its greatest liabilities. He insisted that the colonies’ traditions of communal living and their boisterous public life assisted the work of the police spies working to infiltrate these communities. As he explained to a subordinate: “When you are taken up with secret, conspiratorial matters, you must not speak with those whom you normally converse, nor about the things you usually talk about, but only with those you need to talk to about only about things you need to talk about.”60 He similarly condemned émigrés’ grassroots campaigns to liberate ethnic minorities and denounced the Marxist women who demanded special publications and party organizations for female workers as a “right deviation towards [bourgeois] feminism.” The path to liberation, he preached, would be blazed by a centralized, conspiratorial party that embraced the universalist mission of emancipating all mankind, not the agenda of one particular group or another.61

40The Bolsheviks’ harsh condemnation of particularism and their emphasis on central direction was a dramatic departure from émigré culture in many respects. Yet at the same time, it continued the long exile tradition of creating a new gender order and using it to articulate revolutionary lifestyles and values. Lenin often described the party he wished to build in masculinist terms – as a “party of extreme opposition,” the purveyor of a hard and uncompromising ideological line. Party activists reinforced this gendered culture by taking noms de guerre that emphasized their masculine fortitude: Kamenev (rock), Molotov (hammer), and Stalin (steel).

  • 62 Petr Struve, « My contacts and conflicts with Lenin, pt 1 », The Slavonic and East European Review(...)

41Lenin’s critics denounced both his project and style as anti-democratic, self-aggrandizing, and averse to “any spirit of compromise.” However, these very qualities endeared him to the generation of young activists coming of age amidst the crises of the twentieth century. By 1904, a small cohort of young revolutionaries who admired Lenin and his vision had begun to coalesce in Geneva.62

  • 63 Report of Lenin Institute, 2 July 1926, Nicolaevsky Collection, Hoover Institution Archives, Box 6 (...)
  • 64 Lidiia Aleksandrovna Fotieva, Iz zhizni Lenina, Moscow, Gos. izd-vo polit. lit-ry, 1956, p. 10, 13 (...)

42Lenin’s quotidian life in exile, like that of previous generations of émigrés, simultaneously defined and modeled the revolutionary values he professed. Eschewing the rowdy commune in which his Marxist compatriots gathered, Lenin and his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaia, took private apartments during stints in Munich, London, Paris, and Geneva.63 They also distanced themselves from the chosen revolutionary families that had served as the backbone of émigré life since the 1860s, maintaining a more conventional family life. Krupskaia, a hardened revolutionary in her own right, was a poor cook and housekeeper, but the couple was joined in exile by her mother and Lenin’s sister, who took on much of the family’s domestic labor. The Ul’ianovs also hired a maid to assist with the housekeeping.64

  • 65 Leopold Haimson, The Making…, op. cit., p. 123; Helen Rappaport, Conspirator: Lenin in Exile, Lond (...)

43Lenin’s retreat to the family home as a space for revolutionary plotting reflected his belief in the importance of conspiracy in the revolutionary movement. It also expressed his paternalistic mindset. Krupskaia was entrusted with the complex and important job of managing her husband’s correspondence. However, unlike radical exile women of previous generations, she confined her revolutionary activities to the private sphere, leaving the task of giving speeches to her husband. Acquaintances of the Ul’ianovs also remarked on Krupskaia’s deference to her husband – especially her tendency to refer to him by his patronymic, Il’ich, which conveyed her subservience and respect.65

  • 66 Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaia, Vospominaniia…, op. cit., p. 44.

44Indeed, Krupskaia appears to have shared her husband’s skepticism (if not scorn) for the ways that the older generation of exiles had conceived of the cause of women’s liberation. In her memoirs, Krupskaia paints a rather unflattering portrait of Zasulich, with whom the couple worked very closely in their first years of exile. As a member of the generation that had associated free love with autonomy, Zasulich had never married. However, Krupskaia suggested that rather than fulfilling Zasulich, this choice had left her lonely and isolated. Krupskaia presented the older woman as a miserable spinster who lamented that no one would mourn her impending death, and that its only consequence would be that her commune mates would have one less glass of tea to prepare in the morning.66

  • 67 « Surveillance générale des révolutionnaires russes », 18 February 1905, AN, F7/15978/1.

45Lenin and Krupskaia, then, defined a new – and highly gendered – mode of living the revolution even as they repudiated the radical gender regime that had prevailed in the colonies for several decades. Like previous generations of exiles, their everyday lives became the primary medium for articulating this new order. In 1904, the original cohort of Bolsheviks moved out of Geneva’s bustling Russian colony surrounding the Pleinpalais square and relocated a few blocks south to the banks of the Arve. There, within a two-block radius, they established two low-cost cafeterias, a museum, a party archive, a library, a printing press, and a hotel to house activists visiting from Russia. This new Bolshevik district offered activists easy access to the heart of Russian Geneva, which they still visited to conduct agitation, while offering them the privacy and exclusivity that Lenin’s ideas of conspiracy preached were necessary.67

  • 68 Nikolay Valentinov, Encounters with Lenin, London, Oxford University Press, 1968, p. 82-86 and 186 (...)

46The culture of the Bolshevik colony was distinctly patriarchal. The Bolshevik district was populated by many married couples equally devoted to the revolutionary cause, but the women tended to do their party work behind the scenes, leaving the men to serve as its public face. Several women helped Krupskaia to manage party correspondence, while another female Bolshevik assumed the crucial but conventionally feminine role of cooking for the Bolshevik canteen. Lenin was the undisputed paterfamilias, mediating conflicts and providing intellectual guidance.68

  • 69 Il’ia Erenburg, « Liudi, gody, zhizn’ », Novyi mir, 8, 1960, p. 58.
  • 70 Anatolii Lunacharskii, Vospominaniia i vpechatleniia, Moscow, 1968, p. 91-92; Lidiia Aleksandrovna (...)
  • 71 Elizaveta Drabkina, Chernye sukhari, Moscow, Khudozh. lit., 1970, p. 19.

47Party rituals reinforced Lenin’s fatherly authority. One party member recalled that when the Bolsheviks convened at cafes, Lenin alone ordered beer. The party rank and file drank grenadine, a beverage usually associated with children.69 Krupskaia, for her part, established a reputation as a “little party mama” who was “even-keeled, calm, kindly, and always caring, ready to help every comrade.”70 In at least one case, she took her maternal role quite literally, agreeing to look after the young child of a Bolshevik couple who returned to Russia to conduct agitation.71

  • 72 Lev Kamenev, « Na Bazel’skom kongresse », in Mezhdu dvumia revoliutsiiami, Moscow, Novaia Moskva, (...)
  • 73 Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaia, Vospominaniia…, op. cit., p. 141 ; « Londonskii s’’ezd rossiisk (...)

48Collisions with the Bolsheviks’ revolutionary adversaries also defined their masculinist revolutionary style. Party activists frequently contrasted their approach to that of European socialists, whom they denounced as effeminate, wavering lackeys of capitalism and servants of imperialist interests.72 They similarly criticized Russian radical exiles who did not share their views as soft and unprincipled presences. They charged that the Mensheviks, for example, cultivated an “atmosphere of agreements and compromises” and harbored a pathological fear of “anything that could scare away the liberal bourgeoisie.”73

  • 74 Nikolaï Aleksandrovitch Semashko, Prozhitoe i perezhitoe, Moscow, Gos. izd-vo polit. lit-ry, 1960, (...)
  • 75 Robert Service, Lenin: A Biography, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2000, p. 189.

49The Bolsheviks relied on violence, both physical and rhetorical, to demonstrate their iron will. For example, they engaged in revolutionary expropriations in spite of resolutions passed by Russian Marxists condemning the tactic.74 They also became notorious for the ad hominem attacks that they levied on rivals. Debating with Lenin at a Paris café, Viktor Chernov, the leader of the Socialist Revolutionaries, remarked that if Lenin ever managed to win power, he would hang the members of Chernov’s party. Without a moment of hesitation, Lenin responded that after he eliminated the SRs, he would kill the Mensheviks too.75

  • 76 « O natsional’noi programme RSDRP », PSS, 24, 1913, p. 223-229.
  • 77 Elizabeth Wood, The Baba and the Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia, Bloomington (...)

50Bolshevik ideology, like previous revolutionary experiments in emigration, was profoundly shaped by and attuned to the émigré milieu in which it took shape. But as social conditions around exiled Bolsheviks changed, the party’s ideas evolved accordingly. By the eve of the First World War, Lenin softened his stringent universalism, acknowledging that liberation struggles on the part of oppressed nations were a vital part of the international struggle against imperialism.76 In response to growing agitation on behalf of female workers, the party also warmed to the Marxist women’s movement, blessing the creation of a Bolshevik women’s journal.77 Ironically, by the time the Bolsheviks returned to Russia in 1917, they would acquire a reputation as the most impassioned champions of women and national minorities. Nevertheless, the masculinist political style and patriarchal structure that the party developed in exile would remain one of its most distinctive calling cards. The central role that gender acquired in émigré utopias would consequently become an important concern of Soviet politics as well.

 

51The case of the Russian colonies speaks to the generative potential of marginality. It was precisely the liminal existence of colony residents that allowed them to reimagine the world from the ground up by creating new family, gender, and sexual norms. The émigré tradition of living the revolution evolved several times over – and in tandem with the world around the colonies. Yet throughout this process, gendered utopias stood at the center of the revolutionary projects that unfolded in exile.

52This case study invites us to reassess the relationship between the central and peripheral in another sense as well. Gender, sexuality, and private life have long been confined to the margins of exile history, which tends to focus on the social and cultural world. Yet in Europe’s Russian colonies, gender was no mere accessory to political life; on the contrary, it defined the colonies’ revolutionary potential. As other studies in this collection suggest, the central role that gender played in exile life for colony residents may have been more typical than exceptional.

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Notes

1 Nikolai G. Kuliabko-Koretskii, Iz davnikh let: vospominaniia lavrista, Newtonville, MA, Oriental Research Partners, 1976, p. 11-12.

2 The literature here is vast, but exemplars include: Edward Hallet Carr, The Romantic Exiles: A Nineteenth-Century Portrait Gallery, Boston, Beacon Press, 1961 ; Martin E. Malia, Alexander Herzen and the Birth of Russian Socialism, 1812-1855, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1961 ; Bruno Naarden, Socialist Europe and Revolutionary Russia: Perception and Prejudice, 1848-1923, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992 ; Paul Avrich, Bakunin and Nechaev, London, Freedom Press, 1974 ; Leopold H. Haimson, The Russian Marxists and the Origins of Bolshevism, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1955.

3 Yuri Slezkine, The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2017, p. 46.

4 Elena Likhacheva, Materialy dlia istorii zhenskogo obrazovaniia v Rossii, 1856-1880, St. Petersburg, M.M. Stasiulevich, 1901, p. 472-483 ; Katherina Belser (ed.), Ebenso neu als kühn: 120 Jahre Frauenstudium an der Universität Zürich, Zurich, eFeF-Verlag, 1998, p. 121-140.

5 Richard Stites, The Women’s Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860-1930, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1991, p. 75-88; Vera Figner, Studencheskie gody, 1872-1876, Moscow, Golos truda, 1924, p. 6.

6 Nikolai Kuliabko-Koretskii, Iz davnikh let…, op. cit., p. 16, 195-205.

7 Daniela Neumann, Studentinnen aus dem Russischen Reich in der Schweiz (1867-1914), Zurich, H. Rohr, 1987, p. 12.

8 Das Frauenstudium an den schweizer Hochschulen, Zurich, Rascher, 1928, p. 153-166.

9 Vera Figner, Studencheskie gody…, op. cit., p. 31-33, 99.

10 Ibid., p. 19-24, 97-98 ; Ben Eklof, Tatiana Saburova, A Generation of Revolutionaries: Nikolai Charushin and Russian Populism from the Great Reforms to Perestroika, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2017, p. 104 ; Barbara Alpern Engel, Mothers and Daughters: Women of the Intelligentsia in Nineteenth-Century Russia, Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 2000, p. 193.

11 Nikolai Kuliabko-Koretskii, Iz davnikh let…, op. cit., p. 11-18, 27 ; Vera Figner, Studencheskie gody…, op. cit., p. 29-31.

12 Ibid., p. 128 ; Franziska Tiburtius, Erinnerungen einer Achtzigjährigen, Berlin, C. A. Schwetschke, 1923, p. 92, 104.

13 Abram Iakovlevich Kiperman, « Glavnye tsentry russkoi revoliutsionnoi emigratsii 70-80-kh godov XIX v. », Istoricheskie zapiski, 88, 1971, p. 257-295. For an interactive map of the Russian colonies, https://www.utopiasdiscontents.com/explore-the-russian-colonies.

14 « Spisok pozhertvovanii, postupivshikh v kassu “Zagran. Otd. Obshch. Krasn. Kr. Narodnoi voli” », Na rodine, London, 1882, 1, p. 71-72 ; Karl Marx to Vera Zasulich, 8 March 1881, https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1881/zasulich/reply.htm.

15 Sergei Stepniak, Underground Russia, New York, C. Scribner’s sons, 1883, p. 19.

16 « Zhozefina Ioteiko », Pervyi Zhenskii Kalendar’ na 1912 god, p. 108-110 ; « Zinaida Mitrofanovna Kochetkova », ibid., p. 111.

17 « The London Anarchists », The Graphic, 3 September 1892 ; « Réunion organisée par le groupe des ouvriers israélites de Paris », 23 March 1902, Archives de la Préfecture de Police, Pantin (APP), BA 1811.

18 Charles Rappoport, Une vie révolutionnaire, 1883-1940, Paris, Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 1991, p. 328 ; Pavel B. Aksel’rod, Perezhitoe i peredumannoe, Berlin, Z. I. Grzhebina, 1923, p. 142-143.

19 Angelica Balabanoff, My Life as a Rebel, New York, Harper and Brothers, 1938, p. 69.

20 Ivan S. Dzhabadari, « Protsess 50-ti », Byloe, 21-22, 9-21 September 1907, p. 169-192 ; Khasia Shur, Vospominaniia, Kursk, Izdat. Avt., 1928, p. 62.

21 Nikolai Aleksandrovich Pal’chevskii, « Kratkii istoricheskii ocherk Turgenevskoi obshchestvennoi Biblioteki v Parizhe », 1954, Bakhmeteff Archive, Columbia University (BACU), N. A. Pal’chevskii papers, Turgenev Library subject file ; report of Annemasse railroad police, 16 October 1882, AN, F7/12521 ; « Conférence russe », 4 April 1886, APP, BA 1144 ; Mina Graur, An « Anarchist Rabbi », Rice University, 1989, p. 77-78.

22 Ivan S. Dzhabadari, « Protsess 50-ti… », art. cit., p. 183.

23 « O Russkikh poddannykh, prozhivaiushchikh v Tsiurikhe i slushaiushchikh kursy v tamoshnem universitete », Gosudarstvennyi Arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii (GARF), f. 109, op. 157, d. 215, t. 1, l. 84, 88-89.

24 The decree is cited in « Swiss Federal Council to M. A. Gorchakov », 22 January 1875, in Danièle Tosato-Rigo et al. (eds.), Shveitsariia-Rossiia, 1813-1955: Kontakty i razryvy, Bern, P. Haupt, 1994, p. 189.

25 Vladimir Medem, Vladimir Medem, the Life and soul of a Legendary Jewish Socialist, Ktav Publishing House, 1979, p. 310-312 (quote from p. 312).

26 Vera Figner, Studencheskie gody…, op. cit., p. 21-22, 189-198.

27 P. N. Ariian, Pervyi zhenskii kalendar’ na 1909 god, St. Petersburg, 1909, p. 255 ; also « Pechal’naia istoriia odnoi iz truzhenits nauki », Zhenskoe obrazovanie, 6, 1881, n° 2, p. 133-141.

28 Ibid., p. 136.

29 Petr Lavrov, Vera Zasulich, « To the English People », APP, BA 196.

30 « Anarchist morality » and « Anarchism: Its philosophy and ideal », in Roger N. Baldwin (ed.), Kropotkin’s Revolutionary Pamphlets, New York, 1927, p. 92, 95, 99, 141.

31 James Mavor, My Windows on the Street of the World, London, E. P. Dutton and Co., 1923, t. II, p. 99. For more on the exiles’ social circles, see ibid., p. 95-96 ; Ford Madox Ford, Return to Yesterday, New York, Liveright, 1932, p. 75-77.

32 « The Nihilisms and Socialisms of the World », The Eclectic Magazine, t. LII, September 1890, p.  378, 380.

33 Margaret Jones Bolsterli, The Early Community at Bedford Park, Athens, Ohio University Press, 1977, p. 105 ; Dennis Hardy, Alternative Communities in Nineteenth-Century England, New York, Longman, 1979, p. 155-210.

34 « Russia », The Times, 7 April 1881, p. 5 ; « Vera Zassoulitch », Le Gaulois, 28 February 1880, p. 1.

35 Sofya Kovalevskaia, Nihilist Girl, New York, MLA, 2001.

36 « Russian Women », The Anglo-Russian, 9, 1906, n° 12, p. 1031.

37 Cited in Patricia Mazon, Gender and the Modern Research University, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2003, p. 61.

38 Victor Böhmert, « Das Frauenstudium nach den Erfahrungen an der Zürcher Universität », in Das Arbeiterfreund, Berlin, L. Simon, 1874, p. 305-317.

39 « Notes sur Paris. Nihilisme », Événement, 29 February 1880, APP, BA 196.

40 « L’assassinat du général Mesentsew », Le Monde illustré, 31 August 1878, p. 134 ; G. Valbert, « Le procès de Vera Zassoulitch », Revue des deux mondes, t. 27, May-June 1878, p. 216.

41 « Courrier du palais », L’univers illustré, 22 June 1878, p. 394.

42 Sofia Vasilev’na Kovalevskaia, Sonya Kovalevsky: Her Reflections of Childhood, New York, Century Company, 1895, p. 172, 290 ; Annie Besant, Annie Besant: An Autobiography, London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1920, p. 311-312; Anat Vernitski, « Russian revolutionaries and English sympathizers in 1890s London: The case of Olive Garnett and Sergei Stepniak », Journal of European Studies, 35, 2005, n° 3, p. 299-314.

43 The Anglo-Russian, I, December 1897, n° 1, p. 72; « Votes for women », The Anglo-Russian, 11, April 1908, n° 10, p. 1176 ; Barry Cornish Johnson, Tea and Anarchy! The Bloomsbury Diary of Olive Garnett, 1890-1893, London, Bartlett’s Press, 1989, p141.

44 Kevin Grant, « British suffragettes and the Russian method of hunger strike », Comparative Studies in Society and History, 53, January 2011, n° 1, p. 113, 118, 125-126.

45 Juliet M. Hueffer Soskice, Chapters from Childhood, New York, Selwyn & Blount, 1922, p. 236.

46 Barry Cornish Johnson, Tea and Anarchy…, op. cit., p. 125.

47 Isabel Meredith, A Girl among the Anarchists, London, 1903, p. 13-18 (quote from p. 17).

48 Ibid., p. 56, 19.

49 Report of Agent Star, 20 May 1884 ; Report of Agent 20, 7 August 1886, both in APP, BA 196, 331, 372 ; Mikhail Pavlovich, « Revoliutsionnye siluety: Indusskaia emigratsiia v Parizhe, 1909-1914 », Novyi Vostok, 1, 1925, n° 7, p. 152-163 ; Harindra Srivastava, Five Stormy Years: Savarkar in London, New York, 1983, p. 74-81 ; Prem Bahadur Sinha, The Indian National Liberation Movement and Russia, New Delhi, Allied Publishers, 1975, p. 191-205 ; Report of December 1907, AN, F7/12894 ; Chandra Kanungo, Account of the Revolutionary Movement in Bengal, Amiya K. Samanta ed., Delhi, Setu Prakashani, 2015, p. 184-85, 204-222.

50 Oscar Wilde, Vera, or the Nihilists, Boston, 1883 ; Michael Newton, « Nihilists of Castlebar! Exporting Russian Nihilism in the 1880s and the cast of Oscar Wilde’s Vera, or the Nihilists », in Rebecca Beasley, Philip Ross Bullock (eds.), Russia in Britain, 1880-1940, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 35-52.

51 Clipping from Journal de Lausanne, 8 June 1904, AN, F7/12521.

52 Theodor L. W. von Bischoff, Das Studium und die Ausübung der Medicin durch Frauen, Munich, Literarisch-Artistische Anstalt, 1872 ; Patricia Mazon, Gender and the Modern Research University…, op. cit., p. 169-175.

53 Louis Andrieux, Souvenirs d’un préfet de police, Paris, 1885, t. I, p. 185-200 (quote from p. 199).

54 P. Ivanow, Confession d’un nihiliste, précédée d’une étude sur les nihilistes en général, Paris, L. Sauvaitre, 1887, p. 18, 9.

55 Un gentilhomme russe, Russie et liberté, Paris, Albert Savine, 1889, p. 89.

56 « Le procès des nihilistes russes », L’éclair, 3 July 1890, p. 1-2 ; « Chronique judiciaire », Le Radical, 4 July 1890, p. 3.

57 « Russian conservative view of the Siberian atrocities », The Times, 14 March 1890, p. 13 ; « Books of the week », The Times, 29 November 1894, p. 4. At least one hostile piece cited an article placed by Rachkovskii’s press agency, « Anarchism in London », The Speaker, 30 December 1893, p. 715-716.

58 Grant Allen, « The dynamiter’s sweetheart », Strand Magazine, 8 July 1894, p. 137-148.

59 L. Martov, Zapiski sotsial-demokrata, Berlin, 1922, p. 400-408 ; Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaia, Vospominaniia o Lenine, Moscow, 1957, p. 45-47; Vladimir I. Lenin, Chto delat’?, Stuttgart, J.H.W. Dietz, 1903.

60 Grigorii Kramol’nikov, « Iz vospominanii delegate III s’’ezda partii », in F. N. Petrov et al. (eds.), O Vladimire Il’iche Lenine, Moscow, Politicheskoi literatury, 1963, p. 45. Also Leopold Haimson (ed.), The Making of Three Russian Revolutionaries: From the Menshevik Past, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1987, p. 122.

61 Vladimir I. Lenin, « O manifeste “soiza armianskikh sotsial-demokratov” », « Natsional’nyi vopros v nashei programme », in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii (PSS), Moscow, Gos. izd-vo polit. lit-ry, 1967, 7, p. 104, 234, 236 ; Barbara Evans Clements, Bolshevik Feminist: The Life of Aleksandra Kollontai, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1979, p. 40-81 ; Anne Bobroff, « The Bolsheviks and working women, 1905-20 », Soviet Studies, 26, 1974, n° 4, p. 540-567 (esp. p. 542).

62 Petr Struve, « My contacts and conflicts with Lenin, pt 1 », The Slavonic and East European Review, 12, 1934, n° 36, p.  591-592.

63 Report of Lenin Institute, 2 July 1926, Nicolaevsky Collection, Hoover Institution Archives, Box 67, Bolder 9, Reel 57, 12, 17; V. M. Semenov, Po leninskim mestam v Londone, Moscow, Gos. izd-vo polit. lit-ry, 1960, p. 19-35.

64 Lidiia Aleksandrovna Fotieva, Iz zhizni Lenina, Moscow, Gos. izd-vo polit. lit-ry, 1956, p. 10, 13 ; Carter Elwood, « What Lenin ate », Revolutionary Russia, 20, 2007, n° 2, p. 136, 139.

65 Leopold Haimson, The Making…, op. cit., p. 123; Helen Rappaport, Conspirator: Lenin in Exile, London, Hutchinson, 2009, p. 57.

66 Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaia, Vospominaniia…, op. cit., p. 44.

67 « Surveillance générale des révolutionnaires russes », 18 February 1905, AN, F7/15978/1.

68 Nikolay Valentinov, Encounters with Lenin, London, Oxford University Press, 1968, p. 82-86 and 186-200.

69 Il’ia Erenburg, « Liudi, gody, zhizn’ », Novyi mir, 8, 1960, p. 58.

70 Anatolii Lunacharskii, Vospominaniia i vpechatleniia, Moscow, 1968, p. 91-92; Lidiia Aleksandrovna Fotieva, Iz zhizni…, op. cit., p. 8. On Lenin’s paternal presence, Willi Gautschi, Lenin als Emigrant in der Schweiz, Zurich, Benziger Verlag, 1973, p. 53.

71 Elizaveta Drabkina, Chernye sukhari, Moscow, Khudozh. lit., 1970, p. 19.

72 Lev Kamenev, « Na Bazel’skom kongresse », in Mezhdu dvumia revoliutsiiami, Moscow, Novaia Moskva, 1923, p. 625; Vladimir I. Lenin, « Chemu ne sleduet podrazhat’ v nemetskom rabochem dvizhenii », PSS, 25, April 1914, p. 106-110.

73 Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaia, Vospominaniia…, op. cit., p. 141 ; « Londonskii s’’ezd rossiiskoi sotsial-demokraticheskoi rabochei partii », I. Stalin: Sochineniia, Moscow, Gos. izd-vo politicheskoi literatury, 1946, n° 2, p. 49.

74 Nikolaï Aleksandrovitch Semashko, Prozhitoe i perezhitoe, Moscow, Gos. izd-vo polit. lit-ry, 1960, p. 46-50.

75 Robert Service, Lenin: A Biography, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2000, p. 189.

76 « O natsional’noi programme RSDRP », PSS, 24, 1913, p. 223-229.

77 Elizabeth Wood, The Baba and the Comrade: Gender and Politics in Revolutionary Russia, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1997, p. 33-35; Anne Bobroff, « The Bolsheviks and working women… », art. cit., p. 549-58.

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Faith Hillis, « Gender and Russian revolutionary thought in exile »Diasporas, 38 | 2021, 75-89.

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Faith Hillis, « Gender and Russian revolutionary thought in exile »Diasporas [En ligne], 38 | 2021, mis en ligne le 12 juillet 2022, consulté le 26 mai 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/diasporas/6904 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/diasporas.6904

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Faith Hillis

Faith Hillis is Professor of History at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Utopia’s Discontents: Russian Émigrés and the Quest for Freedom, 1830-1930 (Oxford, 2021) and Children of Rus’: Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation (Cornell, 2013). She has held fellowships at Columbia, Harvard, and the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library and her research has been funded by ACLS, Fulbright-Hays, and the NEH, among others. She was educated at Princeton and Yale and has taught at the University of Chicago since 2010.

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