Kropotkin's funeral a sign of protest

Kropotkin funeralThe funeral of the famous anarchist Peter Kropotkin in Moscow on 13 February 1921 grew into a monumental demonstration. This was the last time the anarchist movement in Russia manifested itself. In the course of the same year it was to be smothered by the Bolshevik party, its leaders arrested, killed, on the run or deported.

Deportation befell Grigori Maksimov (1893-1950) who had represented the Russian Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists at Kropotkins burial. Maksimov arranged for a photo report of the ceremony that started at the home of the deceased in the village of Dmitrov and ended at the graveyard of the Novodevičy monastery, with an in-state and procession in Moscow in between. The photoreport was meant to become a memorial album (Berlin 1922) to 'make humanity acquainted with the work of Kropotkin'. No doubt its simultaneous goal was to show the power of the Russian anarchist movement.

When Kropotkin died, a few weeks before the Kronstadt rebellion, the repression of anarchists in Russia had not been completed yet. There still was some room for the 'Anarchist Funeral Committee' to negotiate with the authorities, but many incidents occurred. Its main problem was to get permission to release the imprisoned anarchists during the day of the burial. The American-Russian anarchists Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman and some other prominent anarchists from abroad were present at the funeral.

The IISH presents a dozen original pictures from the Maksimov collection together with the eyewitness accounts.

Search in the IISH collections for:
- all images of Kropotkin
- archival documents on Kropotkin
- publications by or about Kropotkin

Album of the funeral of P.A. Kropotkin in Moscow (Berlin, Foreign Bureau Confederation Anarcho-Syndicalists, 1922), call nr: An 30/23
Alexander Berkman, The Bolshevik Myth (New York 1925), call nr: 97/126
Emma Goldman, My Disillusionment in Russia (New York 1923), call nr: An 99/5
G.P. Maximoff, The Guillotine at work (Chicago 1940)
Victor Serge, Memoirs of a Revolutionary (London 1963), call nr: R 577/90 A
George Woodcock, Ivan Avakumovič, Peter Kropotkin, From Prince to Rebel (Montreal 1990), call nr: 1991/1211

Text: Margreet Schrevel