Peter the Painter: Latvian Anarchist

15th October 2019 @ 18:30 – 21:30

Doors open at 6.30 – talk starts at 7pm.

The famous 1911 “Siege of Sidney Street”, where a small group of Latvian anarchists took on Winston Churchill and the British Army, has entered into East London folklore. But no one has ever accounted for “Peter the Painter”, leader of the gang who supposedly escaped before the besieged house went up in flames.

Philip Ruff’s new book solves the mystery. Learn the real identity of Peter the Painter; the amazing story of his life and revolutionary career; and of the hitherto unknown history of Latvian anarchism. The violent events in London are revealed to be part of a much bigger story – the 1905 revolution in the Baltic and the armed resistance to Russian state terrorism which followed it.

This is a story of class war, revolution and survival; and of a small nation striving to assert its identity; a story that, in the context of a resurgence of Russian imperial ambition aimed at the Baltic States, has particular resonance today.