GEORGY GAPON 1870 - 1906
1870 - 1906


Leading Russia Into Revolution

Gapon was an intelligent priest who knew how to deliver a captivating speech.

Equipped with good looks, charisma, and excellent organizational talent, he also gained a reputation as someone who stood up on behalf of the oppressed and less fortunate.

Gapon organized and led a mass demonstration on a day that became known as Bloody Sunday.

This event ignited the  Russian Revolution of 1905.


Gapon's Puzzling Profile

Father Gapon can also be described as having been a young socialist who sent mixed messages regarding his revolutionary alliances. It almost looks like he was ready and confident enough to blaze his own trail through the mess of the Russian unrests.

It is for this reason that some critics questioned his motives and saw his social acts of goodness simply as a way to create a following.

It is also for this reason that Gapon ended up dead in 1906. He put himself on the fence and equally alienated both sides, the czarist regime and the revolutionaries.


Georgy Gapon's Family

Gapon was married to Vera and had two children.

After four years of marriage his wife suddenly fell ill and died, leaving Gapon gravely devastated.


Gapon Before Bloody Sunday

Gapon was born in Beliki, or Beliaki, a small village in Ukraine, on February 5, 1870. His parents were peasants and devout.

Gapon went through primary school, then graduated from the Lower Ecclesiastical School in Poltava, and attended the Poltava seminary after that. He briefly worked as a statistician for the local council, the zemstvo, in order to finance his studies. Gapon went on to serve as priest in a cemetery chapel.

From 1898 until 1903, Gapon studied at the Theological Academy in St Petersburg, after which he was employed as a prison chaplain.

During his student years in St Petersburg, Gapon kept extending the helping hand for people in distress. Soon, the Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna heard of his good deeds and recommended him to leading politicians.

Starting in 1902, Gapon accepted 100 rubles per month from Sergey Zubatov who paid this handsome sum in his capacity as chief of the czar's secret police, also called the Okhrana. What was Gapon paid for? The objective was to boost Czar Nicholas' popularity among the masses.

To this effect, Gapon founded the Assembly of the Russian Factory and Mill Workers of the City of St. Petersburg. The assembly organized social events and the like, all in order to smooth out socialist ambitions and to keep revolutionary activities in check. Unbeknown to his employers, Gapon also had a political agenda of his own.



Gapon and the Bloody Sunday of 1905

Included are timeline events that led up to the massacre on January 22, 1905.

Monday, January 16, 1905 (January 3, 1905 -
Old Style)
Workers at a plant in Putilov, Ukraine, went on strike. Gapon supported the employees. The strike quickly spread to other factories.

Wednesday, January 18, 1905 (January 5, 1905 -
Old Style)
Gapon met with the city governor and outlined his plans of a peaceful march in
 St Petersburg that would end in front of the Czar's residence and present him with a petition.

Saturday, January 21, 1905 (January 8, 1905 -
Old Style)
In the evening, Josif Vladimirovich Gessen, a prominent lawyer and political adviser, visited Sergey Yulyevich Witte, chairman of the Council of Ministers aka Prime Minister.

Gessen pointed out that the general spirit of the citizens was rather agitated and that it would be prudent not to let the army interfere with tomorrow's march.

Also that evening the Ministry of Internal Affairs received a letter from Gapon, written in a polite tone, asking to let him present his petition to the Czar tomorrow at 2 p.m.

Bloody Sunday, January 22, 1905
(January 9, 1905 -
Old Style)

Fact 1 - Troops had been shipped in to support the local units.

Fact 2 - Gapon was not granted an appointment to present his petition to Czar Nicholas. In fact, the Czar was out of town.

The events unfold - The demonstrators marched direction city center. The police ordered the crowd to disperse. The marchers didn't disperse. The troops were told to open fire. Several hundred people were wounded, Gapon being one of them. About 130 people were killed.

See more under the  Russian Revolution of 1905.


Gapon after Bloody Sunday

After the bloodbath, Gapon fled the country and met with other Russian revolutionary émigrés. He was very outspoken against the czarist regime and joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party.

Gapon returned to Russia, contacted the authorities and officially regretted his role in the events that led up and included Bloody Sunday. His revolutionary comrades were confused.

The confusion turned eye opener when Gapon decided to collaborate once more with the Czar's secret police. This time his assigned goal was to dissolve the anti-imperialistic movement he had been a part of.

However, Prime Minister Witte didn't trust Gapon and arranged to have him escorted out of the country via Verzhbolovo, which is in today's Lithuania. Gapon left Russia and promised to stay gone.

Round about November 1905, Gapon came back. Again he agreed to assist homeland security in their fight against insurgents.

This time the revolutionaries had him hung.





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