Peter Kropotkin

Peter Alexander Kropoktin was born as Pyotr Alekseyevich Kropotkin on December 21th (December 9. old style) 1842 in Moscow, Russia. He was the son of Prince Aleksey Petrovich Kropotkin and got his education from the exclusive "Corps of pages" in St. Petersburg. Starting 1862 he was five years a army officer in Siberia, where he also studied animals and geography. There he developed his theory of the structure lines of the mountains there that changed the cartography of East Asia. Further he gained knowledge of the glaciation of Asia and Europe during the Ice Age.

Because of this discoveries the doors opened for him for a scientific career. But in 1871 he refused the offer to be the secretary of the "Russian Geographic Society" and devoted his life to social justice.

While returning to Russia he joined a revolutionary group who spread propaganda under the workers in St. Petersburg and Moscow. He was arrested 1874 in a police action, but managed two years later his famous escape to West Europe. His name soon became famous under the anarchist movements there. The next years he spent mostly in Switzerland until he was expelled at the demand of the Russian government after the assassination of Alexander II. in 1881. After a while in France he moved to England where he stayed until the revolution 1917 in Russia made it possible again for him to enter his native country. He was now 75 years old and spent more than 40 years in exile. The new government offers him a job as secretary of education, but he harshly refused. In Russia everywhere communes and soviets (kind of worker and soldier unions) got started which could be the foundation for a classless society. His hopes for a libertarian future were never brighter. The new government however was for him only an example how NOT to do a revolution, authority instead of liberalism. Kropotkin died in 1921 in Dmitrov, a village near Moscow. Tens of thousands joined his funeral and that was the last event when the black flag of anarchy waved over the Russian capital.

Kropotkin always kept up the high moral standard and his combination of though and action that he preached in his books. He was one of the most significant founders of the Russian and English anarchist movements and was a big influence for the movements in Switzerland, France and Belgium. He did neither show egoism nor lust of power unlike many other revolutionaries. Especially because of that he was not only admired by his comrades but also by people we usually connected anarchism with violence and bombing.