Aleksandr Ulyanov

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Aleksandr Ulyanov
Aleksandr Ulyanov.jpg
Born12 April 1866
Died20 May 1887(1887-05-20) (aged 21)
OccupationCommunist political activist
The Ulyanov family, 1879 (Aleksandr standing in the middle, Vladimir sitting to the right).

Aleksandr Ilyich Ulyanov (April 12, 1866 – May 20, 1887) [1] was a Russian revolutionary. His younger brother was Vladimir Lenin. He is referred to as Sasha, a common diminutive form of the name Alexander.[2]

Early life[edit]

Ulyanov graduated with honors from the College of Simbirsk in 1883 and later attended Petersburg University where he majored in Natural Sciences and earned a degree in zoology. While at university, he participated in illegal meetings and demonstrations, often handing out pamphlets and making speeches to students and workers.


In 1886 he became a member of the "terrorist faction", which was part of the Narodnaya Volya (People's Will) party. He was one of the authors of the party's Marxism-influenced program. Acknowledging the working class as the "nucleus of the Socialist Party", the program affirmed the revolutionary's initiative of fighting autocracy through terrorism.

Attempted assassination of Alexander III[edit]

Ulyanov and his comrades conspired to assassinate Alexander III of Russia. On March 1, 1887, the day of the sixth anniversary of Alexander II's murder, three party members were arrested in the Nevsky Prospekt. Police suspected that when Alexander III visited church on the anniversary of his fathers assassination, the plotters would throw bombs into the Emperor's carriage. The attempt is known as "The Second The First of March".

Ulyanov, who served as both the main ideologist of the group as well as the bomb-maker, was later arrested. In court Ulyanov gave a political speech. The conspirators were initially sentenced to death, but Alexander III pardoned all but five, including Ulyanov. On May 8, he and his comrades Pakhomiy Andreyushkin, Vasili Generalov, Vasili Osipanov and Petr Shevyrev were hanged at Shlisselburg.[3]

Ulyanov's execution drove his younger brother Vladimir Illich Ulyanov, (Vladimir Lenin) to pursue the Russian revolutionary struggle more fervently. Upon hearing of Sasha's death, Lenin allegedly said, "I'll make them pay for this! I swear it." Lenin was already immersed in politics. Lenin admired his older brother but was dismissive of his political tactics. He remarked, "Alexander will never be a revolutionist. On his last summer visit home he spent his time preparing a dissertation on Annelides and worked constantly with his microscope. A revolutionist cannot possibly devote so much time to the study of Annelides."


A minor planet, 2112 Ulyanov, was discovered in 1972 by Soviet astronomer Tamara Mikhailovna Smirnova and named after him.[4][5]


  1. ^ Clark, Ronald (1988). Lenin. New York U.a. p. 15.
  2. ^ "Lenin's Brother: An Interview with Philip Pomper".
  3. ^ Pomper, Philip. Lenin's Brother: The Origins of the October Revolution. New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 2010. ISBN 978-0-393-07079-8
  4. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (5th ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. p. 171. ISBN 3-540-00238-3.
  5. ^ "Lenin". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 2018-08-01.