Society of Former Political Prisoners and Exiles

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Society of Former Political Prisoners and Exiles


a society organized by F. E. Dzerzhinskii, Ia. E. Rud-zutak, and Em. Iaroslavskii. Its first official meeting took place in the House of Trade Unions in Moscow on Mar. 21, 1921.

The Society of Former Political Prisoners and Exiles gave material aid to former political prisoners and exiles; organized presentations of lectures and reports; and engaged in the collection, preservation, study, and publication of materials on the history of tsarist prisons, hard labor, and exile. In 1921 the society had 200 members; in 1931, 2,759. Among these were prominent participants in the revolutionary movement, including V. N. Figner, L. G. Deich, F. Ia. Kon, M. F. Frolenko, A. V. Iakimova-Dikovskaia, A. V. Pribylev, F. N. Petrov, V. A. Bystrianskii, N. A. Skrypnik, and I. A. Teodorovich. The society was headed by a council. In 1924 it became an all-Union organization, and in 1928 it had more than 50 branches. Its members presented papers and lectures to workers, students, and members of the Red Army. National congresses of the society were held in 1924, 1925, 1928, and 1931. Scholarly research was conducted in historical sections, including sections on the Decembrists, the Revolution of 1905–07, Utopian socialism in Russia, and the People’s Will.

The society published the journals Katorga i ssylka (Hard Labor and Exile) and Biulleten’ Tsentral’nogo soveta Vsesiouz-nogo obshchestvo byvshikh politkatorzhan i ssyl’noposelentsev (1930–33; Bulletin of the Central Council of the All-Union Society of Former Political Prisoners and Exiles), as well as the two series Istoriko-revoliutsionnaia biblioteka (Library of Revolutionary History) and Klassiki revoliutsionnoi mysli domarksistskogo perioda (Classsics in Revolutionary Thought of the Pre-Marxist Period). The society also published writings and materials on the lives and public activities of A. I. Herzen, N. G. Chernyshevskii, N. A. Dobroliubov, M. A. Bakunin, P. N. Tka-chev, and Figner; as well as a bibliographical dictionary, Figures of the Revolutionary Movement in Russia. It published memoirs and documents about the Decembrist movement, the narodni-chestvo (populist movement), the workers’ movement, and tsarist prisons, hard labor, and exile. In 1926 the society founded a museum with a library and archive. Along with the Society of Old Bolsheviks, it helped found the International Organization for Aid to Revolutionaries in 1922. It ceased to function in 1935.


Politicheskaia katorga i ssylka: Biograficheskii spravochnik chlenov obshchestvo politkatorzhan i ssyl’noposelentsev. Moscow, 1934.
Vsesoiuznoe obshchestvo politkatorzhan i ssyl’noposelentsev: Katalog iz-danii. 1921–1931. Moscow, 1931.
Vsesoiuznoe obshchestvo politkatorzhan i ssyl’noposelentsev: Katalog iz-danii, 1931–1934. Moscow, 1935.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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