Evgeniia Isaaknova Iaroslavskaia-Markon

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Evgenia Isaaknova Iaroslavskaia-Markon
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St. Petersburg, Russia
DiedJuly 16, 1931(1931-07-16) (aged 28–29)
Alma materPetrograd State University
  • Journalist
  • Lecturer
  • Thief
Spouse(s)Aleksander Iaroslavskii
  • Isaac Dov-Ben Markon (father)

Evgenia Isaaknova Iaroslavskaia-Markon was a radical journalist, lecturer, and thief who lived from 1902-1931 in Russia.[1]

Early Life

Evgenia Isaaknova Iaroslavskaia-Markon was born in St. Petersburg and raised in a prominent Jewish family.[1] Her father, Isaac Dov-Ben Markon was a scholar of Judaism and well-known in the St Petersburg Jewish community. She went to a private gymnasium in St. Petersburg and graduated from Petrograd State University in 1922, where she studied philosophy.

From a young age, she was aware of and fascinated by the political turmoil in Russia, especially surrounding political prisoners.[2] She joined the Unified Socialist Democratic Party when she went to Moscow to visit her grandmother, and sold their newspapers. She left the party when she left Moscow. Food rations were scarce and she began to starve, causing her to become disillusioned with communism.


She met the poet and lecturer Aleksander Iaroslavskii after graduating university in 1922 and married him in 1923[3]. In her autobiography, she speaks of the passionate and devoted love they shared and their mutual respect for each others beliefs and thoughts.

Lecture Tours

After marrying, Markon and Iaroslavskii went on a lecturing tour together throughout the USSR, speaking on literary and anti religious topics.[2] In 1923, she fell underneath a train and had to have both of her feet amputated. In 1926, she went on an international lecture tour with Iaroslavkii. While staying in Berlin, Iaroslavskaia-Markon wrote for Rul, a Menshevik newspaper, on the criminal world and on the homeless. Her fascination with the world of crime led to her electing criminal behavior and poverty as a lifestyle. After lecturing abroad, her husband wanted to return to Russia. Markon had become happy and comfortable in Paris, France, where she stayed in free, welcoming homeless shelters. She had hoped to get in contact with Nestor Makno and work with him on revolutionary activity in Ukraine, but eventually returned to Russia in 1928 with her husband.

Criminal Activity and Arrests

Iaroslavskii was arrested when they returned to Russia, and Markon threw herself into the criminal world right away.[2] She sold newspapers and learned how to steal (she viewed pickpocketing as an art form). During this time in her life, she experienced homelessness, assault, hunger, and danger. She switched to selling flowers, which was still difficult. She had dreams to organize criminals and to work with them to release common and political prisoners, as well as to set up systems for mutual aid.

After her husband’s arrest in 1928, Markon began to travel around Russia to follow Iaroslavskii who was being moved from prison to prison, and she faced difficulties with money and struggled to be able to see him. She continued stealing and became more advanced in her capabilities.

She was arrested once for stealing travel bags, and a second time for stealing from an apartment. For her second arrest, she was exiled to the town of Ustiutza in the region of Cherepovetsk, and lived in a government building with few supplies and furniture. There, she began working as a fortune teller, making money from locals who visited her. She continued her practice in the town after she was freed, but was soon arrested again after breaking into and stealing from a store. She was exiled to Siberia in 1929 and moved from village to village, continuing to practice fortune telling.

She escaped from exile in Siberia and went to Kem, where she plotted to free her husband from prison. She was arrested in 1930 and sent to the Solovetskii camp where she was assigned three years of forced labor. However, after her husband was executed on December 10th, 1930, Markon protested at the camp and threw a stone at Dmitrii Vasilevich Uspenskii and was then moved to an isolation camp.


An investigation report as well as a report from a guard describe her rowdy behavior in jail, and her eventual execution.[4] She was vocal about her disgust for the Soviet regime and her dedication to defend her husband. She attacked guards and attempted suicide twice, and never stopped speaking passionately about her anti-soviet views. She was executed on July 16th, 1931. She wrote a memoir in February of 1931 when in the isolation camp.


Markon was a radical thinker whose ideologies leaned toward an anarchist perspective. She was disgusted with the Soviet regime and the authoritarian communism she was in Russia but was not a capitalist. She was also antireligious, which she spoke of on her lecture tours. In her autobiography, she wrote that she "fell in love with revolution" at the age of 12.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Shapovalov, Veronica. (2001). Remembering the darkness : women in Soviet prisons. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-1145-6. OCLC 46240281.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Iaroslavskaia-Markon, Evgenia Isaaknova (1931). My Autobiography.
  3. "Ярославская-Маркон Евгения Исааковна ::: Воспоминания о ГУЛАГе :: База данных :: Авторы и тексты". www.sakharov-center.ru. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  4. Investigatory Case File 507, on the Charges against Prisoner Iaroslavskaia-Markon, Evgeniia Isaaknova.

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