Yakutsk Exile

Yakutsk Exile

 

in tsarist Russia, a place of compulsory settlement of political and criminal exiles in Yakutsk Oblast. Established in the mid-17th century, the Yakutsk Exile was, until the mid-19th century, not only a form of punishment but also a means of forcibly colonizing the region. The main centers were Yakutsk, Verkhoiansk, Viliuisk, Srednekolymsk, and Olekminsk. Participants in peasant and urban uprisings and religious dissenters were sent to the Yakutsk Exile. The exiled settlers contributed to the development of grain farming in Yakutia.

In the 19th century the government exiled to Yakutia several Decembrists, 140 participants in the Polish Uprising of 1863–64, 313 revolutionary Populists, and members of the People’s Will. N. G. Chernyshevskii was held in the Viliuisk Stockade from 1872 to 1883, and V. G. Korolenko served his term of exile in the Amga settlement from 1881 to 1884. In the 1890’s the government banished to Yakutia members of the first Marxist circles, notably M. I. Brusnev; members of the St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, and Urals Leagues of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class; and S. V. Pomeranets and B. L. Eidel’man, the organizers of the First Congress of the RSDLP. In all, 53 Social Democrats served sentences in the Yakutsk Exile in the 1890’s. As of Jan. 1, 1901, there were 3,540 exiles in Yakutsk Oblast, including members of sects and common criminals. Some 300 revolutionaries, including the hkra agents I. V. Babushkin, I. I. Radchenko, and G. I. Okulova, were serving terms of exile in Yakutia between 1901 and 1904.

The unbearable conditions of exile and the brutality of the administration sparked protests among the exiles (see 1889 and 1904). Forty-nine exiles died between 1870 and 1900. The amnesty of 1905 freed the exiles, but as early as 1906 many participants in the Revolution of 1905–07 were deported to Yakutia. The total number of exiles reached 3,000 by 1910.

Despite the extremely harsh regimen, the political exiles conducted intensive scholarly and educational work among the local population, improved their own education, and reproduced on hectograph the magazine Vestnik Ssylki (Exile Herald) and the newspaper Letuchii Listok (Flying Leaflet). The works of I. A. Khudiakov and V. G. Bogoraz, who served sentences in the Yakutsk Exile, contain valuable material on the ethnography of the Yakuts. In February 1914, V. P. Nogin and E. M. Iaroslavskii founded the Yakutsk Organization of the RSDLP. The February Revolution of 1917 released more than 500 revolutionaries from the Yakutsk Exile, and by the summer of 1917 the majority of the political exiles had left Yakutia.

REFERENCES

Krotov, M. A. Iakutskaia ssylka 70–80-khgg. Moscow, 1925.
V iakutskoi nevole: Sb. materialov i vospominanii. Moscow, 1927.
100 let iakutskoissylki. [Moscow, 1934.]
Petrov, P. U. lz istorii revoliutsionnoi deiatel’nosti ssyl’nykh bol’shevikov v Iakutii. Yakutsk, 1952.
Meshcherskii, A. P. Pervye marksisty v Sibirskoi ssylke. [Irkutsk] 1966.
Meshcherskii, A. P., and N. N. Shcherbakov. V. I. Lenin ipoliticheskaia ssylka v Sibiri (konets XIX v–1917 g.). Irkutsk, 1973.

A. P. MESHCHERSKII

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