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Eliticide or elitocide refers to "the killing of the leadership, the educated, and the clergy of a group." It is usually carried out during the beginning of a genocide in order to cripple a possible resistance movement against its perpetrators. Examples of eliticide include the Armenian genocide, the Isaaq genocide, the Cambodian genocide, the German-Soviet occupation of Poland,[1] Bolshevik Red Terror in Russia and instances of eliticide during the Yugoslav Wars.[2] The term was first used in 1992 by British reporter Michael Nicholson to describe the Bijeljina massacre in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[3] During the Bosnian War, local Serbs would point out prominent Bosniaks to be killed afterwards by Serb soldiers.[4][5]

Eliticide is also carried out in cases of political revolutions supported by the people and targeted against the elites of the overthrown establishment, rather than being unpopular and indiscriminatory, as in the above cases of genocide. For example, during the French Revolution, the people executed members of the feudal Ancien Régime, made famous through the public use of the guillotine. Another example occurred in Italy, where the partisans executed Mussolini after the defeat of his regime at the end of World War II in Europe.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pakulski 2016, p. 40.
  2. ^ Totten & Bartrop 2008, p. 129.
  3. ^ Gratz 2011, pp. 409–410.
  4. ^ Totten & Bartrop 2008, p. 130.
  5. ^ Bartrop & Jacobs 2014, p. 2232.


  • Bartrop, Paul R.; Jacobs, Steven Leonard (2014). Modern Genocide: The Definitive Resource and Document Collection. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-610-69364-6.
  • Gratz, Dennis (2011). "Elitocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Impact on the Contemporary Understanding of the Crime of Genocide". Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity. 39 (3): 409–424. doi:10.1080/00905992.2011.565318. ISSN 0090-5992. S2CID 153479394.
  • Pakulski, Jan (2016). "State Violence and the Eliticide in Poland 1935-49". In Killingsworth, Matt; Sussex, Matthew; Pakulski, Jan (eds.). Violence and the State. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 40–62. ISBN 9781784997168.
  • Totten, Samuel; Bartrop, Paul R. (2008). Dictionary of Genocide. Vol. I. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-34642-2.

Further reading[edit]