The Apostasy of Lev Aleksandrovich Tikhomirov, one of the few surviving giants of the Executive Committee of Narodnaia volia, was among the most severe disasters which the Russian revolutionary movement sustained in the decade following the assassination of Alexander II. In the summer of 1888 Tikhomirov, the coeditor of Narodnaia volia's Geneva journal, published a pamphlet entitled Pochemu ia perestal byt' revoliutsionerom (Why I Ceased to Be a Revolutionary), and early the following year he returned to Russia, having received a full pardon from the tsar.
In the words of Nikolai Apollonovich Charushin, a friend and colleague since the old days of the Chaikovskii circle, Tikhomirov's recantation produced the effect of an “exploding bomb” in both the official Russian and the émigré press. According to the liberal historian Bogucharskii, rumors were rife around Moscow that Pobedonostsev had made Tikhomirov's return conditional on his retiring to a monastery to atone for his sins. The Moskovskie vedomosti, of which Tikhomirov was subsequently to become editor, greeted the prodigal son with joy. Referring to Why I Ceased to Be a Revolutionary, a Vedomosti writer noted that “here we find the frank confession of a man who took an important part in the criminal sedition of the last fifteen years, whose conscience has finally been awakened, and whose sanity has been restored, in place of that madness with which his comrades strive toward their absurd, impossible goals.”