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This text was taken from In Russian and French Prisons, London: Ward and Downey; 1887.

In Russian and French Prisons

by P. Kropotkin


CHAPTER IV

OUTCAST RUSSIA

The Journey to Siberia1

SIBERIA-the land of exile-has always appeared in the conceptions of the Europeans as a land of horrors, as a land of the chains and knoot where convicts are flogged to death by cruel officials, or killed by overwork in mines; as a land of unutterable sufferings of the masses and of horrible prosecutions of the foes of the Russian Government. Surely nobody, Russian or foreigner, has crossed the Ural Mountains and stopped on their water-divide, at the border-pillar that bears the inscription " Europe " on one side, and " Asia " on the other, without shuddering at the idea that he is entering the land of woes. Ma...

Berkman, Alexander (1912) Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist, Mother Earth Press.

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PERSECTION

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SUFFERING AND EVER-PRESENT danger are quick teachers. In the three months of penitentiary life I have learned many things. I doubt whether the vague terrors pictured by my inexperience were more dreadful than the actuality of prison existence.
      In one respect, especially, the reality is a source of bitterness and constant irritation. Notwithstanding all its terrors, perhaps because of them, I had always thought of prison as a place where, in a measure, nature comes into its own: social distinctions are abolished, artificial barriers destroyed; no need of hiding one's thoughts and emotions; one could be his real self, shedding all hypocrisy and artifice at the prison gates. But how different is this life! It is full of deceit, sham, and pharisaism-an aggravated counterpart of the outside world. The flat...

Kropotkin, Peter. The Terror in Russia. London: Methuen & Co., 1909. 4th Ed.


PART I

CHAPTER I

THE PRISONS

A.--Overcrowding and Typhus

Numbers of Prisoners. Overcrowding.--From an official document communicated to the State Council on March 15, 1909, by the administration of the prisons, it appears that on February 1, 1909, there were in the lock-ups of the Empire 181,137 inmates. This figure, however, does not include those prisoners who are in transportation, and the numbers of whom are estimated officially at about 30,000. Nor does it include an immense number of persons detained at the police lock-ups, both in the towns and in the villages. No approximate idea as to the number of this last category can be obtained, but it has been suggested in the Russian Press that it may be anything between 50,000 and 100,000. The worst is that it is especially in the Police lock-ups that...

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