Catherine Breshkovsky

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Catherine Breshkovsky
Breshkovsky at work
Native name Екатерина Брешко-Брешковская
Born Екатерина Константиновна Вериго
13 January 1844 (1844-01-13)
Ivanovo, Vitebsk Governorate, Russian Empire (now Pskov Oblast, Russia)
Died 12 September 1934 (1934-09-13) (aged 90)
Chvaly, Czechoslovakia

Catherine Breshkovsky (real name Yekaterina Konstantinovna Breshko-Breshkovskaya, Russian: Екатерина Константиновна Брешко-Брешковская; 13 January 1844 – 12 September 1934) was a Russian socialist, better known as Babushka, the grandmother of the Russian Revolution.[1]

Revolutionary life[edit]

She left her home at the age of 26 to join followers of anarchist Mikhail Bakunin in Kiev. As a Narodnik revolutionary, she was imprisoned 1874 at Katorga and exiled to Siberia in 1878, during which she was interviewed by George Kennan, a journalist working for The Century magazine, along with artist George A. Frost. Kennan was later quoted to say "All my standards of courage, of fortitude, and of heroic self-sacrifice have been raised for all time, and raised by the hand of a woman".[2] After her release in 1896, she formed a Socialist-Revolutionary group and helped to organize the Socialist-Revolutionary Party in 1901.

She escaped to Switzerland and the United States in 1900. After returning to Imperial Russia in 1905, she was captured and exiled to Siberia again. After the February Revolution of 1917, political prisoners were released,[3] and Breshkovsky was given a seat in Aleksandr Kerensky's government. When the Bolsheviks organized the October Revolution, Breshkovsky was again forced to flee. She died in Czechoslovakia.

Her son Nikolay Breshko-Breshkovsky became a writer.

English translation[edit]

  • The Little Grandmother of the Russian Revolution: Reminiscences and Letters, Little, Brown and Co, Boston, 1918. from
  • Hidden Springs of the Russian Revolution: Personal Memoirs of Katerina Breshkovskaia. Lincoln Hutchinson, ed. Stanford University Press, 1931.


  1. ^ Waraich, Malwinder Jit Singh (2007). Musings from the gallows : autobiography of Ram Prasad Bismil. Unistar Books, Ludhiana. p. 90. 
  2. ^ Frazier, Ian (2010). Travels in Siberia. Picador – p. 55.
  3. ^ "Cheers Greet Return of Russia's "Mother"" (Latest News, Number 141). Los Angeles Herald. April 14, 1917. p. 3. Retrieved October 31, 2016. When Madame Catherine Breshkovskaya, “Grandmother of the Revolution,” arrived here after spending 44 of her 73 years in exile, she was greeted by a big gathering of former followers of her revolutionist movement. On her arrival from Siberia she was also greeted by a deputation from the ministry of justice, together with delegations from a number of universities. 

External links[edit]