Executed under the name of Antonov: Revolutionary Biography of Vladimir Sviridenko

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The article reconstructs the “revolutionary biography” of populist Vladimir Antonovich Sviridenko who was previously practically unknown in the scientific community, using the methodological approaches inherent to the “personal history” direction. The source base of the article is both documents from the archives of Moscow (State Archive of the Russian Federation) that were not previously introduced into scientific use, and the existing memoir literature. The article examines and analyzes the process of Sviridenko's ideological evolution from a peaceful propagandist to an active member of the “Executive Committee of the Russian Social-Revolutionary Party” (“Southern Executive Committee”) who used the tactics of political terror against the representatives of the Russian ruling elite. In the process of studying the sources, including the documents of the Gendarme department, it was possible to establish that Sviridenko was a very prominent figure among the revolutionaries of the south of Russia in the late 1870s. The study of Sviridenko’s revolutionary biography revealed previously little-known moments of populist propaganda in Novorossiya (Odessa, Nikolaev) among military sailors. It was also established that at that time the revolutionaries decided to use dynamite to prepare for regicide. Special attention is paid to Sviridenko's activity in Kiev, in 1878-early 1879, in the ranks of the “Southern Executive Committee” created by V.A. Osinsky. There is analyzed the role played by Sviridenko in its work. There are also considered the negotiations of the representatives of the “Southern Executive Committee” with the liberals in Kiev at the end of 1878 in which he was directly involved. The analysis of Sviridenko’s ideological evolution allowed us not only to better understand the motives of his actions, but also made it possible to trace on his example the typical path of the transition of southern revolutionaries from propaganda to terror. On the basis of the material studied, the author comes to the conclusion that the reconstruction of V.A. Sviridenko's “revolutionary biography” is extremely important for clarifying the reasons for the evolution of revolutionary populism from peaceful propaganda to political terror.

About the authors

Oleg A. Milevsky

Surgut State Pedagogical University

Author for correspondence.
Email: olegmilevsky@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4613-826X

Dr. Habil. Hist., Professor

10/2, 50 let VLKSM Str., Surgut, Tyumen region, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra, 628417, Russia


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