Aleksei Ravelin

Aleksei Ravelin

 

a fortification behind the western wall of the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. The foundation was laid in 1733 by Empress Anna Ivanovna in honor of her grandfather, Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich. In 1797, on the orders of Paul I, a secret political prison was constructed behind the ravelin. It consisted of a triangular, single-story stone building (until 1797 there was a wooden prison in the Aleksei Ravelin) with individual cells for 20 prisoners. The regime in the ravelin was particularly cruel; it was calculated to slowly destroy the prisoners, most of whom were political. In 1793, F. V. Krechetov was imprisoned there. Between 1825 and 1884 the prisoners of the ravelin included more than 20 Decembrists, among whom were P. I. Pestel’, K. F. Ryleev, and P. G. Kakhovskii; three members of the Cyrill and Methodius Society; about 15 members of Petrashevskii’s group, including M. V. Petrashevskii himself and F. M. Dostoevsky; a number of participants of the 1830–31 Polish uprising; M. A. Bakunin (1851–54); N. G. Chernyshevskii (1862–64), who wrote his novel What Is to Be Done? there; V. Al. Obruchev; N. V. Shelgunov; N. A. Serno-Solov’evich; D. V. Karakozov; N. V. Kletochnikov; A. D. Mikhailov; N. A. Morozov; I. N. Myshkin; M. F. Frolenko; and others. The Decembrist G. S. Baten’kov spent nearly 20 years there; M. S. Beide-man also spent 20 years there, and S. G. Nechaev about ten years. The prison was eliminated in 1884, and in 1895 the building was demolished.

REFERENCES

Gernet, M. N. Istoriia tsarskoi tiur’my, 2nd ed., vols. 1–3 Moscow, 1951–52.
Shchegolev, P. E. Alekseevskii ravelin. Moscow, 1929.
Frolenko, M. F. “Milost’ “ (Iz vospominanii ob Alekseevskom raveline), 2nd ed. Moscow, 1928.