Black cat, pink frogs and ‘obituaries as a memento’: Alexander Bogdanov’s Vologda exile

Black cat, pink frogs and ‘obituaries as a memento’: Alexander Bogdanov’s Vologda exile

Alla Yu. Morozova
Full text:
The purpose of this article is to collect together separate pieces of information about A. Bogdanov’s exile in Vologda and retrace the conditions under which his formation as a politician and a thinker was taking place in those years. An outstanding scientist, philosopher, physician and revolutionary, Alexander Bogdanov spent three years in exile in Vologda (1901–03). A. Lunacharsky, A. Remizov, N. Berdyaev, B. Kistyakovsky, P. Shchegolev, B. Savinkov and his wife V. Uspenskaya, and many of the future prominent figures of the Bolshevik Party were in exile in Vologda during that period. For a year and a half, Alexander Bogdanov lived in the village of Kuvshinovo near Vologda and worked as a doctor at a psychiatric hospital, the description of which he later used in his science fiction novel Red Star. After leaving the service and obtaining permission for private practice, he used his practice as an excuse to visit his associates. He helped the Vologda exiles by giving them medical examination certificates to be submitted to the police, which allowed the exiles to stay in the governorate city rather than be sent to the remote settlements of Vologda Governorate. In the course of numerous discussions between exiles belonging to different philosophical and political camps, Bogdanov’s skill as a philosopher and polemicist was honed. Thanks to the tremendous dedication, hard work, and concentration on his scientific activities, Alexander Bogdanov had strengthened his reputation as a famous Marxist writer by the end of the exile. Moreover, due to his illegal correspondence with the editorial board of the Iskra newspaper, he established contacts with the leading circles of the emerging Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. The time Alexander Bogdanov spent in exile in Vologda paid off and produced a great effect on his formation as a researcher and a political activist.
Alla Yu. Morozova
Candidate оf Historical Sciences, senior researcher
Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
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For citation:
Morozova, A. “Black cat, pink frogs and ‘obituaries as a memento’: Alexander Bogdanov’s Vologda exile.” Historia Provinciae – the Journal of Regional History, vol. 5, no. 4 (2021): 1092–1142,

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