Sierakowski, Zygmunt

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sierakowski, Zygmunt


Born May 18 (30), 1826, in the village of Lisovoe, Lutsk District, Volyn’ Province; died June 15 (27), 1863, in Vilnius. Figure in the Polish, Russian, and Lithuanian revolutionary-liberation movements.

The son of a poor noble who perished in the Polish insurrection of 1830–31, Sierakowski entered the University of St. Petersburg in 1845. In 1848, for his attempt to flee abroad, he was exiled to the Orenburg Corps with the rank of private; here he made friends with, among others, T. G. Shevchenko and A. V. Khanykov. Sierakowski returned to St. Petersburg in 1956 and graduated from the Academy of the General Staff in 1859. From 1861 he was a captain on the General Staff. He advocated the abolition of corporal punishment in the army and helped prepare the reform of military-criminal legislation. He had close ties with N. G. Chernyshevskii and N. A. Dobroliubov and contributed to Sovremennik (The Contemporary). During missions abroad from June 1860 to May 1861 and from July to December 1862, he made the acquaintance of A. I. Herzen and N. P. Ogarev, established contacts with the Polish revolutionary emigration, and met with G. Garibaldi and other revolutionaries.

In 1857, Sierakowski founded a revolutionary circle in St. Petersburg, a circle he subsequently led. The circle consisted essentially of officers; its goal was to oppose social, national, and religious repression and to fight for bourgeois-democratic change in Russia and for a free and independent Poland. Along with Poles, the circle included Russians and other nationalities; through Sierakowski, its members cooperated with Land and Liberty and the Committee of Russian Officers in Poland.

In December 1862, Sierakowski accepted, from the Polish Central National Committee, an appointment to become military commander of the insurrectionary forces of Zemaitija (northwestern Lithuania). Early in 1863 he left St. Petersburg for Vilnius, where he went underground; in the Kovno (now Kaunas) region, he formed a large insurgent unit, which included the detachment of A. Mackevičius. Sierakowski worked closely with K. Kalinovskii, the leader of the insurgent Byelorussian peasants. In the spring of 1863 he was taken prisoner after being wounded. Sierakowski was hanged by sentence of a field court-martial.


Smirnov, A. F. S. Serakovskii. Moscow, 1959.
D’iakov, V.A. “Materialy k biografii S. Serakovskogo.” In the collection Vosstanie 1863 g. i russko-pol’skie revoliutsionnye sviazi 60-kh gg. Moscow, 1960.
“Novye materialy dlia biografii Z. Serakovskogo.” In the collection K sloletiiu geroicheskoi bor’by “za nashu i vashu svobodu.” Moscow, 1964.
Marciniak, Z. Z. Sierakowski. Warsaw, 1956.


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