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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Great Russian), underground printed pamphlets that appeared in St. Petersburg in June, September, and October 1861 (3 issues).

The publishers of Velikoruss addressed themselves to “society” and to “enlightened people.” In their political program and tactics they belonged to the revolutionary-democratic camp. Velikoruss summoned its readers to the struggle against autocracy and criticized the peasant reform of 1861. It demanded as a minimum the transfer to the peasantry of all lands which the peasants had cultivated up to the reform with redemption at the “expense of the entire nation,” a constitution to be drafted by popular representation, trial by jury, freedom of the press and of worship, self-government, the elimination of class privileges, the recognition of the rights of nationalities, and the immediate liberation of Poland. In the event that the “educated classes” failed to force the authorities to eliminate the causes of an uprising, Velikoruss predicted the inevitability of an uprising in the summer of 1863.

Velikoruss was distributed widely and made an impression on the progressive social circles of Russia and Poland. Its publishers were associated with Sovremennik. A. I. Herzen and N. P. Ogarev reprinted it in Kolokol. N. G. Chernyshevskii apparently was in contact with the group that published Velikoruss and exerted influence on it. In certain revolutionary circles the views of Velikoruss were received critically. At the beginning of October 1861, V. A. Obruchev, a collaborator on Sovremennik, was sentenced to hard labor for distributing Velikoruss in St. Petersburg. There is speculation that Doctor P. I. Bokov, V. F. Luginin (later a famous chemist), and others participated in the Velikoruss group. After the creation of Land and Liberty, the active members of Velikoruss joined the new group.


Lenin, V. I. “Goniteli zemstva i Annibaly liberalizma.” Poln. sobr. soch.,5th ed., vol. 5.
Levin, Sh. M. Obshchestvennoe dvizhenie v Rossii v 60-70 gg. XIX v.Moscow, 1958.
Novikova, N. N. Revoliutsionery 1861: “Velikoruss” i ego komitet v revoliutsionnoi bor’be 1861 g.Moscow, 1968.


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