Inessa Armand in 1914

Inessa Armand, the daughter of an actor, was born in Paris on 8th May, 1874. Her father died when she was only five and she was brought up by an aunt living in Moscow.

At the age of nineteen she married Alexander Armand and together they opened a school for peasant children. She also joined a charitable group helping destitute women in Moscow.

When the authorities refused her permission to establish a Sunday School for working women, Armand began to question what social reformers could achieve in Russia. In 1903 she joined the illegal Social Democratic Labour Party. Armand distributed illegal propaganda and after being arrested in June, 1907, she was sentenced to two years internal exile in Siberia.

On her release Armand left Russia and settled in Paris where she met Vladimir Lenin and other Bolsheviks living in exile. In 1911 Armand became secretary for the Committee of Foreign Organizations established to coordinate all Bolshevik groups in Western Europe.

Armand returned to Russia in July, 1912, to help organize the Bolshevik campaign to get its supporters elected to the Duma. Two months later she was arrested and imprisoned for six months. On her release in August, 1913, she went to live with Vladimir Lenin and Nadezhda Krupskaya in Galicia. She also began work editing Rabotnitsa (Women Worker).

Inessa Armand

1. Was highly critical of Nicholas II and the autocracy.

2. Wanted Russia to have universal suffrage.

3. Wanted the Russian government to allow freedom of expression and an end to political censorship of newspapers and books.

4. Believed that democracy could only be achieved in Russia by the violent overthrow of Nicholas II and the autocracy.

5. Was strongly opposed to Russia going to war with Austria-Hungary and Germany.

6. Believed that if Russia did go to war with Austria-Hungary and Germany the Mensheviks, Bolsheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries should try to persuade the Russian soldiers to use their weapons to overthrow Nicholas II.

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