Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822


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The extent to which Russian state and society were shaped as a result of expansion into Siberia is nevertheless debatable. Despite the early guliashchie and a few other groups, European Russian dwelling patterns were for the most part replicated in Siberia. Eventually, some 35 monasteries were established in Siberia e.

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As of the early eighteenth century Siberian monasteries possessed 1, peasant households, and by owned more than 14, male serfs. Moreover, government administrators established a presence in Siberia much more quickly and decisively than did their counterparts in the American West, delimiting areas of settlement and imposing military authority over indigenes and migrants alike. Yet the most decisive factor distinguishing the Russian from the American frontier experience is the exile system, for which there is no parallel in American history, save the deportation of comparatively small numbers of Native Americans.

A number of different figures, most notably Prince Vasilii Cherkasskii, ran Kazanskii prikaz between and All must have been adept administrators, for despite the chaos that befell Muscovy during these years the prikaz managed to steadily extend authority over western 28 Exile to Siberia, — Siberia. With cossack explorers pushing ever onward and seemingly without end, and with trade between Siberia and European Russia growing, the Kremlin realized this enormous territory needed its own governing agency.

When first colleges then ministries came to replace prikazy a completely salient Siberian administration was still lacking. The absence of a single administrative agency for Siberia and particularly the exile system would plague the whole of the tsarist era. Moscow initially divided Siberia into kraia — unorganized territories that when sufficiently populated or if slated for development became uezdy. Over time, these uezdy were subsumed into larger administrative units called voevodstva, whose top officials voevody were typically nobles with bureaucratic or military experience.

Term lengths doubled in ; and in Peter fixed them at between four and six years. So heavily did the tsars rely on voevody to govern Siberia that their relationship was quasi-feudal. In Siberia, almost all non-clerical positions were staffed by military officers, and until civil society there remained more regimented than elsewhere in Russia. All other duties were organized around this. They were required to explore, survey and designate lands for peasant settlement and oversee agricultural production to provision soldiers and administrators. Compounding jurisdictional conflicts between voevody and prikaz officials was corruption.

Basil Dmytryshyn believes they generally conducted their responsibilities as ordered. Pointing out that Moscow could exert leverage by sending investigators and controlling supplies, he argues for a strong link between center and periphery. Moreover, their clandestine activities would have for the most part escaped documentation.


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Referring to all Muscovite voevody, J. In the end, it can be safely said that when Eniseisk voevoda V. Golokhvastov was dismissed in for misappropriating funds and abusing natives, his was not an unusual case. Given that it was an officially condoned practice, kormlenie renders the question of corruption something of a semantic argument; nevertheless, successive tsars were willing to tolerate only so much graft.

Kolyma - Exposé of the Soviet Union's Most Brutal Siberian Concentration Camps

Siberian voevody saw kormlenie as a perquisite and compensation for having to serve in Siberia, despite a considerable average annual salary of rubles. In addition, bribery, though not sanctioned, was like kormlenie part and parcel of Siberian bureaucratic life. A typical court edict nakaz promised voevody that if caught accepting bribes to allow prisoners to escape, they would be exiled in their stead; and at some point the Kremlin began appointing dual voevody in the hope they would police each other.

His particular reign of terror lasted several decades, though it is documents from the early s which detail how he and his thugs assaulted and extorted peasants and promyshlenniki. He would coerce peasants into buying his beer by parading cartloads of hostages past their izbas and shouting that if they did not come out and pay, he would kidnap them as well. Like many a corrupt official he got off scot-free, which perhaps induced his son to carry on the family tradition. Borivoj Plavsic has shown that prior to a genuine meritocracy allowed those with ability, not necessarily rank or wealth, to occupy important positions within the administration, and he points out that malfeasance does not always lead to maladministration.

Indeed, had this not been the case, Russia could never have accomplished what it did in Siberia.

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Although administrators certainly committed their share of mistakes and violations, conditions for Siberian exiles as a group were generally better during the seventeenth century than at any later time. To understand why this was so, attention must first be given to the non-exiles who settled in Siberia. Aside from those state servitors less than thrilled to be assigned to places like Tara or Tiumen the first persons compulsorily sent to Siberia were peasants.

Quite simply, Moscow forcefully relocated peasants because other efforts to colonize Siberia were failing. During the next four decades Moscow relocated peasants from around Kazan and other southern regions, typically assigning them as food producers to ostroga built throughout western Siberia.

Some were relocated because they were artisans. Available evidence suggests this —8 deportation was the last of its kind, though neither Shunkov nor other experts on this period explain why. At first glance it would seem voluntary migration and natural population growth had, by the mids, alleviated the need for large deportations of food producers and artisans, though servitors continued to depend on supplies originating from European Russia for some time after This may have been what Tsar Alexis had in mind when, after , he cancelled any future such operations.

Another possibility involves the impact of the Ulozhonie, whose institutionalizing of serfdom limited the numbers available for transfer. A less likely possibility, though one particularly relevant to the deportation of exiles, is that mortality rates associated with these deportations were high enough for Moscow to revisit its strategy.

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This is purely conjectural, since evidence on overall mortality rates is lacking. But it is clear that in some instances large numbers of deportees died. Thus Tomsk servitors wrote to Tsar Michael, in a petition dated several years after the fact: Sire, in the year , agricultural peasants were sent from Moscow to Tomsk to cultivate your Tsarist lands.

However, Sovereign, some of the peasants were killed by treacherous Kirghiz, and others died of other causes, so now there is no one to do the work of farming on your Sovereign lands. In , for instance, Ostiaki killed 60 peasants along the Ob. Even without the threat of native retaliation, surviving this harsh environment was exceedingly difficult. Such clustering led officials to redistribute peasants already living in Siberia. Perevedentsy were by definition state peasants or guliashchie already living in Siberia prior to removal. Other small-scale transfers followed. These later transfers were quite large.

Golovin to transfer all peasants in his uezd — a total of households and 1, persons a figure which probably refers to adult males only — for resettlement near Irkutsk and Eniseisk.

Exile to Siberia, 1590-1822: Corporeal Commodification and Administrative Systematization in Russia

The following year Golovin accordingly prepared what must have been an enormous flotilla of flat-boats to convey perevedentsy along the complex riverine network. Another large operation occurred in when Moscow ordered Irkutsk voevoda N. Large transfers of perevedentsy continued until the late eighteenth century. During the Muscovite era the primary function of both groups of deportees was to serve as food producers for cossacks and servitors busy subduing natives and collecting iasak. In tune with mercantilist economics, these peasants fulfilled a secondary role that supported acquisition of real, tangible wealth in the form of furs.

This essentially bureaucratic approach to the use of human capital is therefore important as a precedent for the administrative exile introduced in the mid-eighteenth century. The meanings behind this word have been debated, with some writers are at pains to make clear Russians were not like slaves in the antebellum American South. Exiles were, after all, criminal offenders and other deviants, and so their welfare demanded less attention.

This particular punishment faded out during the seventeenth century. Civil and religious, as opposed to state, authorities tended to use vybitie.


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There is a record from of Kirillov Monastery near Lake Beloe using vybitie to punish offenders, though whether these were monks, parishioners or serfs is unclear. While Ivan was still a boy dynastic struggles raged within the Kremlin walls, and Prince Ivan Obolenskii managed to have his rival, Prince Mikhail Glinskii, exiled to the far north.

Nonetheless, it was Ivan who significantly expanded this practice, sending many to waste away on the coasts of the White Sea, the northern lakes of Onega and Beloe, and along the Northern Dvina and Mezen rivers. Other opponents were removed to such peripheral cities as Uglich, Galich and Iaroslavl in the north, Viatka, Nizhnii Novgorod and Perm in the east, and Kazan and Astrakhan in the south. Almost all these exiles were assigned to monasteries that had dungeons specially built to house them.

In the tsar exiled Father Artemii, who had been in charge of Trinity Monastery, to Solovetskii Monastery on charges of heresy.

Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822 Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822
Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822 Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822
Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822 Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822
Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822 Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822
Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822 Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822
Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822 Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822
Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822 Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822
Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822 Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822
Exile to Siberia, 1590–1822

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