Elpidin, Mikhail

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Elpidin, Mikhail Konstantinovich


Born 1835 in the village of Nikol’skoe, Laishev District, Kazan Province; died 1908 in Geneva, Switzerland. Russian revolutionary and progressive of the 1860’s; figure in the free Russian press.

The son of a deacon, Elpidin graduated from the Chistopol’ Religious School and served in the Kazan district court. In 1860 he began auditing courses at the University of Kazan. He was in the village of Bezdna during the Bezdna Uprising of 1861; arrested, he was soon released because of insufficient evidence. In 1861 he was exiled to his birthplace for taking part in student demonstrations. Elpidin was a member of a Kazan revolutionary circle, which became a branch of Land and Liberty in 1862. In 1863 he was arrested as a participant in the Kazan Conspiracy of 1863. He was sentenced to five years’ hard labor, but on July 6, 1865, he escaped from the prison fortress in Kazan; he fled from Russia and joined the organization known as the Young Emigration.

Elpidin established a Russian printshop in Geneva in 1866 and a bookstore in 1881. Together with N. Ia. Nikoladze, he published the journal Podpol’noe slovo (1866, nos. 1–2). He printed the journals Sovremennost’ (1868, nos. 1–7) and Narodnoe delo (1868, nos. 1–2) and the newspaper Obshchee delo, of which he was one of the publishers. In 40 years, Elpidin published approximately 200 books, including the first separate edition of N. G. Chernyshevskii’s novel What Is To Be Done? (1867), Cherny-shevskii’s collected works (vols. 1–4, 1868–70), and works by M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin and L. N. Tolstoy that had been banned by the censors. Elpidin also printed catalogs for his bookstore, the last of which appeared in 1906.


Bibliograficheskii katalog: Profili redaktorov i sotrudnikov. [Geneva, 1906.]


Koz’min, B. P. Kazanskii zagovor 1863 g. Moscow, 1929.
Koz’min, B. P. Revoliutsionnoe podpol’e v epokhu “belogo terrora.” [Moscow] 1929.
Pinaev, M. “M. K. Elpidin v 80–90-e gg. (Iz istorii russkoi emigratsii).” Russkaia literatura, 1966, no. 2.
Pinaev, M. “‘Vol’nye’ russkie izdaniia M. Elpidina.” In Voprosy russkoi i zarubezhnoi literatury. Volgograd, 1970.
Svodnyi katolog russkoi nelegal’noi i zapreshchennoi pechad XIX v., part 8. Moscow, 1971. (See Index.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.