Aleksandr Ulyanov

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Aleksandr Ulyanov
Aleksandr Ulyanov.jpg
Born 12 April 1866
Nizhny Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 8 May 1887(1887-05-08) (aged 21)
Shlisselburg, Russian Empire
Occupation Communist political activist
The Ulyanov family, 1879 (Aleksandr standing in the middle, Vladimir sitting to the right).

Aleksandr Ilyich Ulyanov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Ильи́ч Улья́нов; April 12, 1866 – May 8, 1887) [1] was a Russian revolutionary, the older brother of Vladimir Lenin. He was also known familiarly as Sasha (a common diminutive form of the name Alexander).[2]


Ulyanov graduated from the College of Simbirsk in 1883 with honours and entered Petersburg University, where he majored in Natural Sciences and earned another gold medal for his work in zoology. At university he participated in illegal meetings and demonstrations, and pamphleted and made speeches to students and workers. In 1886, he became a member of the "terrorist faction" of a successor to the Narodnaya Volya (People's Will) party. He was one of the authors of its program with Marxism being one of his obvious influences.

Acknowledging the working class as a "nucleus of the Socialist Party", the party program affirmed the revolutionary intelligentsia's initiative in fighting with autocracy; terror was seen as a means of struggle.

Attempted assassination of Alexander III[edit]

Ulyanov and his comrades began preparing an assassination attempt on the life of Alexander III of Russia. On March 1, 1887, the day of the sixth anniversary of Alexander II's murder, three of them, suspected by the police, were arrested in the Nevsky Prospekt, where they were going to throw their bombs into the Emperor's carriage (he always visited churches that day to pay tribute to his assassinated father). The attempt is known as "The Second The First of March". Later Ulyanov, who was both the main ideologist of the group and the chemist preparing bombs, was arrested too. In court, Ulyanov gave a political speech. All the conspirators were initially sentenced to death, but Alexander III pardoned all except five of them, including Ulyanov. On May 8, he and his comrades Pakhomiy Andreyushkin, Vasili Generalov, Vasili Osipanov and Petr Shevyrev were hanged at Shlisselburg.[3] Among the pardoned co-conspirators of Ulyanov, was Bronisław Piłsudski, brother of Józef Piłsudski.

The execution of his brother Aleksandr may have radicalised Lenin as he became more involved in student protests and revolutionary propaganda efforts, or it may not have, given their differing tactical sensibilities. It is said that when he heard of the execution Lenin calmly replied, "There is another way," never becoming involved in a plot to kill the Tsar or other high officials. Leon Trotsky, though, states it is highly unlikely that Lenin made the statement, knowing that Lenin was a supporter of terrorism until the early 1890s, and the fact that in the house at that time Lenin was alone with his brother Dmitri (aged 13) and his sister Maria (aged 9).[4] At the time, Lenin was taking final examinations to graduate with honours.[5]


A minor planet, 2112 Ulyanov, was discovered in 1972 by Soviet astronomer Tamara Mikhailovna Smirnova and named after him.[6]


  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. ^ Trotzki, Leo. "Leo Trotzki: Der junge Lenin (Kap.6)". 
  5. ^ Possony, Stefan T. (1964) Lenin: The Compulsive Revolutionary, 11-12
  6. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (5th ed.). New York: Springer Verlag. p. 171. ISBN 3-540-00238-3.