Trial of the 20
Trial of the 20
a trial involving members of the People’s Will, held in the Special Session of the Senate in St. Petersburg from Feb. 9 (21) to Feb. 15 (27), 1882. It was the most important of the People’s Will trials. Eleven members of the Executive Committee of the People’s Will were brought to trial, namely, A. D. Mikhailov, M. F. Frolenko, N. A. Morozov, N. E. Sukha-nov, N. N. Kolodkevich, A. I. Barannikov, M. V. Langans, A. V. Iakimova, M. N. Trigoni, G. P. Isaev, and T. I. Lebedeva. Nine agents of the committee, including N. V. Kletochnikov and M. V. Teterka, were also tried. The main charge was complicity in eight attempts on the life of the tsar. The accused conducted themselves courageously. The defense, which included V. D. Spasovich and P. A. Aleksandrov, exposed the “white terror” of tsarism. The trial provoked a strong response in Russia and abroad, especially in England, France, and Italy.
V. Hugo’s appeal “Civilization Must Intervene!” forced the tsarist government to commute nine of the ten death sentences to hard labor; only Sukhanov, because he was an officer, was shot. Thus, one person was sentenced to death, thirteen persons were sentenced to hard labor for life, three to 20 years’ hard labor, one to ten years’ hard labor, and one to four years’ hard labor. V. A. Merkulov, a traitor, went unpunished.
REFERENCESProtsess 20 narodovol’tsev ν 1882 g. Rostov-on-Don, 1906.
Burtsev, V. “Protsess 20-ti.” Byloe, issue 1 (1900–1902). Rostov-on-Don, 1906.
Hugo, V. “Prizyv.” Sobr. soch. ν 15 tt., vol. 15. Moscow, 1956.
Troitskii, N. A. “Narodnaia volia”pered tsarskim sudom, 1880–1891 gg. [Saratov] 1971.