Revolutionary Women

Revolutionary Women

Anastasia Ivanovna Galaieva aka Anastasia Ivanovna, Nastia & Stepanova (1885-1925)

Anastasia Galaieva was born into a workers’ family in Ekaterinoslav, Russia, in 1887. Through her own strenuous efforts and perseverance she became a primary school teacher. She became a revolutionary in 1904, first of all propagandising the ideas of Machajski and in 1905 active in the Anarchist Communist Workers’ Group of Ekaterinoslav. She was arrested by the Tsarist police in 1908 and finally brought before a military court on the 24th of September, 1911. She was sentenced to four years hard labour for involvement in the anarchist movement. Already fragile by nature, the appalling conditions in prison led to her contracting pulmonary tuberculosis.

After her sentence, she was deported to exile in Irkutsk province. Released from there by the February Revolution, she returned to the Ukraine. Her husband Pavel Arsentiev (aka Stepanova) who was well known in anarchist circles, was murdered in front of her by the Ukrainian nationalists of Petliura. Despite this traumatic incident and her serious illness, she continued to be active in the anarchist movement in Kiev and in Kharkov, above all in the Anarchist Black Cross groups in those towns.

With the Bolshevik attacks on the Nabat Confederation of Anarchists, she was arrested by the Kharkov Cheka on the 25th of November, 1920. She was released in early 1921, arrested again in March of the same year, and again in November 1921. From 1922 to 1924 she was exiled to Veliky Ustiug and then Arkhangelsk. Each time she was arrested without charge. This in spite of the dozens of Bolsheviks that she helped in prison through her work with Taratuta in the Political Red Cross.

A member of the Society of Ex-Political Prisoners and Exiles, she resigned from it along with Olga Taratuta in 1924 in protest against increasing Communist Party control of this organisation.

It was only the intervention of doctors in Moscow who told the authorities that she was dying of a terminal illness that she was freed under special surveillance of the Cheka in Moscow.

She died on the 27th of October, 1925.