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a prison that served as a central deportation point in prerevolutionary Russia; it was also used for the detention of persons under investigation or sentenced on political or criminal charges. The first information on the Butyrka Prison dates from the 17th century.
The prison was built in Moscow near the Butyrka Gate in 1879, at the site of the castle erected by the architect M. F. Kazakov under Catherine II. Insurgent streltsy (semi-professional musketeers) were incarcerated in the towers of the castle under Peter I, and E. I. Pugachev was held there under Catherine II. Hundreds of participants of the Polish Uprising of 1863 passed through the old castle. In 1883 members of the People’s Will were detained in the towers of the Butyrka Prison, as were in 1886 participants in the Morozov Strike of 1885. In 1904 and 1905, N. E. Bauman, V. F. Lengnik, E. D. Stasova, and other prominent Bolsheviks were detained in the Butyrka Prison, and in 1908 and 1909, V. V. Mayakovsky served a term there for spreading revolutionary propaganda among the workers. Between 1910 and 1917, F. E. Dzerzhinskii, Em. Iaroslavskii, and other Bolsheviks were held there.
The regime of the Butyrka Prison was cruel. The prison administration responded to the prisoners’ protests with violence. During the February Revolution of 1917 the workers of Moscow freed the political prisoners. After October 1917 the Butyrka Prison was used for the detention of persons under investigation.