Nikolai Rysakov

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Nikolai Rysakov
Ni rysakov.jpg
Born1861 (1861)
DiedApril 3, 1881(1881-04-03) (aged 19–20)

Nikolai Ivanovich Rysakov (Russian: Николай Иванович Рысаков; 1861– 3 April 1881)[1] was a Russian revolutionary and a member of Narodnaya Volya. He personally took part in the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, throwing a bomb that disabled the Tsar's carriage. A second bomb by an accomplice, Ignacy Hryniewiecki, killed the Tsar. Rysakov was promptly arrested, put on trial, and hanged, along with other accomplices.


Early life[edit]

Rysakov joined the movement in 1879, when he was a student at Institute of Mining Engineering in St. Petersburg.

In February 1881 he became a member of a 'fighting squad' formed for the purpose of the assassination of the Tsar.

Assassination of Alexander II[edit]

On 1 March 1881, he threw the first bomb at Alexander II of Russia, who was riding in a bullet-proof carriage. When Rysakov threw his bomb there was a loud explosion. A spray of snow, earth and splinters fanned out from a spot on the pavement, and the scene was filled with bluish smoke. One of the Cossacks in escort lay motionless on the ground, and a nearby butcher's boy, who had been on his way to deliver an order, was writhing and groaning. Both of them had been severely wounded and soon died. It was then 2:15 pm. He later said of the attempt:

After a moment's hesitation I threw the bomb. I sent it under the horses' hooves in the supposition that it would blow up under the carriage...The explosion knocked me into the fence. I got up and cursed before I was arrested.

Rysakov was immediately arrested. After Hryniewiecki threw his bomb, Rysakov saw that the Tsar was hurt, and he expressed satisfaction, which earned him a kick in the groin from one of the soldiers holding him. He was turned over to the authorities otherwise unharmed.

Tsar Alexander II was carried by sleigh to the Winter Palace, where he was given Communion and Extreme Unction. At 3:30 that day, the standard of Alexander II was lowered for the last time.


While in court, in an attempt to save his own life, Rysakov cooperated with the investigators by giving them valuable information about his accomplices.[2] However, he and other participants were all sentenced to death by hanging, which was carried out on 3 April 1881, on the parade grounds of the Semenovsky Regiment.


Rysakov was hanged with the rest of the Pervomartovtsi. At the foot of the gallows, Perovskaya went up to each of her friends and fellow conspirators, kissing each in turn, but turned away from Rysakov.[3]

The first to be hanged was Kibalchich. Mikhailov was second. Rysakov had to witness the execution of all his companions before being dispatched to his own death. He died alone and condemned, having betrayed those closest to him, as well as their common philosophy that: "He who kills is guilty only if he consents to go on living or if, to remain alive, he betrays his comrades."[3]

At 9:50 the bodies were cut down from the gallows and placed in the black wooden coffins that had been waiting for them. They were buried in a nameless common grave.


  1. ^ "Досье личности" (in Russian).
  2. ^ Crankshaw, Edward (1976). The Shadow of the Winter Palace. The Viking Press, New York. p. 270
  3. ^ a b Camus, Albert (1956). The Rebel. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. p. 171. ISBN 0-679-73384-1.