|Russia||Russian Revolution||Soviet Union 1920-45|
Nikolai Morozov, the illegitimate son of a landowner near Yaroslav, was born in 1855. His interest in politics started early and he was expelled from secondary school when he was accused of subversive activity.
Morozov joined the Land and Liberty group and co-edited the journal Land and Liberty with Sergei Kravchinskii. Another member, Olga Liubatovich, met Morozov during this period: "Morozov blushed like a girl. Apart from his literary work, he was one of the party's most ardent advocates of partisan revolutionary warfare - terrorist struggle - and he was always heavily laden with guns, nearly bent over from their weight. He was above average in height, with large, pensive eyes and very delicate, miniature features. His body, thin and frail, seemed underdeveloped, and his weak, high-pitched voice reinforced my image of him as a sapling that had grown up far from fresh air and open fields."
In October, 1879, the Land and Liberty group split into two. One faction, Black Repartition, rejected terrorism and supported a socialist propaganda campaign among workers and peasants. However, Morozov became a member of People's Will, the group that favoured a policy of terrorism.
In 1880 there was strong disagreement in People's Will about the purposes of terrorism. One group that included Morozov argued that the main objective was to force the government to grant democratic rights to the people of Russia. However, another faction, led by Lev Tikhomirov, who had been deeply influenced by the ideas of Sergi Nechayev, believed that it was possible for a small group of revolutionaries to capture power and then hand over its powers to the people.
Morozov and Olga Liubatovich strongly disagreed with the ideas of Lev Tikhomirov. They argued that this was an example of Jacobinism and would result in the kind of dictatorship that had taken place after the French Revolution.
In 1880 Morozov and Olga Liubatovich left the People's Will and went to live in Geneva. While in exile Morozov wrote The Terrorist Struggle, a pamphlet that explained his views on how to achieve a democratic society in Russia. Based on ideas developed with Liubatovich, Morozov advocated the creation of a large number of small, independent terrorist groups. He argued that this approach would make it more difficult for the police to apprehend the terrorists. It would also help to prevent a small group of leaders gaining dictatorial powers after the overthrow of the Tsar.
Morozov returned to Russia in order to distribute The Terrorist Struggle but was arrested in November, 1880. Found guilty in 1882 he served seventeen years in Peter and Paul Fortress until being released following the 1905 Revolution. It is not known when Nikolai Morozov died.
(1) Olga Liubatovich first met Nikolai Morozov in 1876.
Sergei Kravchinskii came by with his close friend Nikolai Morozov, whom he introduced as "our young poet". Morozov blushed like a girl. Apart from his literary work, he was one of the party's most ardent advocates of partisan revolutionary warfare - terrorist struggle - and he was always heavily laden with guns, nearly bent over from their weight.
He was above average in height, with large, pensive eyes and very delicate, miniature features. His body, thin and frail, seemed underdeveloped, and his weak, high-pitched voice reinforced my image of him as a sapling that had grown up far from fresh air and open fields. He seemed very young to me, and unwittingly I adopted an almost patronizing manner. Strangely enough, this made us feel closer to each other.
Morozov had repudiated without regret the privileges that lesser people cling so tenaciously. Clothing himself in a course caftan and bark shoes, he travelled over nearly all of Great Russia, talking with the people and distributing revolutionary pamphlets. Inexperienced and impetuous, he ignored all precautions; he was eventually seized and turned over to the authorities by the peasants themselves.
(2) Nikolai Morozov and Olga Liubatovich left the People's Will over the issue of Jacobinism in 1880.
During the debates, the question of Jacobinism - seizing power and ruling from above, by decree - was raised. As I saw it, the Jacobin tinge that Tikhomirov gave to his program for the Executive Committee gave to his program for the Executive Committee threatened the party and the entire revolutionary movement with moral death; it was a kind of rebirth of Nechaevism, which had long since lost moral credit in the revolutionary world. It was my belief that the revolutionary idea could be a life-giving force only when it was the antithesis of all coercion - social, state, and even personal coercion, tsarist and Jacobin alike. Of course, it was possible for a narrow group of ambitious men to replace one form of coercion or authority by another. But neither the people nor educated society would follow them consciously, and only a conscious movement can impart new principles to public life.
At this point, Morozov announced that he considered himself free of any obligation to defend a program like Tikhomirov's in public. I too, declared that it was against my nature to act on the basis of compulsion; that once the Executive Committee had taken on a task - the seizure of state power - that violated my basic principles, and once it had recourse in its organizational practice to autocratic methods fraught with mutual distrust, then I, too, reclaimed my freedom of action.
(3) After the arrest of Nikolai Morozov in 1881, Olga Liubatovich returned to Russia to try and help him escape from prison. This meant that she had to leave their young baby behind with friends. The baby died of meningitis when it was six months old.
By early morning, I was at Kravchinskii's. Sergei was remarkably thoughtful: he had already obtained a crib for my little girl and set it up in a clean, light room. He left me alone with the child. For a long time I stood like a statue in the middle of the room, the tired baby sleeping in my arms. Her face, pink from sleep, was peaceful and filled with the beauty of childhood. When I finally decided to lower her into the bed, she opened her eyes - large, serious, peaceful, still enveloped in sleep. I couldn't bear her gaze. Not daring to kiss her lest I wake her up. I quietly walked out of the room. I thought I'd be back; I didn't know, didn't want to believe that I was seeing my little girl for the last time. My heart was numb with grief.