Siberian Oblastniki

Siberian Oblastniki


the members of a sociopolitical current among the Siberian bourgeois and petit bourgeois intelligentsia that lasted from the mid-1850’s to the early 20th century. The oblastnik movement was founded by a group of Siberian students in St. Petersburg, among them G. N. Potanin, N. M. Iadrintsev, S. S. Shashkov, N. I. Naumov, and F. N. Usov.

In the 1860’s the Siberian oblastniki called for revolutionary struggle against the autocracy and advocated the introduction of democratic liberties. Upon returning to Siberia in 1863, they stepped up their activity, defending the “non-Russians” and opposing colonial oppression. Working with Russian and Polish political exiles, the Siberian oblastniki planned an uprising. Since they regarded Siberia as a political and economic colony of Russia and the Siberians as a new Siberian “nation,” some of the oblastniki arrived at erroneous conclusions about the special paths of development Siberia was to follow and advocated the reactionary idea of secession from Russia. Enthusiasm for revolutionary Narodnichestvo (populism) characterized the activity of the Siberian oblastniki of the 1870’s. In the early 1880’s they gravitated toward liberal Populism and, after about 1895, toward bourgeois liberalism and counterrevolution.

In the early 20th century a right-wing Cadet-monarchist current and a left-wing current emerged among the oblastniki. The former included A. V. Adrianov, A. N. Gattenberger, and N. N. Koz’min, and the latter, E. E. Kolosov, P. la. Derber, and several others whose views were close to those of the Socialist Revolutionaries. The oblastniki helped plan the anti-Soviet rebellion in Siberia. Subsequently, they collaborated with A. V. Kolchak, and after the reestablishment of Soviet power in Siberia they fled abroad. Some of the Siberian oblastniki, notably Potanin, Iadrintsev, Koz’min, and P. M. Golovachev, made important contributions to the development of culture and science in Siberia through their work in history, archaeology, and ethnography.


Lapin, N. A. Revoliutsionno-demokralicheskoe dvizhenie 60-kh gg. XIX v. ν Zapadnoi Sibiri. Sverdlovsk, 1967.
Razgon, I. M., and M. E. Plotnikova. “G. N. Potanin ν gody sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii i grazhdanskoi voiny ν Sibiri.” In the collection Voprosy islorii Sibiri, issue 2. Tomsk, 1965.
Sesiunina, M. G. G. N. Potanin i N. M. Iadrintsev—ideologi sibirskogo oblastnichestva. Tomsk, 1974.