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Siberia: Convicts and Exiles

The first Russians exiled to Siberia were convicted of rebellion against Tsar Godunov's believed to order assassination the young prince Dmitry in 1593. In 1653, the death penalty for thieves and robbers was revoked and exile to Siberia instead became an alternative punishment. In the 19th century it widely believed that criminals would start leading new lives in a new place, they would build their new homes and have new families, as well as improve the economic well-being of Siberia. However, the population increase was not registered in the region. Siberian officials reported that more than two-thirds of the exiled did not live in their homes. About 500,000 people were exiled in Siberia during the first half of the 19th century, though 400,000 seemed to have not living at the exile destination or disappeared.
Voennopli︠e︡nnye avstrīĭt︠s︡y u baraka, [near Kiappeselga]
58 Media in collectionpage 1 of 1

Farmhouse of prosperous exile

Photograph shows a wooden house and attached outbuildings.

Group of convicts ready to embark on a prison barge, Tiumin [i.e., T i umen]̦

A group of convicts waiting to depart from a T i umen ̦forwarding prison to a prison barge.

Siberian convicts working in a placer mine

Prison guards surrounding a placer mine at Kara, Transbaikalia, where hard labor convicts are working.

Runaway Siberian convicts (common criminals)

Three escaped convicts standing in field.

Sophia Nikitina, died on way to place of exile

Sophia Nikitina, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left.

Party of exiles and convicts embarking on river barge at Tumen [i.e., Tiumen], western Siberia

Male convicts and exiles wait to board barge for Tomsk. Women and children accompanying them are on barge.

A Siberian etape or exile station house

An etape (road prison) for convicts on the road from Barnaul to Krasno i arsk.