Sofia Perovskaya, Terrorist Princess: The Plot to Kill Tsar Alexander II and the Woman Who Led It

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Sofia Perovskaya may be an obscure historical figure for most people, but she is an important part of early Russian history and has an important historical value for researchers. This book by Robert Riggs opens up an interesting chapter and personality for those interested in terrorism, its causes, and those that do it. There are psychological aspects to terrorists that many have in common, and knowing more about who they are, where they come from and how they act can help in counteracting new terrorists from forming.

Sofia Perovskaya was a Russian aristocrat, related to Elizabeth of Russia (Empress from 1741-1762) via marriage. Literate, well-read and educated, she became part of the burgeoning anarchist movement during the same period as the American Civil War. She was active in many conspiracies against the Russian Emperor Alexander II and his government, being arrested several times and eventually sentenced to prison, from which she escaped. After multiple attempts on Alexander II’s life, Sofia and her group were eventually successful, assassinating him in Saint Petersburg on March 1, 1881. Sofia was eventually captured and sentenced to death for her part in the assassination and was the first woman in Russia sentenced to death for terrorism.

Robert Riggs is writing a series of books on terrorists and terrorism, looking for linking characteristics and his beginning with Sofia Perovskaya is an interesting one. She isn’t a well-known or even a “key” figure in world history, but she serves as a good template for both the evolution of modern terrorism and the personality and personal traits Riggs has found in other terrorists.

Riggs says about Sofia:

“Sofia Perovskaya is a fascinating case study. She came from a privileged family with royal connections. She was not victimized by poverty, class or social stigma. She was known for being kind to the sick and devoted to her mother. We have much to learn from examining her peculiar turn of personality, one that takes over people who are generally intelligent, ascetic, creative, and motivated, and makes them killers who thirst for martyrdom.”

The parallels between Sofia and Osama bin Laden are striking. Both upper class, educated, and with plenty of opportunities. Both turned to violence to achieve their aims and created armies of followers to do the actual terrorism. Much like profiling serial killers, one can also profile terrorists. And Riggs’s series of books about them is off to a great start with Sofia Perovskaya and the period of time that produced and nurtured her. Recommended for students of violence and terrorism, world history, and cultural change.

Reviewed By:

Author Robert Riggs
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 396 pages
Publisher Global Harmony Press
Publish Date 2018-Apr-24
ISBN 9780999155912 Buy this Book
Issue July 2018
Category History


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