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

In Russian and French Prisons

by P. Kropotkin


(Page 176.)


WITH the disorder which reigns in the statistics of Siberia it is very difficult, indeed, to estimate in how far the exiles contribute in increasing the population of Siberia. The following reliable figures published in 1886 by the official Tobolsk Gazette, and reproduced by the Vostochnoye Obozrenie (March 20th), are well worthy of notice. During the ten years 1875 to 1885, 38,577 men and 4285 women were transported to the Government of Tobolsk. They were followed by 23,721 free women and children, making thus a total of 66,583. During the same ten years 11,758 exiles died, and 10,094 ran away; 4735 were recommended and sent, or have been transferred on demand, to other parts of Siberia; 1854 were returned to Russia; and 28,670 only entered the regular ranks of peasants and town-buryers in Tobolsk; total, 57,111. The total population of exiles in Tobolsk consisted in 1875 of 35,100 males, and about one-third of that of women. The mortality of these is included in the above figure of 11,7O8 dead. But even if this deduction be made, it appears that at least 20,000, out of 66,583, have been transported to Tobolsk only to die there very soon after their arrival, or to run away. The population of the Government of Tobolsk in 1875 being 1,131,246, and its increase having been 187,626 in ten years, while the natural growth of population ought to be less than 100,000, it appears that the exiles have contributed to that increase by less than 45,000, while the remainder were free immigrants from Russia

As to the working power of this population it will be best seen from the fact that in 1875 only 10,798 exiles were householders. During ten years, 5588 were added to this number, but 3775 abandoned their houses, so that in 1885 only 12,611 exiles had permanent houses. Besides, out of 20,846 exiles belonging to the peasantry, 8525 were wanting in 1875; they had disappeared.

In 1881, the Governor of Tomsk reported that out of the 28,828 exiles settled in the province, only 3400 were carrying on agriculture; about two-thirds were without any means of subsistence, and were living from hand to mouth; while 9796 had run away.

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