«Tiger of the Revolution» – G.A. Gershuni

Cite item


The author in the article explores the life path and social activities of the founder and leader of the Socialist Revolutionary Party and the Combat Organization, the organizer of the assassination attempts on the Minister of Internal Affairs D.S. Sipyagin, Governor N.M. Bogdanovich, Governor-General Prince I.M. Obolensky. The relevance of the declared topic is explained by interest in revolutionary events and personalities in Russia, rethinking and re-reading them thanks to modern realities and facts, recreated thanks to comparative historical and historical-biographical methods. The author concludes that, first of all, thanks to the efforts of G.A. Gershuni was founded the party of socialists-revolutionaries, its Central Committee was formed. Until his arrest in May 1903, he was the undisputed leader of the party, its prominent publicist, ideologist and most active functionary: he created and inspected local organizations, founded all-party printing houses and organized transport of literature, reformatted the Central Committee, and held in his hands all the threads of the party guides. In 1902, Gershuni created and led the organization of intense terror: the militant organization of the Socialist Revolutionary Party; recruited terrorists, developed plans and directly led the assassination attempts, painfully perceived by the authorities and constituting the glory of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. He is the only one among the leaders of the Socialist Revolutionary Party who possessed the clearly expressed abilities of an ideologist, publicist, speaker and organizer. The author believes that the life path of the «tiger of revolution», an outstanding personality in general terms, reflected the tendency for revolutionary organizations to emerge in Russia in the late XIX and early XX century with their explicitly expressed aspirations for extreme violent methods up to terrorism.


About the authors

M. I. Leonov

Samara National Research University

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8513-8871

Doctor of Historical Sciences, professor of the Department of Russian History


  1. Geifman 1993 – Geifman Anna (1993). Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894–1917. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 376 р.
  2. Hildermeier 1978 – Hildermeier M. (1978) Die Sozialrevolutionare Partei Russlands. Agrarsozialismus und Modernisierung im Zarenreich (1900–1914). Koln; Wien, 458 S.
  3. Hildermeier 1982 – Hildermeier M. (1982) The Terrorist Strategies of Socialist-Revolutionary Party in Russia, 1900–14, in Wolfgang J. Mommsen and Gerhard Hirschfield (eds.) Social Protest, Violence and Terror in Nineteenth-and Twentieth-Century Europe. London, pp. 80–87. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-16941-2_7.
  4. Perrie 1982 – Perrie M. (1982) Political and Economic Terror in the Tactics of the Russian Socialist-Revolutionary Party before 1914, in Wolfgang J. Mommsen and Gerhard Hirschfield (eds.) Social Protest, Violence and Terror in Nineteenth-and Twentieth-Century Europe. London, pp. 63–79. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-16941-2_6.
  5. Perrie 1976 – Perrie M. (1976) The Agrarian Policy of the Russian Socialist-Revolutionary Party: From Its Origins Through the Revolution of 1905–1907. Cambridge, 216 p. Available at: http://b-ok.cc/book/2342213/0ca1b4.
  6. Budnitskii 2000 – Budnitskii O.V. (2000) Terrorism in the Russian liberation movement: ideology, ethics, psychology (second half of the XIX – early XX centuriy). Moscow, 399 p. (In Russ.) Available at: http://www.kouzdra.ru/page/texts/budnicky.
  7. Varfolomeev 2015 – Varfolomeev Yu.V. (2015) «The Artist and Terror as the Aim of His Entire Life»: Gregory Gershuni (a Historical Portrait). Izvestiya of Saratov University. New Series. Series: History, International Relations, pp. 18–25. (In Russ.) Available at: http://imo.sgu.ru/ru/node/1382.
  8. Geifman 1997 – Geifman A. (1997) Revolutionary terror in Russia, 1894–1917. Moscow, 448 p. (In Russ.) Available at: http://www.kouzdra.ru/page/texts/geifman.
  9. Gershuni 1917 – Gershuni G.A. (1917) From the recent past. Moscow, 249 p. (In Russ.) Available at: http://modernlib.net/books/gershuni_grigoriy/iz_nedavnego_proshlogo/read.
  10. Gorodnitskii 1999 – Gorodnitskii R. (1999) G.A. Gershuni – the «godfather» of Socialist-Revolutionary terrorism, in Jews and the Russian revolution. Materials and research. Moscow; Jerusalem, pp. 233–266. (In Russ.)
  11. Gorodnitskii 1998 – Gorodnitskii R.A. (1998) Militant organization of the party of Socialists-Revolutionaries in 1901–1911. Moscow, 239 p. (in Russ.) Available at: http://b-ok2.org/book/2436882/a80f39.
  12. Zaslavskii 1924 – Zaslavskii D. (1924) Zubatov and Manya Vilbushevich. Moscow, 64 p. (In Russ.)
  13. Statement 1918 – Statement by Gregory Gershuni to Zubatov (1918). Moscow, July 6, 1900. Byloe, no. 3 (In Russ.)
  14. Lenin 1968 – Lenin V.I. (1968) Complete set of works. Vol. 17. Moscow: Izdatel'stvo politicheskoi literatury, 680 p. (In Russ.) Available at: http://leninvi.com/t17.
  15. Leonov 1987 – Leonov M.I. (1987) Leftwing narodnik movement at the beginning of the proletarian stage of the liberation movement in Russia. Kuibyshev, 98 p. (In Russ.) Available at: http://www.elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=24323331.
  16. Leonov 2017 – Leonov M.I. (2017) The beginning of the Socialist-Revolutionary terror. University proceedings. Volga region. Humanities, no. 2 (42), pp. 14–26. (In Russ.) DOI: http://doi.org/10.21685/2072-3024-2017-2-2.
  17. Leonov 1997 – Leonov M.I. (1997) Party of Socialists-Revolutionaries in 1905–1907. Moscow, 512 p. (In Russ.) Available at: http://www.fedy-diary.ru/html/122010/13122010-02a.html.
  18. Leonov 2016 а – Leonov M.I. (2016 а) Process of SR Combat Organization. Vestnik of Samara University. History, pedagogics, philology, no. 2, pp. 41–48. (In Russ.) Available at: http://journals.ssau.ru/index.php/hpp/article/view/4223.
  19. Leonov 2016 b – Leonov M.I. (2016 b) Central organizations of the Socialist Revolutionary Party at the beginning of the XX century. Samarskii zemskii sbornik, no. 1 (26), pp. 47–52. (In Russ.) Available at: http://www.elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=41487885.
  20. Nikolaevskii 1991 – Nikolaevskii B. (1991) The story of a traitor. Terrorists and political police. Moscow, 384 p. Available at: http://www.litmir.me/br/?b=121432&p=1.
  21. In memory of Gershuni 1909 – In memory of Gershuni (1909). Znamya truda. Tsentral'nyi organ partii sotsialistov-revolyutsionerov. Paris, no. 16 (In Russ.)
  22. In memory... 1908 – In memory of Grigory Andreyevich Gershuni. Edited by the Interim Committee on the arrangement of the funeral of G.A. Gershuni. Paris: Tribune Russia, 52 p. (In Russ.)
  23. Spiridovich 1991 – Spiridovich A.I. (1991) Notes of the gendarme. Moscow, 205 p. (In Russ.) Available at: http://www.hist.msu.ru/ER/Etext/gendarme.htm.
  24. Chernov 2007 – Chernov V.M. (2007) In the party of socialists-revolutionaries: memories of eight leaders. Saint Petersburg, 528 p. (In Russ.) Available at: http://ldn-knigi.lib.ru/R/Tshernow.htm.
  25. Chernov 1993 – Chernov V.M. (1993) Before the storm. Moscow, 408 p. (In Russ.) Available at: http://az.lib.ru/c/chernow_w_m/text_0020.shtml.

Copyright (c) 2020 Leonov M.I.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies