Zubatov, Sergei

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zubatov, Sergei Vasil’evich


Born in 1864 in Moscow; died there Mar. 2 (15), 1917. Tsarist colonel of gendarmes, initiator of the policy of “police socialism” in Russia.

Zubatov was a paid agent of the Moscow Okhranka (tsarist secret police) and a provocateur from the mid-1880’s. He was an assistant in the Moscow Okhranka division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs from 1889 to 1896 and its head from 1896 to 1902. On his initiative, a system of police investigation covering the major centers of the country and including the so-called flying detachment of spies was established to combat revolutionary organizations. Between 1901 and 1903, Zubatov established legal progovernment workers’ organizations, which attracted a portion of the working class and which were under the secret surveillance of the police. He was transferred to St. Petersburg in October 1902 and appointed head of a special section of the department of police. The failure of the policy of Zubatovshchina and Zubatov’s intrigues against Minister of Internal Affairs V. K. Plehve resulted in 1903 in Zubatov’s retirement and his banishment to Vladimir. His banishment was rescinded in late 1904. From 1910 he lived in Moscow. During the February Revolution of 1917, fearing that he would be brought to trial, Zubatov shot himself.

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