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Vera Zasulich (1849–1919), shown here on the left, was influenced by ideas of the Narodniks – forebears of the socialist revolutionaries. These ‘populists’ strove to engage the rural classes in the struggle against the regime. The radical wing of the Narodniks adopted the tactic of terrorist attacks against prominent individuals in the late 1870s.
After Zasulich was found not guilty of attempted murder, the law was changed and cases of ‘resisting the authorities’ were placed under the jurisdiction of military courts. Zasulich continued to work for the revolutionary cause throughout her life.
The picture on the right shows another famous assassin, Sergei Stepniak, who immigrated to Britain and was close to the family of Richard Garnett, one of the senior librarians at the British Museum.
Katie McElvanney explores how women’s lives changed during the Russian Revolution, tracing the history of female revolutionaries in Russia and the different ways women documented and participated in events.