Gapon, Georgii Apollonovich
Born Feb. 5 (17), 1870, in the village of Beliaki, in present-day Poltava Oblast; died Mar. 28 (Apr. 10), 1906. Priest, Okhranka (tsarist secret police) agent. Initiated the formation of a progovernment workers’ organization (Assembly of Russian Factory Workers of St. Petersburg) in 1903-04.
Gapon was born into a family of well-to-do peasants. He studied at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy from 1898 to 1903. Beginning in the fall of 1902 he was associated with S. V. Zubatov, head of the Moscow Okhranka. In St. Petersburg he created labor organizations modeled on those formed by Zubatov. On Gapon’s initiative a petition was drawn up and a workers’ march to the tsar was organized on Jan. 9, 1905. The march ended in the shooting of some of the workers. Gapon went into hiding and then fled abroad.
After an unsuccessful attempt to make contact with the revolutionary émigrés, he returned to Russia in the fall of 1905, where he received orders from the Okhranka to infiltrate the “fighting organization” of the Socialist Revolutionaries. However, he was unmasked. On Mar. 28, 1906, he was condemned by a group of workers and hanged at the village of Ozerki, near St. Petersburg.