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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Yekaterina Breshkovskaya

b. 1844, Vitsyebsk (now in Belarus); d. 1934, Prague or Khvaly, Russia (sources vary)

The “Babushka” (Little Grandmother) of the Russian Revolution, Yekaterina Breshkovskaya (also known as Catherine Breshkovsky) was born into a wealthy aristocratic family. Her revolutionary work began with the education of peasants on her father’s estates. She left home at age twenty-six to join the followers of anarchist Mikhail Bakunin in Kiev; in 1878, she was arrested and sentenced to twenty years in a Siberian labor camp. Released in 1896, she immediately resumed her political activities and, in 1901, co-founded the Party of Socialist Revolutionaries, whose chief goal was the redistribution of all land to the peasants. In 1907, she was again arrested and exiled to Siberia for life. She regained her freedom with the fall of the czar in 1917; however, she opposed the Bolsheviks and, after the October Revolution, left Russia for Czechoslovakia.