Russian Revolutionary Terrorism in Transnational Perspective: Representations and Networks, 1881-1926

Green, Lara (2019) Russian Revolutionary Terrorism in Transnational Perspective: Representations and Networks, 1881-1926. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Russian revolutionary terrorism was a transnational phenomenon in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This thesis explores how representations of terrorism were influenced by co-operation with foreign sympathisers and how transnational networks enabled Russian revolutionary émigrés to publish pro-terrorist materials. Due to restrictions on publishing activities in Russia and repression carried out by the tsarist secret police, many revolutionaries relocated their publishing operations abroad and founded new publications there. This thesis builds on the rich body of scholarship concerning Russian revolutionary émigrés, drawing out new transnational connections and tracing the networks of publishing activities.

This thesis uses new source bases to investigate these representations and networks in transnational perspective. Combining archival collections, it reassesses the political activism of members of the Russian Free Press Fund (RFPF) in this context. It examines how revolutionary terrorists represented terrorists of other nationalities in their writings through a case study using Russian and Irish revolutionary sources. It uses British government documents to explore this issue further. It surveys mainstream media representations of Russian revolutionary terrorism. It examines fiction about Russian revolutionary terrorism as published in English or in English translation, offering new interpretations of the meanings and reception of these works.

Russian revolutionary émigrés preserved and perpetuated representations of terrorism from nineteenth-century Russian revolutionary culture by producing literature in emigration depicting terrorists as ethical actors and framing terrorism as liberation from tsarist despotism. In order to appeal to foreign sympathisers, they framed these representations in terms of the rule of law and humanitarian projects and denied the legitimacy of other foreign terrorisms, particularly Irish revolutionary terrorism. Their narratives of Russian revolutionary terrorism often contrasted with hostile representations in the international press, but through their active publishing and propaganda work they were able to establish powerful counter-narratives. The RFPF’s activities in this respect formed the basis of later publishing for Russian audiences in collaboration with the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. Aligning with the themes and representations in their work, fiction by Russians about revolutionary terrorism produced responses which echoed in the early years of the twentieth century and, indeed, across the revolutionary divide.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Q200 Comparative Literary studies
R700 Russian and East European studies
V100 History by period
V300 History by topic
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 14:39
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:32

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