Viktor Kurnatovskii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kurnatovskii, Viktor Konstantinovich


Born June 28 (July 7), 1868, in Riga; died Sept. 19 (Oct. 2), 1912, in Paris. Active in the revolutionary movement in Russia. Bolshevik. Son of a doctor.

While a student at the University of St. Petersburg, Kurnatovskii belonged to the People’s Will, for which he was expelled from the university and banished from St. Petersburg in 1887. After enrolling at the University of Moscow in 1888, he rejected Populism and became the leader of a Marxist group. The next year he was expelled from the university and exiled to Arkhangel’sk Province. Upon completing his term of exile, he settled in Tver’ Province, emigrating in September 1892.

In Zürich (Switzerland) Kurnatovskii studied at the Polytechnic Institute, graduating in 1896, and was active in the Emancipation of Labor group. Returning to Russia in 1897, he was arrested at the border and exiled to Eastern Siberia. Kurnatovskii met V. I. Lenin in 1898 in Minusinsk and signed Lenin’s “Protest by Russian Social Democrats” (1899), directed against the “Credo” of the supporters of economism. After completing his term of exile in the fall of 1900, he was active in party work in Tbilisi. Arrested in 1901, he was confined in the Metekhi Fortress for two years and again exiled to Siberia. In Yakutsk in 1904 he led an armed protest of the political exiles, for which he was arrested, sentenced to hard labor, and exiled to Akatui.

In 1905–06 Kurnatovskii was in Chita, where he organized the Chita soviet of workers’, soldiers’, and cossack deputies. He was a member of the Chita committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) and editor of the newspaper Zabaikalskii rabochii. He led an armed uprising of the Chita workers, and after the suppression of the uprising in 1906, he was arrested and sentenced to death by a military tribunal, but the sentence was commuted to lifelong hard labor. In 1906 he fled to Japan and then went to Australia. Gravely ill, Kurnatovskii moved to Paris in 1910, where he died two years later.


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