Sofia Perovskaya,
Terrorist Princess

The Plot to Kill Tsar Alexander II and the Woman Who Led It

The Narodnaya Volya were terrorists who emerged in Russia in the 1870’s. They developed a philosophical justification for murderous terrorist acts. They pioneered terrorist propaganda and the protoype of the terrorist organization.

Sofia Perovskaya, Terrorist Princess is a journey back to the middle of the 19th century. It is a journey to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, an event that transformed Western society. And one of the transformations which carries down to this day was the dawn of modern terrorism. The book transports the reader to a changing time in human history, a time when the dream first emerged of a utopian future, one where all shared in the bounty made possible by the new technology. The vision intoxicated a new crop of Russians known as the Generation of the Sixties. For a small fraction of the visionaries who dreamed that dream, it would turn into a passionate embrace with death and martyrdom in the name of the cause of utopian anarchism. And, in their development of terrorist fanaticism, these Russian visionaries would theorize, they would publish, and they would even articulate a new philosophy of “political killings.” If, as has so often been said, all of today’s philosophy is a footnote to the Greeks, then all modern terrorism is in a very real sense a footnote to the Narodnaya Volya. And while the members of Narodnaya Volya would be drawn by and large from the ranks of the Russian nobility and the upper and middle classes, their most dramatic and important leader would be a remarkable woman. She had the most aristocratic heritage of them all.

Profiles in Terrorism: Sofia Perovskaya Terrorist Princess

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