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Born in 1861, Ivan Yemelyanov was a graduate from a trade school, then studied abroad on a grant from Baron Ginzburg, and became a cabinetmaker.
He was one of the three designated bomb-throwers in the assassination of Tsar Alexander II on 13 March [O.S. 1 March] 1881. The first bomb, thrown by Nikolai Rysakov, only damaged the carriage and wounded one of the guards. A second bomb thrown by Ignacy Hryniewiecki succeeded in mortally wounding the tsar. Yemelyanov carried a third bomb; but seeing that Hryniewiecki's attack was successful, he fled the scene.
In March alone nearly fifty men and women were put behind bars because they were suspected of having some roles in the assassination. Accompanied by a detective, Mikhail Loris-Melikov walked the streets of the capital and pointed out men and women to be seized. One of his first collars was Yemelyanov, the only member of the bombing squad to have survived. Instead he was sentenced to katorga for life - later commuted to 20 years - in Siberia. He was granted a pardon in 1895, then settled in Khabarovsk, where he died in 1916.