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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Vera Figner

b. 1852, Khristoforovka, Kazan Province, Russia; d. 1943, Moscow

Vera Figner, Russian medical aide and revolutionary socialist, was an activist for the poor and disadvantaged classes of her homeland. She became a leader of Narodnaya Volya (the People’s Will), a revolutionary socialist organization which aimed to depose the state regime through terrorism. Figner was involved in the planning of several terrorist acts, including the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881. After decades of imprisonment and exile, she returned to Russia in 1915 and dedicated herself to writing. Her published works include numerous articles on the history of the Russian revolutionary movement in the 1870s–80s and several biographies of comrades. Her own Memoirs of a Revolutionist, published after the 1917 Revolution, made her famous worldwide.