Trial of the 50

Trial of the 50


(Trial of the “Muscovites”), a trial of the participants in the All-Russian Socialist Revolutionary Organization, held in the Special Session of the Senate in St. Petersburg from Feb.21 (Mar. 5) to Mar. 14(26), 1877.

The first political trial in Russia involving workers (14 defendants) and women (16), the Trial of the 50 was open and public. The accused included S. I. Bardina, P. A. Alekseev, I. S. Dzha-badari, G. F. Zdanovich, V. N. Figner, V. S. Liubatovich, and O. S. Liubatovich. The majority of the defendants were between 18 and 23 years of age. The main charge was participation in a “secret association that set as its goal the overthrow of the existing order.” Alekseev, Bardina, and Zdanovich gave revolutionary speeches. The trial’s central event was the speech of the worker-revolutionary Alekseev. The defendants did not admit membership in any organization. Together with the defendants, the attorneys worked out a strategy of defense. The witnesses, who were mostly workers, strongly supported the accused. The speeches of Bardina and Alekseev were published illegally.

Ten persons were sentenced to three to ten years’ hard labor, 26 to exile in Siberia, ten to imprisonment and forced labor, and one to internment in a house of correction. Three persons were acquitted.

The trial attracted the attention of the progressive public in Russia and abroad. N. A. Nekrasov, M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin, and I. S. Turgenev openly supported the defendants. F. Engels requested Russian revolutionaries to send an article on the trial and photographs of the convicted women for the Social Democratic press of Germany (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch, 2nd ed., vol. 34, pp. 254 and 255).


Protsess 50-ti. Moscow, 1906.
Dzhabadari, I. S. “Protsess 50-ti.” Byloe, 1907, nos. 8–10.
Figner, V. N. “‘Protsess 50-ti’ (1877 g.).” Poln. sobr. soch, 2nd ed., vol. 5. Moscow, 1932. Pages 171–90.
Ul’ianovskii, A. Zhenshchiny ν protsesse 50-ti. St. Petersburg, 1906.
Panukhina, N. B. “‘Protsess piatidesiati’ kak akt revoliutsionnoi bor’by.” Istoriia SSSR, 1971, no. 5.