Secret men’s business? Women in the Russian communist movement

The usual accusation is that communism tended to be secret men’s business until Juliet Mitchell saved the day with her ‘Women: The Longest Revolution‘ article in New Left Review of 1966. However, apart from my earlier post about key socialist feminists and activists such as Alexandra Kollontai, Rosa Luxemburg and Clara Zetkin, a whole bunch of others were central to the Russian communists and took part in the 1905 and 1917 revolutions:

Yelena Stasova (codenames: Absolute, Delta, Heron and Varvara Ivanovna)

Vera Zasulich (codenames: Auntie, Elder Sister, Karelin, Kiroff, Velika, V.I. and V.Iv.)

Alexandra Kalmykova (codename: Auntie)

Maria Ulyanova (codename: Bear)

Maria Essen (codenames: Beast, Beastie, Falcon, Nira Lvovna, Zernova, Zverev)

Olga Vinogradova (codename: Beggar)

Rozalia Zemlyachka (codenames: Demon, Osipov)

Zinaida Krzhizhanovskaya (codename: Doe)

Lydia Knipovich (codenames: Dyadin, Uncle, X)

Yekatarina Alexandrova (codename: Jacques)

Natalia Bogdanova (codename: Rachmetova)

Sofia Afanasieva (codename: Serafima)

Anna Yelizarova (codename: James)

And the codenames for Kollontai and Luxemburg were A.M. and Junius.

All of this comes from Lenin’s letters, full of codes that you need to decipher.

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One thought on “Secret men’s business? Women in the Russian communist movement

  1. They were not part of the one true and universal church, but Emma Goldman (codename: Sgt Fury and Her Howling Commandos) and Lucy Parsons (codename: Namor the Submariner).

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