“There is Nothing More Useful Than the Abolition of this Fruitless Punishment”: The Narrative of the Abolition of Exile to Siberia in N. M. Yadrintsev's Work of the 1870s
pdf (Русский)

Abstract views: 47
Galleys Downloads: 216


N.M. Yadrintsev
Russian Empire
Prison Policy

How to Cite

1. Golovinov A., Golovinova Y. “There is Nothing More Useful Than the Abolition of this Fruitless Punishment”: The Narrative of the Abolition of Exile to Siberia in N. M. Yadrintsev’s Work of the 1870s // Journal of Frontier Studies. 2023. № 2 (8). C. 97-113.


The aim of this study is to reconstruct and demonstrate the narrative of the Siberian exile as an unsustainable form of punishment, which was widely represented in the literary and journalistic works of N.M. Yadrintsev, the leader of the Siberian regional movement in the 1870s. The chronological framework used in this study is not coincidental, as it seeks to expand the understanding of the diverse legacy of the “worthy son of Siberia” by examining the topic of exile during the initial period of his career as an enlightener in the 1870s.

The study mainly employs published sources, with emphasis on N.M. Yadrintsev's works during the 1870s. Additionally, archival materials from N.M. Yadrintsev's collection in the Department of Manuscripts and Book Monuments of the Scientific Library of Tomsk State University are utilized. This set of sources highlights N.M. Yadrintsev's actual involvement in attempting to reform the penitentiary system in the Russian Empire.

The paper notes that N.M. Yadrintsev's journalism reflects the idea that exile, by combining almost all categories of crimes, became a panacea for all ills. Exile was also considered a crucial economic tool, replacing short-term and long-term prisons.

The authors conclude that N.M. Yadrintsev's ideological and journalistic legacy, as demonstrated in central and regional periodicals during the 1870s, succinctly showed that exile has no corrective value for criminals. Instead, it contributes to the criminalization of the region and leads to an increase in illegal activity. The state spends too many financial resources on the exile system, and its colonization influence is insignificant.

pdf (Русский)


Churkin, M. K. (2017). Siberian Colonial Discourse in N.M. Yadrintsev’s Feuilletons. Humanitarian Sciences in Siberia, 3, 122–125. https://doi.org/10.15372/HSS20170321 (In Russian).

Dameshek, L. M. (1981). N. M. Yadrintsev on the mutual influence of the Russian and indigenous peoples of Siberia. Problems of Socio-Economic and Political Development of the Countries of the East: Abstracts of the Regional Scientific Conference (Irkutsk, May 14–16, 1981), 20–22. (In Russian).

Department of Manuscripts and Book Monuments of the Scientific Library of Tomsk State University. (ODKP NB TSU). (b. d.). Archive of N. M. Yadrintsev. Fond 3. Inventory 1. Case 2. p. 1301. (In Russian).

Dolzhikov, V. A. (2018). N.M. Yadrintsev on the ethno-cultural interaction of the Old Believer peasants of the Russian Altai with the aboriginal population. Peoples and Religions of Eurasia, 15 (2), 52‑64. (In Russian).

Friesen, A. (2020). Colonizing Russia’s Promised Land: Orthodoxy and Community on the Siberian Steppe. University of Toronto Press.

Golovinov, A. V. (2022). “Provincial issue” in the political thought of Siberian democratic regionalism (oblastnichestvo). Vestnik (Herald) of the Moscow State Regional University, 3. https://doi.org/10.18384/2224-0209-2022-3-1126 (In Russian).

Ivanov, A. A. (2009). Leaders of the Oblast movement on the role of criminal exile in the development of Siberia. Proceedings of the Altai State University, 3(4), 56-62. (In Russian).

Ivanov, A. A., Kuras, S. L., & Kuras, T. L. (2021). Exiled jews in the political life of the Irkutsk province at the end of the XIX – beginning of the XX century. Tomsk State University Journal of History, 71, 162–169. https://doi.org/10.17223/19988613/71/23 (In Russian).

Ivanov, A. A., Kuras, S. L., & Kuras, T. L. (2022). Siberian Exile in Russian Historiography of 1990s – 2010s. Nauchnyi dialog, 11 (1), 395–413. https://doi.org/10.24224/2227-1295-2022-11-1-395-413 (In Russian).

Johnson, A. (2016). Envisioning Siberia: Siberian Regionalism through Evolution and Revolution [PhD Thesis, Georgia State University]. https://doi.org/10.57709/8859178

Kennan, J. (1894). In Memory of N. M. Yadrintsev. Oriental Review, 120, 2. (In Russian).

Kodan, S. V. (1982). Reform of the Siberian exile in the first half of the 19th century. In Historical and Legal Studies: Problems and Prospects (pp. 110–118). Moscow. (In Russian).

Kostyakova, Yu. (2019). Publication activities of N.M. Yadrintsev's work in exile: causes and results (on the letters to G.N. Potanin for 1872-1873). Tomsk State University Journal of History, 62, 45‑53. https://doi.org/10.17223/19988613/62/6 (In Russian).

Lopez, D. R. (2020). Understanding Siberia as a colony: Bureaucracy and civil society during the era of the Great Reforms [PhD Thesis]. University of Bristol.

Malinov, A. V. (2012). Philosophy and ideology of regionalism. Intersociety. (In Russian).

Milevsky, O. A. (2017). Political exile of 1860–1890s in Tobolsk North: Sociocultural aspect. Axiom. (In Russian).

Rainbow, D. (2013). Siberian Patriots: Participatory Autocracy and the Cohesion of the Russian Imperial State, 1858–1920 [PhD Thesis]. New York University.

Salnikova, E. S. (2011). Problems of Criminal Exile in Eastern Siberia in the late 19th century. 19th century. In the coverage of the periodical press. Historical, philosophical, political and legal sciences, culturology and art history. Problems of Theory and Practice, 5–2, 171–174.

Salomon, A. P. (1900). Exile to Siberia: Sketch of its history and present situation: for the Imperial Commission on Measures to Abolish Exile. St. Petersburg Prison Printing House. (In Russian).

Shilovsky, M. V. (2021). N. M. Yadrintsev's Publicistic Comprehension of the Prospects for the Development of Siberia in the 1870s – 1880s. Yadrintsev Readings: Materials of the All-Russian Scientific and Practical Conference, 101–104. (In Russian).

Uporov, I. V. (2004). Penitentiary policy of Russia in 18th – 20th centuries: Historical and legal analysis of development trends. Legal Center Press. (In Russian).

Vasilyeva, N. F. (2009). Siberian Separatism in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. And the Relations between the Siberian Regionalists and Political Exiles: The View of Soviet Historians. Proceedings of the Irkutsk State University. Series: Political Science. Religious Studies, 1, 176–180. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1870a). Historical sketches of Russian exile in connection with the development of crime. Delo, 10, 220–248. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1870b). Colonization significance of the Russian exile: (Hist. Essay). Case, 12, 1–34. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1871a). The corrective value of Russian exile: (Hist. Essay). Delo, 1, 193–213. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1871b). Conditions of progress in the field of punishment. Delo, 6, 124–148. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1872). The Russian community in prison and exile. Studies and observations on the life of prison, exile and vagrant communities. A comparison of the various systems of punishment in our country and in Western Europe. The basis of a new rational system of correction according to the conclusions of penitentiary science and the experience of the Russian prison community. n. p. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1874a). The result of the prison reform. Week, 21. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1874b). The Country of the Exiles: From Memoirs of a Siberian: Results of Prison Reforms. Reforms and what to replace exile with. Week, 35. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1874c). What did exile cost Siberia? Golos, 349. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1875a). On the eve of the reforms. Siberia, 3. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1875b). The situation of the exiles in Siberia. Herald of Europe, 11, 281–308. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (1890). Prison and exile. Oriental Review, 28, 1–3. (In Russian).

Yadrintsev, N. M. (2000). Siberia as a Colony: The Present Situation of Siberia. Its Needs and Needs. Its past and future (S. G. Parkhimovich, Ed.). Mandricks. (In Russian).

Zhilyakova, N. V. (2010). “Center or province?” a regionalist discussion in the Siberian press of the 1870s – 1880s. Vestnik NSU. Series: History, Philology, 9 (6), 13–19. (In Russian).

Zinoviev, V. P. (2012). Ideas of regionalism as an expression of Siberian identity in historical perspective. Russian Statehood: Historical Retrospects and Modernity: Proceedings of the All-Russian Scientific Conference for the 1150th Anniversary of Russian Statehood and the 70th Anniversary of Kemerovo Oblast, 120-123. (In Russian).

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.