People's will Organization of Southern Russia

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

People’s will Organization of Southern Russia


a revolutionary Populist organization in 1885–86, formed as a result of B. D. Orzhikh’s efforts to unite the People’s Will groups in various cities of southern Russia (including Kharkov, Odessa, Rostov-on-Don, and Ekaterinoslav).

The organization was founded at the congress of People’s Will representatives held in Ekaterinoslav in September 1885; among those who attended the congress, in addition to Orzhikh, were V. G. Bogoraz, L. Ia. Shternberg, A. N. Shekhter, and F. I. Iasevich. The congress decided to unite the local People’s Will groups into a single organization, to resume terrorist activity and publication of the newspaper Narodnaia volia, and to establish contact with the People’s Will center abroad. The organization’s central leadership included Orzhikh, Bogoraz, Shternberg, A. L. Gausman, and M. A. Krol’. Underground printing presses set up in Taganrog and Novocherkassk printed the last issue (no. 11–12) of Narodnaia volia. The program of the People’s Will Organization of Southern Russia was set forth in Bogoraz’ brochure The Struggle of the Social Forces in Russia (1886).

In December 1885, Orzhikh established ties with People’s Will circles in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and other cities in northern Russia. Although final unification was thwarted by the arrests that began in January 1886, Bogoraz succeeded in setting up an illegal printing press in Tula, where he published the third and last issue of Listok “Narodnoi voli” (Leaflet of the People’s Will).

Bogoraz’ arrest on Dec. 9, 1886, was the final blow that spelled the death of the organization. Seven of its members were sentenced to various terms at hard labor at the “Don Trial” (Dec. 8–9, 1887), held by the Special Session of the Governing Senate. Most of the other members were exiled to Eastern Siberia by administrative order. The People’s Will Organization of Southern Russia represented the last attempt to revive People’s Will as an all-Russian organization.


Narodovol’tsy poste l marta 1881 g. Moscow, 1928.
Orzhikh, B. D. “V riadakh ‘Narodnoi voli.’” In the collection Narodovol’tsy. Moscow, 1931.
Troitskii, N. A. “Narodnaia volia” pered tsarskim sudom, 1880–1891 gg. [Saratov] 1971.
Senchenko, I. A. Revoliutsionery Rossii na Sakhalinskoi katorge. Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 1963.


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