Boris Savinkov: biography, personal life, family, activities and photos

History 2023

Table of contents:

Boris Savinkov: biography, personal life, family, activities and photos
Boris Savinkov: biography, personal life, family, activities and photos

Boris Savinkov is a Russian politician and writer. First of all, he is known as a terrorist who was a member of the leadership of the Fighting Organization of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. He took an active part in the White movement. Throughout his career, he often used pseudonyms, in particular Halley James, B.N., Veniamin, Kseshinsky, Kramer.


Boris Savinkov was born in Kharkov in 1879. His father was an assistant prosecutor in a military court, but was fired for being too liberal. In 1905, he died in a psychiatric hospital.

The mother of the hero of our article was a playwright and journalist, described the biography of her sons under the pseudonym S. A. Cheville. Boris Viktorovich Savinkov had an older brother Alexander. He joined the Social Democrats, for which he was exiled to Siberia. In exile in Yakutia, he committed suicide in 1904. The younger brother Victor is an officer of the Russian army, participated in the exhibitions of the "Jack of Diamonds". Lived in exile.

The family also grew up two sisters. Vera worked in the Russian We alth magazine, and Sofiaparticipated in the Social Revolutionary movement.


Terrorist Savinkov

Boris Savinkov himself graduated from a gymnasium in Warsaw, then studied at St. Petersburg University, from where he was expelled after participating in student riots. I studied in Germany for a while.

For the first time, Boris Viktorovich Savinkov was arrested in 1897 in Warsaw. He was accused of revolutionary activity. At that moment, he was a member of the Labor Banner and Socialist groups, which identified themselves as social democrats.

In 1899 he was detained again, but soon released. In the same year, his personal life improved when he married Vera, the daughter of the famous writer Gleb Uspensky. Boris Savinkov had two children from her.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it began to be actively published in the newspaper "Russian Thought". Participates in the St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. In 1901, he was arrested again and sent to Vologda.

Leading the Combat Organization

Savinkov's books

An important stage in the biography of Boris Savinkov comes when in 1903 he flees from exile to Geneva. There he joins the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, becomes an active member of its Combat Organization.

Takes part in the preparation and implementation of several terrorist attacks on the territory of Russia. This is the murder of the Minister of the Interior Vyacheslav Plehve, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich. Among them were unsuccessful assassination attempts on Moscow Governor-General Fyodor Dubasov and Interior Minister Pyotr Durnovo.

Soon Savinkovbecomes deputy head of the Yevno Azef Combat Organization, and when he is exposed, he heads it himself.

In 1906, while in Sevastopol, he is preparing the assassination of the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Chukhnin. He is arrested and sentenced to death. However, Boris Viktorovich Savinkov, whose biography is given in this article, manages to escape to Romania.

Life in exile

Gippius and Merezhkovsky

After that, Boris Savinkov, whose photo is in this article, is forced to remain in exile. In Paris, he meets Gippius and Merezhkovsky, who become his literary patrons.

Savinkov was engaged in literature at that time, writing under the pseudonym V. Ropshin. In 1909, he published the books Memoirs of a Terrorist and the story Pale Horse. Boris Savinkov in the last work tells about a group of terrorists who are preparing an assassination attempt on major statesmen. In addition, there are arguments about philosophy, religion, psychology and ethics. In 1914, he published the novel "That which was not." The Social Revolutionaries were very skeptical about this literary experience, even demanding that Savinkov be expelled from their ranks.

Memories of a terrorist

When Azef was exposed in 1908, the hero of our article did not believe in his betrayal for a long time. He even acted as a defender during the court of honor in Paris. After that, he tried to revive the Combat Organization on his own, but he failed to organize a single successful assassination attempt. In 1911 she wasdisbanded.

By that time, he already had a second wife, Evgenia Zilberberg, from whom he had a son, Leo. With the outbreak of the First World War, he receives a certificate of a war correspondent.

Trying to become a dictator

Dictator Kerensky

A new stage in the biography of Boris Savinkov begins after the February Revolution - he returns to Russia. In April 1917, he resumes political activity. Savinkov becomes Commissar of the Provisional Government, agitates for the continuation of the war to a victorious end, supports Kerensky.

Soon becomes Assistant Secretary of War, starting to claim dictatorial powers. However, things take an unexpected turn. In August, Kerensky summoned him to Headquarters for negotiations with Kornilov, then Boris Viktorovich left for Petrograd.

When Kornilov sends troops to the capital, he becomes the military governor of Petrograd. He tries to convince Kornilov to submit, and on August 30 he resigns, not agreeing with the changes in the Provisional Government. In October, he was expelled from the Socialist-Revolutionary Party because of the "Kornilov case".

Confrontation with the Bolsheviks

The October Revolution is met with hostility. He tried to help the Provisional Government in the besieged Winter Palace, but to no avail. After he left for Gatchina, where he received the post of commissar at the detachment of General Krasnov. On the Don, he participated in the formation of the Volunteer Army.

In March 1918, in Moscow, Savinkov created the counter-revolutionary Union for the Defense of the Motherland and Freedom. About 800the people included in its composition considered their goal the overthrow of Soviet power, the establishment of a dictatorship, the continuation of the war against Germany. Boris Viktorovich even managed to create several militant groups, but in May the plot was uncovered, most of its participants were arrested.

For some time he was hiding in Kazan, he was in Kappel's detachments. Arriving in Ufa, he applied for the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Provisional Government. On behalf of the chairman of the Ufa directory, he went on a mission to France through Vladivostok.

It is noteworthy that Savinkov was a Freemason. He was a member of lodges both in Russia and in Europe when he ended up in exile. In 1919, he participated in negotiations on assistance to the White movement from the Entente. During the Civil War, he was looking for allies in the West, he personally communicated with Winston Churchill and Jozef Pilsudski.

In 1919 he returned to Petrograd. Hiding in the apartment of Anennesky's parents, at that time his portraits were pasted all over the city, a good reward was promised for the capture.

In Warsaw

When the Soviet-Polish war began in 1920, Savinkov settled in Warsaw. Pilsudski himself invited him there. There he created the Russian Political Committee, together with Merezhkovsky published the newspaper "For Freedom!". He tried to stand at the head of the anti-Bolshevik peasant uprisings. As a result, in October 1921 he was expelled from the country.

In December in London, he met with diplomat Leonid Krasin, who wanted to organize his cooperation with the Bolsheviks. Savinkov said he was ready for this only on conditionthe dispersal of the Cheka, the recognition of private property, the holding of free elections to the soviets. After that, Boris Viktorovich met with Churchill, who at that time was the Minister of the Colonies, and British Prime Minister George, proposing to put forward these three conditions, previously set out to Krasin, as an ultimatum for recognizing the Soviet government.

At that time, he finally severed all ties with the White movement, starting to look for ways out to the nationalists. In particular, in 1922 and 1923 he met with Benito Mussolini for this. Soon he found himself in complete political isolation. During this period, Boris Savinkov wrote the story "The Black Horse". In it, he tries to comprehend the results and results of the ended Civil War.


Boris Viktorovich Savinkov

In 1924, Savinkov illegally arrived in the USSR. He was lured as part of Operation Syndicate-2, organized by the GPU. In Minsk, he is arrested along with his mistress Lyubov Dikkoff and her husband. The trial of Boris Savinkov begins. He admits defeat in the confrontation with the Soviet authorities and his guilt.

On August 24th he was sentenced to be shot. He is then commuted to ten years in prison. In prison, Boris Viktorovich Savinkov is given the opportunity to write books. Some even claim that he was kept in comfortable conditions.

In 1924 he writes a letter "Why did I recognize the Soviet power!". He denies that it was insincere, adventurous and done to save his life. Savinkov emphasizes that the coming tothe power of the Bolsheviks was the will of the people, which must be obeyed, moreover, "Russia is already saved," he writes. Different opinions are still expressed as to why Boris Savinkov recognized Soviet power. Most are convinced that this was the only way for him to save his life.

Letters calling on him to do the same from prison sent out to the leaders of the White movement in exile, urging them to stop the fight against the USSR.


According to the version held by the authorities, on May 7, 1925, Savinkov committed suicide, taking advantage of the fact that there was no lattice on the window in the room where he was taken after a walk. He jumped into the courtyard of the VChK building on Lubyanka from the fifth floor. He was 46 years old.

According to the conspiracy version, Savinkov was killed by the GPU. This version is given by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his novel The Gulag Archipelago. The place of his burial is unknown.

Savinkov was married twice. His first wife, Vera Uspenskaya, like him, took part in terrorist activities. In 1935 she was sent into exile. Returning, she died of starvation in besieged Leningrad. Their son Viktor was arrested among 120 hostages for the murder of Kirov. In 1934 he was shot. Nothing is known about the fate of Tatyana's daughter, who was born in 1901.

The second wife of the leader of the Combat Organization, Evgenia, was the sister of the terrorist Lev Zilberberg. She and Savinkov had a son, Leo, in 1912. He became a novelist, poet and journalist. He participated in the Spanish Civil War, where he was seriously wounded. Lev Savinkov in histhe novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is mentioned by the American classic Ernest Hemingway.

During the Second World War, he participated in the French Resistance. Died in Paris in 1987.

Creative activity

Roman What was not

For many, Savinkov is not only a terrorist and a Social Revolutionary, but also a writer. He began to study literature seriously in 1902. His first published stories, influenced by the Polish prose writer Stanisław Przybyszewski, were criticized by Gorky.

In 1903, in his short story "At Twilight", a revolutionary appears for the first time, who is disgusted with what he is doing, worries that killing is a sin. In the future, on the pages of his works, one can regularly observe a kind of dispute between a writer and a revolutionary about the admissibility of extreme measures in order to achieve a goal. In the Fighting Organization of the Social Revolutionaries, his literary experience was extremely negative, as a result, they became one of the reasons for his overthrow.

Starting from 1905, Boris Savinkov writes a lot of memoirs, describing literally in hot pursuit the famous terrorist attacks carried out by the Fighting Organization of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. For the first time, these "Memoirs of a Terrorist" were published as a separate edition in 1917, after which they were repeatedly reprinted. Revolutionary Nikolai Tyutchev noted that in these memoirs, Savinkov the writer desperately argues with Savinkov the revolutionary, ultimately proving his case, the inadmissibility of extreme measures to achieve the goal.

In 1907, he began to communicate closely in Paris withMerezhkovsky, who becomes a kind of mentor in all subsequent activities of the writer. They actively discuss religious views and ideas, attitudes towards revolutionary violence. Just under the influence of Gippius and Merezhkovsky, Savinkov wrote the story "The Pale Horse" in 1909, which he published under the creative pseudonym V. Ropshin. The plot is based on real events that happened to him or in his environment. For example, this is the murder of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich by the terrorist Kalyaev, whom Savinkov himself directly supervised. The author gives the events described a very apocalyptic coloring, which is already given in the very title of his story. He conducts a thorough psychological analysis of the average terrorist, drawing a parallel with Nietzsche's superman, but who, at the same time, is seriously poisoned by his own reflection. In the style of this work, one can observe a clear influence of modernism.

Among the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the story caused deep discontent and criticism. Many considered the image of the protagonist slanderous. This conjecture was fueled by the fact that Savinkov himself supported the previous leader of the Combat Organization Azef, who was exposed at the end of 1908, to the last.

In 1914, for the first time, the novel "That which was not" was published as a separate edition. He is again criticized by party associates. This time, taking into account the weakness of the leaders of the revolution, the themes of provocations and the sinfulness of terror, Savinkov makes the main character a repentant terrorist, as in his earlier story "At Twilight".

Poems appear in print in the 1910sBoris Savinkov. They are published in various collections and magazines. They are dominated by the Nietzschean motifs of his early prose works. It is noteworthy that during his lifetime he did not collect his own poems, after his death in 1931 Gippius published a collection under the uncomplicated title "Book of Poems".

Khodasevich, who at that moment was in confrontation with Gippius, emphasized that in verse Savinkov reduces the tragedy of a terrorist to the hysteria of a weak, middle-class loser. Even Adamovich, who was close to the aesthetic views of the Merezhkovskys, criticizes the poetic work of Boris Viktorovich.

From 1914 to 1923, Savinkov almost completely left fiction, concentrating on journalism. His well-known essays of that period are "In France during the war", "On the Kornilov case", "From the active army", The struggle against the Bolsheviks", "For the motherland and freedom", "On the eve of a new revolution", "On the way to the" third "Russia", "Russian People's Volunteer Army on the march".

In 1923, while in Paris, he writes a continuation of the story "Pale Horse" called "Black Horse". The same protagonist acts in it, apocalyptic symbolism is again guessed. The action is moved to the years of the Civil War. Events are unfolding both in the rear and on the front line.

In this work, Savinkov calls his main character Colonel Georges. The plot is based on Bulak-Balakhovich's campaign against Mozyr, which took place at the end of 1920.Savinkov then commanded the First Regiment.

The second part is written based on the stories of Colonel Sergei Pavlovsky, whom the writer himself appointed in 1921 to head the insurgent and partisan detachments on the Polish border.

The story ends with the third part, which is dedicated to Pavlovsky's underground work in Moscow in 1923.

The last work of Savinkov was a collection of short stories written in the Lubyanka prison. In it, he satirically describes the life of Russian migrants.

Popular topic