Keeping it in the Family: Surviving Political Exile, 1870-1917

Katy Turton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A sentence of exile was a regular feature of the Russian revolutionary’s underground career. In order to survive this punishment and continue their struggle against Tsarism, revolutionaries relied on help from their fellow exiles, their party, the Political Red Cross and, often, their families. Historians have rarely acknowledged the role of kin in supporting the revolutionary movement and very few studies have noted the attempts by families to mitigate the worst aspects of a sentence of exile. This article explores the ways in which spouses and siblings, parents and children obtained concessions from the Tsarist authorities regarding their loved ones’ sentences of exile, helped off-set the poverty to which many exiles were reduced, and, above all, combated the sense of loneliness and depression to which those in exile were exposed. This article argues that such familial support had a collective and positive impact on revolutionaries’ experience of exile. More broadly it provides an illuminating case study of the blurred space between public and private which the revolutionary occupied and highlights the way in which the movement depended on help from sympathisers and family members in order to function effectively on a daily basis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-416
Number of pages26
JournalCanadian Slavonic Papers
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Russia
  • revolution
  • family
  • exile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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