To the Younger Generation

To the Younger Generation

 

a revolutionary proclamation distributed in Russia in September 1861. It was written by N. V. Shelgunov with the aid of M. L. Mikhailov. The proclamation was printed at the Free Russian Press in London and delivered illegally to St. Petersburg. It set forth such demands as replacement of the autocracy by an elected and limited regime, the nationalization of the land and its transfer to the obshchinas (peasant communes), the elimination of the police, the abolition of corporal punishment, equality before the law, public trial, and freedom of speech. The proclamation exposed the serfdom-oriented character of the peasant reforms of 1861 and called on the youth to conduct propaganda among the peasants and in the army in order to prepare a revolution. Reflecting one of the orientations of Russian Utopian socialism, it contained various Narodnik (Populist) ideas, including the uniqueness of Russia’s economic development and the potential of the peasant commune as a cell of the future social system.

REFERENCE

Shelgunov, N. V., L. P. Shelgunova, and M. L. Mikhailov. Vospominaniia, vol. 1. Moscow, 1967.
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