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Alexander Soloviev (revolutionary)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alexander Soloviev by an unknown artist, from Světozor (1879)
Alexander Soloviev by an unknown artist, from Světozor (1879)

Alexander Konstantinovich Soloviev (Russian: Александр Константинович Соловьев) (18 August 1846 – May 28, 1879), was a Russian revolutionary and former student who unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Tsar Alexander II of Russia.

Soloviev was born in Luga. He worked as a teacher, but complained later that all his pupils were children of the bourgeoisie, or of government officials, so resigned in 1874 to "go to the people" in the hope that he improve the lives of Russian peasants. He worked as a railway carpenter, then went from village to village looking for work, hoping to spread propaganda, but was hit by the rising unemployment that followed the Russo-Turkish War. On his return to St Petersburg, Soloviev told his friend Alexander Mikhailov that he proposed to kill the Tsar. When Mikhailov reported this to fellow members of the Land and Liberty society, it set off a furious argument, in which Georgi Plekhanov, the future founder of Russian Marxism, and possibly a majority of those present, argued that Soloviev should be stopped, but Mikhailov told them that it was useless to argue because Soloviev had made up his mind.[1]

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Assassination attempt

On the morning of 20 April 1879, while Alexander II was taking his usual walk in the grounds of the Winter Palace, he spotted Soloviev with a revolver in his hands, and fled. Soloviev fired five times but missed. He resisted as the police guarding the Tsar overpowered him, wounding one of them. He swallowed poison he had brought with him, but was given medical treatment which revived him. Under interrogation, he avoided incriminating Mikhailov, who had watched the assassination attempt from a distance, or anyone else. Soloviev was hanged in front of a crowd of about 70,000 on 28 May 1879 (in Julian calendar; June 9, 1879, in Gregorian calendar[2]).

Soloviev had acted on his own, but his action precipitated a split in the revolutionary movement. Mikhailov and others who supported the tactic of killing the Tsar formed the terrorist group Narodnaya Volya, while Plekhanov and others who opposed it formed the rival group Chernyi Peredel.

See also


  1. ^ Venturi, Franco (1983). Roots of Revolution, A History of the Populist and Socialist Movements in Nineteenth-Century Russia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 630–32. ISBN 0-226-85270-9.
  2. ^ In "Le Figaro", 10 June 1879.

This page was last edited on 14 January 2022, at 20:56
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