Picked Last: Women and Terrorism
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Scholars date the genesis of modern terrorism to the Peoples Will in Russia in the late 1800s. If terrorisms Garden of Eden was indeed Russia, then Vera Zasulich was Eve. On January 24, 1878, Zasulich shot the Governor General of St. Petersburg. She was arrested and tried for attempted murder. Although this was not her first arrest--she had been in prison, banished, and under police supervision since 1869 for her political activities--two prosecutors refused to try herfor the shooting.2 She was ultimately acquitted and left Russia, but remained involved in the revolutionary movement, writing for two Marxist publications. Although times have changed since Zasulich was active, in examining how and why terrorist groups employ women, many things remain the same. For example, in prerevolutionary Russia, women were less likely to be arrested, and when they were, they were not taken seriously or were forgiven, as was Zasulich. While her colleagues admired herintellect, reflecting a typical assumption that women act out of emotion rather than a rational political program. Womens roles in Russian revolutionary groups increased when the number of men available for political activism was reduced by the Russo-Japanese War and security measures. These women had the reputation of personal, rather than ideological, dedication to the cause, leading to the belief that they were more willing to die than their male comrades.
- Unconventional Warfare