Elisabeth Dmitrieff

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Elisabeth Dmitrieff

Elisabeth Dmitrieff (real name: Elizabeta Luknichna Tomanovskaya (née Kusheleva); Russian: Елизавета Лукинична Томановская (née Кушелева); 1 November 1850, Volok, now in Toropetsky District, Tver Oblast – 1910 or 1918) was a Russian-born feminist and revolutionary of the 1871 Paris Commune. Born Elisaviéta Loukinitcha Koucheleva, she was a co-founder of the Women's Union, created on 11 April 1871, in a café of the rue du Temple, with Nathalie Lemel.


Elisabeth Dmitrieff was the daughter of a Tsarist official.[1] She was active in her youth in the Socialist circles of Saint Petersburg. In 1868, she travelled to Switzerland, and co-founded the Russian section of the First International.[1] Delegated to London, she met Karl Marx there, who sent her in March 1871, aged 20, to cover the events of the Commune.

Dmitrieff finally became an participant in these events, founding with Nathalie Lemel the Women's Union for the Defense of Paris and Care of the Wounded on 11 April 1871. She dedicated herself especially to political questions and the organisation of cooperative workshops.[1]

Elisabeth Dmitrieff contributed to the Socialist newspaper La Cause du peuple. After having fought on the barricades during the Bloody Week, she fled to Russia. Once arrived in her native country, she married a man who was later convicted of fraud and in 1878 followed him in deportation in Siberia, where she lived until 1902.[2]


The 3rd Arrondissement's municipal council decided on 27 March 2006 to give her name to a little square, between the rue du Temple and the rue de Turbigo (close-by to the Place de la République).[3] The Elisabeth Dmitrieff Square was inaugurated on 8 March 2007, for the International Women's Day, along with the squares commemorating Nathalie Lemel and Renée Vivien (in the same arrondissement).

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