A short biography of the Russian anarchist Aida Basevich
Aida Basevich was born into a Jewish family on July 18th, 1905 in Saint Petersburg. Her father was a well-known construction engineer, who had been involved in the construction of the Vitebsk railway station. Whilst not belonging to any party, he considered himself a revolutionary. Aida read books in his collection by Kropotkin, Stepniak and Vera Figner, which helped her form her own political opinions.
She studied at Vyborg Commercial School in Saint Petersburg and in 1924 became a student at the State Institute for the History of the Arts. She joined an anarchist group there. She was arrested in Leningrad on February 25th 1925 and sentenced on March 13th to three years in exile, first in Orsk, a small town in the south Urals, and then Orenburg in 1926. She met a number of other anarchists whilst in exile and this strengthened her ideas. She married in Orenburg and had a daughter, Marianna.
She was now arrested a second time in relation to the escape of several political prisoners. She received three years exile in Minusinsk. She was released in 1929 due to a second pregnancy. Her pregnancy was very difficult as she had contracted a kidney disease. She returned to Leningrad where she gave birth to her daughter Tatiana. She resumed her activities in an underground anarchist group. She then graduated from civil engineering school and worked as a technician.
She was arrested again in October 1932 for involvement in an anarchist group initiated by Dinu Zuyrif. This time she was exiled for five years.
Returning again to Leningrad, she was subsequently advised by Mikhail Lvovich Vinaver of the Political Red Cross to leave the city immediately without leaving a forwarding address. She then fled to Kaluga with her two daughters. Reminiscing in the 1879s she said: "I did as Vinaver advised me, I took the girls and went to Kaluga. And later I learned, a few days after our departure they came to arrest me, but I was already far away with my girls. They arrested me only four years later, at the beginning of the war. And they accused me, in particular, of disappearing from Leningrad to avoid arrest. I think that Vinaver's council saved my life then.”
In 1941 she was arrested and sent to the prison in Tula, whilst her daughters were sent to a special orphanage in the Berdy settlement in the Cheliabinsk region. She was sentenced by a military tribunal to 10 years in the camps to be followed by five years political and civil disenfranchisement.
She was sent to the camp at the Sama settlement, in the Sverdlovsk region. Here she gave birth to a son, Mikhail in 1944.
In 1947 she was released from the camp before the end of her term, as a mother with a young child. She was then exiled to Syzran and then Pokhvistnevo settlement in the Kuibyshev region.
She was rehabilitated on September 1st, 1956 and returned to Leningrad the following year. There she worked as a technician until her retirement in 1979.
She remained devoted to anarchism and joined the Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists (KAS) in her later years. She spoke and wrote openly about childbirth and menstruation. Marriage had no importance to her and she raised all her children from different fathers by herself.
She died on May 25th, 1995.
Shapovalov, Veronica. (2001) Remembering The Darkness: Women In Soviet Prisons
Hutton,Marcelline (“015) Resilient Russian Women in the 1920s and 1930s