The Narodniks

Holodomor AvatarNarodniki meaning “going to the people” was originally the name for Russian rural conflicts of the 1860s and 1870s. The Narodniks formed in response to the growing unrest between the peasantry and the kulaks. Groups did not establish a concrete organisation, but shared the common notion of distribution of land among the peasantry. The Narodniks generally believed that capitalism was not necessarily a result of industrial development, and that it was possible to skip capitalism all together, and enter straight into a kind of Socialism. While the Narodniks regarded the village community as the embryo of Socialism they did not believe that the peasantry would be able to achieve this on their own accord. Instead history could only be made by heroes, outstanding personalities, who would lead an otherwise passive peasantry to reform. The Socialist Revolutionaries, Popular Socialists, and Trudoviks all shared similar ideas originally set down by the Narodniks. In the spring of 1874, the Narodnik intelligentsia were encouraged to leave the cities for the villages to teach the peasantry their moral imperative to revolt just as the conflict between the kulaks and peasantry had brought turbulence to Russia’s urban centres. While the Narodnik’s found almost no support it was necessary for the Tsars forces to quell rioting with arrests made among both peasant and Narodnik’s. This episode provided perfect fodder for Jewish propagandists and consequently Narodniks came to their height in 1877 with thousands of intelligentsia and peasants in support. Using the Narodnik movement as cover Jewish assassins organised their first terrorist group: Narodnaya Volya (People’s Will).

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