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.
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