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Spiridonova, Maria (1884–1941)

Sally A. Boniece

Subject Economic Systems » Socialist Systems
History » Political History

Place Eastern Europe » Russia

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics bibliography, class (social), revolution, socialism, terrorism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01403.x


A Socialist Revolutionary (SR) terrorist during the Russian Revolution of 1905–7 and a Left SR Party leader in the early Soviet era, Maria Aleksandrovna Spiridonova spent the greater part of her life in prison or administrative exile because of her legendary appeal as a revolutionary heroine and her opposition to the Bolshevik/Communist regime during the Russian Civil War . Using her personal charisma to enthrall mass audiences from what the SRs called the “toiling” classes, she worked tirelessly to advance the cause of international socialism through the empowerment of workers', peasants', and soldiers' councils or soviets. Although not a member of the short-lived Bolshevik-Left SR ministerial coalition in the Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom) from November 1917 to March 1918, Spiridonova was elected chair of the Second and Third All-Russian Congresses of Peasants' Soviets; she was also elected head of the Peasants' Section in the All-Russian Soviet Executive Committee (VTsIK), the de facto parliament of the Soviet government that came to power in October 1917. Like the majority of SR and Left SR leaders, Spiridonova was a member of the propertied classes. Born the daughter of a non-hereditary noble who had earned his rank through service in the provincial bureaucracy, Spiridonova grew up in the city of Tambov, where she was drawn into radical circles after attending ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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