Revolutionary women in Russia, 1870-1917 : a prosopographical study
The aim of this prosopographical study of female revolutionaries in Russia was to examine the part played by women at different stages in the revolutionary process and their individual life cycles. The starting-point is 1870 because it was in that decade that the revolutionary movement reached mass proportions. The study stops at the end of 1917 when the Bolshevik party seized power and brought to an end the revolutionary activities of most former activists. In the course of the research a biographical database for 1,200 women has been compiled which was analysed to establish patterns among female revolutionaries and to identify factors which united or divided them. Most of the data for the study was acquired from primary sources such as autobiographies and biographies, memoirs, document collections. Some of the best autobiographical material came from Moscow archives: Rossisiskii tsentr khraneniia i izucheniia dokumentov noveishei istorii (RTsKhlDNI), Gosudarstvennyi istoricheskii arkhiv Moskovskoi oblasti and Tsentral'nyi gosudarstvennyi arkhiv Okriabr'skoi revoliutsii i sotsialisticheskogo stroitePstva Moskvy (TsGAORSSM). Finally, two biographical dictionaries/encyclopaedias were of special significance to the present study - Deiateli revoliutsionnogo dvizheniia v Rossii, edited by V.Nevskii and Vsesoiuznoe obshchestvo politicheskikh katorzhan i ssyl 'no-poselentsev. They contained short biographical notes on hundreds of Russian women revolutionaries. The dissertation is divided into five chapters. The introductory chapter explains my approach to the research and the use of statistical and other data in compiling the database, the use of primary and secondary sources and the work on the tables that appear in the main body of the thesis. Chapters two, three and four consider the lives of revolutionary women between 1870 and 1889, 1890 and 1904, and 1905 and 1917 respectively. These chapters include comparative analysis of groups of women as well as individual case studies in the set time periods. The concluding chapter asssesses the study's findings and compares them to those of Barbara Evans Clements' Bolshevik Women and Beatte Fieseler's Frauen aufdem Weg in die russische Sozial-Demokratie, both published in 1995. It also briefly considers the political activities of women under the new Bolshevik regime. Overall, the study illustrates that women's involvement was more widespread and significant to the entire revolutionary movement than had been acknowledged so far. In particular, it shows that women workers as well as female intellectuals were capable of independent thinking and performing courageous acts. Some exceptional individuals from their ranks became role models for their younger or less experienced comrades.