Terrorist Faction of the People's Will

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Terrorist Faction of the People’s Will


a Russian revolutionary organization, founded in December 1886 in St. Petersburg.

P. Ia. Shevyrev and A. I. Ul’ianov were the organizers and leaders of the Terrorist Faction, which primarily included university students, among them P. I. Andreiushkin, V. D. Generalov, O. M. Govorukhin, J. Lukaszewicz, V. S. Osipanov, and N. A. Rudevich. Working independently of other People’s Will groups, the faction maintained ties with revolutionary circles in Vilnius and Kharkov and with revolutionary-minded students in the military educational institutions of St. Petersburg and conducted propaganda among workers. Its members were influenced by the writings of K. Marx, F. Engels, and G. V. Plekhanov, as well as by the People’s Will program.

The program of the Terrorist Faction, composed in February 1887 by Ul’ianov together with other members of the organization, was contradictory. It recognized the need to organize a socialist party, the nucleus of which should be the working class, and to nationalize the land, factories, and plants; its ultimate goal was the establishment of a socialist system. However, in the tradition of the People’s Will, the authors of the program considered the organization’s primary task to be the struggle for political freedom by using terroristic means to “disorganize” the government.

An attempt by the Terrorist Faction to assassinate Emperor Alexander III on Mar. 1, 1887, in St. Petersburg (the Second March 1) ended in arrests and the disbanding of the organization. The 15 participants in and organizers of the assassination attempt were tried by the Special Office of the Senate from April 15 to April 19. On May 8, 1887, Ul’ianov, Andreiushkin, Generalov, Osipanov, and Shevyrev were hanged in the Shlissel’burg Fortress; the others were sentenced to various terms of hard labor and exile in Siberia.


Aleksandr Il’ich Ul’ianov i delo l marta 1887: Sbornik. Moscow-Leningrad, 1927.
I marta 1887 g.: Delo P. Shevyreva, A. Ul’ianova i dr. Moscow-Leningrad, 1927.
Itenberg, B. S., and A. Ia. Cherniak. Zhizn’ A. Ul’ianova. Moscow, 1966.
Lavrov—gody emigratsii: Arkhivnye materialy, vol. 2. Dordrecht-Boston, 1974. Pages 167–204.


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