In the winter of 1878, Vera Zasulich shot the goverr of St. Petersburg for his brutal treatment of a political prisoner. Her trial became Russia's first 'trial of the century' as the courtrooms filled with the cream of society. Vera was a celebrated martyr to all Russian social classes and a public face of the growing revolutionary fervour. Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Bakunin all wrote in her support. Her astonishing acquittal was cheered, marking the changing face of Russia. Vera became Russia's most famous 'terroristka', inspiring a generation of revolutionaries to embrace violence and martyrdom, culminating in the assassination of Alexander II. In the story of Russia's most infamous terrorist, Ana Siljak captures Vera's extraordinary life story - from privileged bility to revolutionary conspirator to assassin and then saint - all while offering a vivid window into the fiery political upheaval of Russia.
ANA SILJAK is a professor of history at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She received her Ph.D. in Russian History from Harvard University, and specializes in the subjects of pre-Revolutionary Russia and the history of terrorism. She lives in Kingston with her husband and two children.