The tsarist regime used Siberian exile as a punishment for dissidents. Following the Decembrists’ Revolt in 1825, hundreds of officers were exiled to Siberia by Tsar Nicholas I. Most of these officers took their wives and children with them. The writer Feodor Dostoyevsky was sentenced to exile for his role in the Petrashevskiy circle. It is clear that both the police and local authorities used exile as a way of removing troublesome people from society. Political exiles were often treated with compassion as men and women of principles: Vladimir Lenin was allowed to take his revolutionary books into exile. He was even allowed to go hunting.
   During the Soviet period, exile was also used as a punishment for political prisoners. Millions of peasants were exiled during collectivization: many of them perished in settlements in Siberia. From 1939 until 1953, peoples suspected of collaboration with enemies of the Soviet Union were exiled to Siberia by the hundred thousands. The secret police also used exile to keep political prisoners who had been released from the gulag in the inhospitable regions. In 1949 Minister of Internal Affairs Sergei Kruglov informed Joseph Stalin that there were 2,562,830 people living in exile. Five years later, the MVD reported that the total had grown to 2,819,776, of whom 884,057 were children.
   In the post-Stalin era, Soviet courts continued to use both internal and foreign exile as forms of punishment. KGB Chair Yuri Andropov argued forcefully for the exiling of certain dissidents, such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from the Soviet Union. People convicted of minor civil crimes were often sentenced to internal exile. The Soviet criminal code also had provisions for a sentence of imprisonment plus a term of exile for political offenses. These sentences continued until 1988.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.


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