Russia's Sakhalin Penal Colony, 1849–1917
Imperialism and Exile
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This book provides a comprehensive history of the genesis, existence, and demise of Imperial Russia’s largest penal colony, made famous by Chekhov in a book written following his visit there in 1890. Based on extensive original research in archival documents, published reports, and memoirs, the book is also a social history of the late imperial bureaucracy and of the subaltern society of criminals and exiles, an examination of the tsarist state’s failed efforts at reform, an exploration of Russian imperialism in East Asia and Russia’s acquisition of Sakhalin Island in the face of competition from Japan, and an anthropological and literary study of the Sakhalin landscape and its associated values and ideologies. The Sakhalin penal colony was one of the largest penal colonies in history. The book’s conclusion prompts important questions about contemporary prisons and their relationship to state and society.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. The Busse Expedition, 1853–54 2. Far East Expansion, Coal, and Convicts 3. Transgressing Borders 4. The Collapse of Katorga and the Free Colonists 5. Establishing the Sakhalin Penal Colony 6. Desperate Times and the "Sakhalin" Company 7. A Contested Landscape and the GTU 8. The Volunteer Fleet 9. The 1880s 10. Political Exiles 11. Chekhov’s Island (Part 1) 12. Chekhov’s Island (Part 2) 13. Sakhalin and the Trans-Siberian Railroad 14. The Satrapy 15. The Runaway Penal Colony 16. The Ministry of Justice Takes Over 17. A Demography of the Sakhalin Penal Colony 18. The Liapunov Administration 19. The Doctors’ Fight 20. Women, Children, and the Last Political Exiles 21. Sakhalin’s Prisons 22. The Penal Colony as International Cause Célèbre 23. Denouement Conclusion
Andrew Gentes is a professionally trained historian and independent scholar