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Entries / Petrashevsky Circle

Petrashevsky Circle

Categories / Social Life/Political Parties and Organizations

PETRASHEVSKY CIRCLE, visitors of Friday meetings held by M.V. Petrashevsky. The meetings began in 1844 to become weekly from the autumn of 1845. Attended by officials, literati, officers, painters, and students, the meetings were originally intended to provide self-education and acquaint the members with the theories of French socialists, first and foremost Charles Fourier. Petrashevsky tried to popularize socialist ideas by publishing two parts of The Pocket Dictionary of Foreign Words in 1845-46 but it was banned by the censor. The revolutionary events in Europe in 1848 brought about radical views amidst those attending Friday meetings. The like-minded people organized their own circles including S. F. Durov's group where Fedor Dostoevsky for the first time in public recited Vissarion Belinsky's letter to Nikolay Gogol. The most radical elements formed a group of N.A. Speshnev. They held their meetings in Speshnev's flat at 12 Kirochnaya Street to discuss foundation of a secret society, organization of an underground printing office, etc. Betrayed by a provocateur, all members of the Petrashevsky Circle were arrested on the night of April 23, 1849. While 123 people were under investigation, 22 of them were brought to military tribunal and all but one sentenced to be executed. All the condemned were brought to Semenovsky Square to be executed on 22 December 22 1849. After the preparatory ceremony had been completed, however, it was declared that the capital punishment would be commuted to banishment to a penal colony, prisoner companies, and combat troops.

Reference: Лейкина-Свирская В. Р. Петрашевцы. М., 1965; Первые русские социалисты: Воспоминания участников кружков петрашевцев в Петербурге. Л., 1984; Егоров Б. Ф. Петрашевцы. Л., 1988.

Z. P. Solovyeva.

Belinsky Vissarion Grigorievich
Dostoevsky Fedor Mikhailovich
Durov Sergey Fedorovich
Fourier Charles
Gogol Nikolay Vasilievich
Petrashevsky (Butashevich-Petrashevsky) Mikhail Vasilievich
Speshnev Nikolay Alexandrovich

Лейкина-Свирская В. Р. Петрашевцы. М., 1965
Первые русские социалисты: Воспоминания участников кружков петрашевцев в Петербурге. Л., 1984
Егоров Б. Ф. Петрашевцы. Л., 1988


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