Viktor Obnorskii

Obnorskii, Viktor Pavlovich


Born Nov. 11 (23), 1851, in Griazovets, now in Vologda Oblast; died Apr. 17, 1919, in Tomsk. Russian worker and revolutionary, of a meshchane (urban lower middle-class) background.

From 1869 to 1873, Obnorskii was a metalworker in St. Petersburg, working at a cartridge factory and the factories of Nobel and Pliss. In late 1871 and early 1872 he helped organize workers’ circles; at this time he had ties with the Chaikovskii group.

Obnorskii went underground in 1873, spending time first in Moscow and then in Odessa. He lived abroad during all of 1874, from November 1876 to the end of 1877, and from autumn of 1878 to the end of that year, staying in London, Paris, and Geneva. He was one of the founders of the Society for Aid to Russian Political Exiles in Geneva, in 1877. At the time Obnorskii was a metalworker in Swiss factories, he became acquainted with the literature and activities of the First International and the western European workers’ movement. He also maintained links with the various tendencies in the Russian revolutionary emigration.

Under the pseudonym of Pavlov, Obnorskii engaged in propaganda among the peasants of Arkhangel’sk Province in the beginning of 1875. From July 1875 through the first half of 1876 and from January to August 1878, Obnorskii was active in the Northern Union of Russian Workers in St. Petersburg and Moscow and was one of the authors of its program. He visited Kraków and Warsaw at the end of 1878, initiating ties between Polish socialists and the Northern Union of Russian Workers.

Obnorskii was arrested in St. Petersburg on Jan. 29, 1879. He was sentenced in June 1880 to ten years of hard labor, which he served in the Kara River region in what is now Chita Oblast. Beginning in June 1884, he lived as a deportee in the Transbaikal region and worked as a metalworker in the minefields. In 1909 he moved to the city of Kuznetsk, now Novokuznetsk, where he lived under police surveillance. After the February Revolution of 1917, Obnorskii was elected to the municipal committee of public organizations. He welcomed the victory of the October Revolution of 1917.


Miroshnikov, I. V. Obnorskii: vydaiushchiisia rabochii-revoliutsioner. Moscow, 1960.
Egorov, V. A. Viktor Pavlovich Obnorskii. Arkhangel’sk, 1967.