Stephan Rindlisbacher: The radical milieu in pre-revolutionary Russia


In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2013. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 1-16.

This article traces the networks in the Russian revolutionary underground from the 1860s until 1917 and defines them using the term radical milieu. Although ideological differences existed, all Russian radicals shared a common identity as »anti-society«, against the tsarist regime. In the radical milieu with its own values the participants tried to create their own reality, where all members, regardless of their social origin or sex, were seen as equal. The radical milieu was backed by a sphere of sympathisers that constituted the main source of material support and the main recruiting field. But the radicals were very careful when selecting new members for their underground world. Applicants had to fulfil defined criteria. The radical milieu in Russia was in a permanent danger to be infiltrated by the secret police. This situation between fear and hope was the background in which ideas of solidarity as well as visions of violence and revenge against the »traitors« were ripening and then became realised.

Über den Autor

Stephan Rindlisbacher, Dr. des., geb. 1982 in Biel, 2001–2007 Studium der Geschichte, Slavistik und Islamwissenschaften in Bern, St. Petersburg und Zagreb. 2008–2011 Stipendium des Schweizerischen Nationalfonds für das Dissertationsprojekt zu den Biografien von Vera Zasulič und Vera Figner. 2011 Promotion. Seit 2011 Assistent am Historischen Institut der Universität Bern. Veröffentlichungen: »Radicalism as Political Religion? The Case of Vera Figner«, in: Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions 11 (2010), S. 67–87; »Literature, the Radical Milieu and Terrorist Action in 19th Century Russia. The Cases of Vera Figner and Vera Zasulich«, in: Thomas Austenfeld u. a. (Hg.): Terrorism and Narrative Practice, Zürich/Berlin 2011, S. 99–116.