Southern Executive Committee

Southern Executive Committee

 

(SEC), a group of revolutionary Narodniki (Populists), headed by V. A. Osinskii, operating in the southern Ukraine in the late 1870’s. The SEC was made up of former Southern Rebels as well as members of Land and Liberty and of other Populist circles in Kiev, Odessa, and Kharkov, including D. A. Lizogub, M. F. Frolenko, S. F. Chubarov, L. K. Brandtner, and I. F. Voloshenko.

In contrast to the apolitical stance prevailing in the revolutionary milieu, the SEC advocated political struggle against the government, including demonstrations, armed resistance in the event of arrest, and the use of terror against the most zealous of the “servants of the throne.” The committee’s goal was the attainment of civil liberties and freedom to engage in socialist propaganda among the people. The revolutionaries killed the spy Nikonov in Rostov-on-Don (Feb. 1, 1878) and the gendarme inspector G. E. Geiking in Kiev (May 25, 1878); they made an attempt on the life of Kiev’s prosecutor M. M. Kotliarevskii (Feb. 23, 1878) and arranged for the escape of the organizers of the Chigirin conspiracy imprisoned in Kiev (May 27, 1878). On the occasion of a number of terrorist acts, proclamations were issued in the name of the Executive Committee of the Russian Social Revolutionary Party.

The possibility of joint action in the struggle for a constitution was discussed in Kiev on Dec. 3, 1878, by Osinskii, Voloshenko, and other members of the SEC with I. I. Petrunkevich and A. F. Lindfors, leaders of the zemstvo movement. The liberals, however, demanded an end to the terror. “Of course, the revolutionaries refused to agree to any cessation or suspension of fighting actions” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 5, p. 40).

On July 28, 1878, Alexander II called a special conference of the ministers of State Domains, War, Justice, and Interior, as well as the head of the Third Section, to consider measures for the struggle against the revolutionary movement, including the SEC. The conference recommended enlarging the staff of the gendarmerie and the police and introducing a stricter regime for political prisoners. Most of the revolutionaries who were active in the SEC were arrested in late 1878 and early 1879, meeting arrest with armed resistance. In accordance with the sentences handed down by district military tribunals, Osinskii, Brandtner, and V. A. Sviridenko were hanged in Kiev, and Lizogub and Chubarov in Odessa.

Among those who were influenced by the SEC’s activities were the participants in the Lipetsk Congress (June 1879), who adopted the name “Executive Committee” and subsequently formed the nucleus of the Executive Committee of People’s Will.

REFERENCES

Debogorii-Mokrievich, V. K. Vospominaniia. St. Petersburg, 1906.
Bogucharskii, V. Ia. Iz istorii politicheskoi bor’by v 70-kh i 80-kh gg. XIX v. Moscow, 1912.
Sedov, M. G. Geroicheskii period revoliutsionnogo narodnichestva. Moscow, 1966. Pages 70–84.

B. IU. IVANOV

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