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Article

Dostoevskii and the Birth of the Conscientious Terrorist: From the Underground Man to Underground Russia

This paper argues that as Dostoevsky endeavored to affirm a moral ideal in his struggle against nihilism—attempting to overcome the “inertia” of his protagonist the Underground Man—he gave lucid articulation to the moral-aesthetic values that would later become a staple for Russian revolutionaries, particularly the “conscientious” terrorist.  Within this context the case of Vera Zasulich will be examined as an unanticipated realization of Dostoevsky’s moral ideal.