|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
Taganrog, Russian Empire
|Died||November 8, 1889
Ust-Kara, Russian Empire
|Known for||Kara katorga tragedy|
|Political party||Narodnaya Volya|
Nadezhda Malaxiano was born into a Greek family in the city of Taganrog in 1862. She graduated from the Taganrog Mariinskaya Girls Gymnasium, and gave lessons in a church school. The family lived in a house on Gogolevski Street 8, next to Anton Chekhov's family house. Nadezhda Malaxiano became involved with a Narodnaya Volya group, being one of its activists in Taganrog's underground printshop in 1885–1886 on Glushko Street 60. She made a sham marriage with Akim Sigida (1868-1888) for conspiracy work at the printshop.
The Don Process
In January 1886 following the disclosure of Narodnaya Volya's printers in Taganrog, she was arrested along with other organization members. The special hearing for her case was held in the Senate December 8–9, 1887 and was referred to as The Don Process (Донской процесс). At court, Nadezhda Sigida used the tactics of Narodnaya Volya, refusing to testify and only acknowledging her membership to the revolutionary organization. She was sentenced to death penalty. Sigida appealed for pardon following the request of Malaxiano family, and the death penalty was replaced by 8 years of katorga on Kara river in Transbaikalia.
The Kara katorga tragedy
Sigida arrived at the time of disorders in prison and demands of political prisoners to remove the prison commander, V.P.Masyukov, being guilty of brutal treatment towards the inmates. Nadezhda Sigida slapped the prison's chief Maksyutov in the face. This resulted in her transfer into the criminal section of the prison, and the governor-general Andrei Korf sentenced her to 100 birch-rods. But no one would fulfill the order for corporal punishment of a political prisoner who was a woman, as it was banned. An inquiry was made to the attention of Pyotr Nikolayevich Durnovo, Russian Minister of Internal Affairs, who in his turn reported to Alexander III of Russia. The tsar's response was Flog her!. Pyotr Durnovo filed a second report, stipulating that Sigida was an educated woman with poor health. The tsar's resolution was the same: 100 birchrods.
The sentence was executed on November 7, 1889. In protest to corporal punishment of a woman, Nadezhda Sigida and 29 other political prisoners of Kara katorga took poison and seven of them, including Nadezhda Sigida, died.
This event stirred public response. Reports on the events of 1889 were published in major Russian and European newspapers, including two articles in the British newspaper The Times. As a consequence, Kara katorga was closed, and the corporal punishment for imprisoned women and dvorianins (nobility) was abolished by the law of March 28, 1893.