Neva Strike of 1870

Neva Strike of 1870


a strike by some 2,000 workers at the Neva cotton mill in St. Petersburg, the present-day S. M. Kirov Leningrad Thread-spinning Combine.

The Neva strike was among the first major economic strikes in Russia. It began on May 22, 1870. Angered by the management’s faulty accounting practices, 63 spinners demanded payment of their wages and an increase in pay rates. When the workers’ demands were rejected, 800 people stopped work. The authorities took urgent measures to suppress the strike and 62 strikers were brought to trial. An investigation revealed a picture of brutal exploitation of the workers, and on July 13, 1870, the court was compelled to impose only the minimum sentences. The leaders of the Neva strike—S. Vladimirov (Slezkin), F. Petrov, B. Potapov, and V. Akulov—were sentenced to spend seven days under arrest, and the other defendents, except five who were acquitted, to spend three days under arrest.

The workers appealed these sentences and were acquitted by an appellate court. However, the authorities banished the “ringleaders” from St. Petersburg by administrative action. A secret circular issued by the minister of internal affairs on July 6, 1870, instructed all provincial governors to prevent strike-related cases from reaching the courts and to exile to a remote province anyone deemed a “ringleader.”


Istoriia rabochikh Leningrada, vol. 1. Leningrad, 1972.