“There’s a tsar in the world, a merciless tsar; / His name is—hunger!” These lines, taken from Nikolai A. Nekrasov’s poem “Zheleznaia doroga” (1864), serve as the epigraph for one of the most popular works of Russian revolutionary propaganda literature of the late nineteenth century, the pamphlet Tsar-golod by Aleksei Nikolaevich Bakh, a People’s Will activist of the early 1880s. Nekrasov’s poem vividly depicts the cost in human suffering of the construction of the Moscow to St. Petersburg railroad. As with other works by Nekrasov, the poem arouses the reader’s sympathy for Russian common folk and outrage at their plight. Bakh, when faced with the task of devising lessons for workers’ propaganda circles, picked up the striking image of Tsar Hunger, driving workers to labor and often to death, and used it as a recurring theme, while he transformed the message. Bakh’s brochure, a dissection and analysis of the capitalist system, leaves behind the world of poetry for that of cold reality. The author’s purpose is not simply to inspire sympathy for the people’s suffering, but also to lead his worker audience to understand the economic system that exploited them and to recognize the urgent need for revolution.