Spectral Enemies

Lewis Siegelbaum

  • The Odd Man Karakozov: Imperial Russia, Modernity and the Birth of Terrorism by Claudia Verhoeven
    Cornell, 231 pp, £24.95, May 2009, ISBN 978 0 8014 4652 8

A short time after the Russian prime minister P.A. Stolypin was assassinated in September 1911, Alexander Guchkov made a speech in the State Duma about the impact of revolutionary terrorism in which he recalled an assassination attempt from 45 years earlier:

The generation to which I belong was born on the eve of Karakozov’s shots; in the 1870s and 1880s, a bloody and menacing wave of terror washed over Russia, carrying away the monarch whom we still at that time eulogised as tsar-liberator. What a funeral feast terror celebrated over our poor country in those days of misfortune and shame! … Terror applied the brakes and still prevents the forward progress of reform. Terror put a weapon into the hands of reactionaries. Terror by its bloody haze shrouded the dawn of Russian freedom. Terror touched those who sought to strengthen popular representation.

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