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Founded in 1879 by apostate Narodniki members, the Narodnaja Wolja (People's Desire) very soon became known as one of the most extremist groups in the Russian czar empire. The group's leader was Scheljabow who believed that the autocracy was in the path of a socialistic future and therefore it had to be physically destroyed. Further leading participants had been Nikolaus Tschaikowski and the anarchist Peter Kropotkin whose secret union later became part of the Narodnaja Wolja. With reference to his membership in this terrorist league, Kropotkin was arrested already in 1874, but soon after he could escape. The movement reached its summit in the successful assassination of czar Alexander II. in 1881. During her time at the Second Warsaw Women Grammar School, that was between 1884 and 1887, the later also murdered left-wing politician Rosa Luxemburg joined a secret education club for Polish juveniles. At the meetings she gets to know the party "Proletariat" which was still unimportant at that time but already had close contacts to the Narodnaja Wolja. After passing her A-level, Luxemburg who fought against the Polish suppression promotes the Narodnaja Wolja movement with propaganda materials for a short time. In 1887, the elder brother of Wladimir Illjitsch Lenin, Alexander, who was also a member of the group, is executed for anti-czarist conspiracy. Like Lenin's brother, the well-known socialist theoretician Karl Marx had been occasionally a sympathizer of this Russian urban guerilla.
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