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



The ill-treatment of those who have been condemned to death--down to the very moment of the execution--and the terrible physical sufferings inflicted in the most barbarous way in the morning hours which precede the execution, and during the execution itself, have created quite epidemic of suicides in the prisons of Russia.

As a part of the above-mentioned inquiry, I have now before me a list of those suicides in the prisons which have found their way to the daily Press in Russia. This list extends from January, 1906, to November 1, 1908, and contains 160 cases, out of which 30 took place in 1906, 70 in 1907, and 60 during the first ten months of 1908.

Here are some abstracts from that terrible list. They contain a few cases for 1906, and the whole list for 1908:--

In 1906

1. In a political prison in Moscow, John Fedouloff, 23 years old, hanged himself.

2. In a political prison in St. Petersburg, a medical woman-student, M., shot herself.

3, 4. In Uman, in consequence of police outrages, there is a regular epidemic of suicides and cases of madness: a wine merchant, Gervitz hanged himself ; a man named Toulchiner was saved just time from the rope; two others went mad.

5. In Odessa, a political prisoner, Leibovitch, poured kerosene on his bed, set it on fire, threw himself on the bed, and thus ended his life.

6. In Moscow, K. Schvetz hanged himself when under arrest.

7. In Orel, a peasant, E. Soboskin, being in solitary confinement, hanged himself.

8. In St. Petersburg, in the Cross prison, in a punishment cell a sailor, Arnold, hanged himself.

9. In Elisavetgrad, Larionoff, condemned to death, waited for the execution three months, went mad and hanged himself, but was saved, after which he was condemned to hard labour.

10. In the Vasilkov prison an unknown deserter poisoned himself by means of carbolic acid.

11. In Toula, Starostin, being arrested, soaked his clothes in kerosene and set himself on fire.


101. At the Simferopol prison the political prisoner Stalberg poured kerosene over his bed-clothes and set fire to them, but was rescued.

102. At Odessa, Komatch, the son of a chemist, poisoned himself in prison.

103-4. At Warsaw, two members of a band of robbers hanged themselves in prison.

105. At Omsk, a peasant sentenced to death seized the revolver of a policeman and wanted to kill him, but at the approach of a patrol of soldiers shot himself.

106. At Yalta, the political prisoner Nikolay Timoshin burned himself to death in prison by drenching himself with kerosene.

107. At the Kieff prison the political prisoner Gostilin, sentenced to death with the other revolutionary socialists of Kursk, poisoned himself.

108. At Petersburg, at the Roshdestvensky police-station, an unknown man, arrested for robbery, hanged himself.

109. In the Tchita prison, Krivtsoff, sentenced to penal servitude, cut his throat.

110. At the Nizhni-Novgorod prison, Ustinoff, an artisan, sentenced to death for the murder of a policeman, poisoned himself, not wishing to fall into the hands of the executioner.

111. At Tchita, a woman named Kozhevin, sentenced to death for murder, poisoned herself before the execution.

112. At Riga, Neruoff committed suicide on the eve of the day appointed for his execution.

113. At St. Petersburg, a peasant woman named Kryloff, aged 32, poisoned herself while being conveyed by a policeman to prison, where she was to undergo a term of confinement in accordance with a legal verdict.

114. At St. Petersburg, in the Viborg Solitary Confinement prison, a political prisoner, the journalist, I. P. Remezoff, attempted to burn himself, but was rescued.

115. At Kieff, Fodosenko, sentenced to death, poisoned himself.

116. At the Tsaritsin police-station the unemployed Masloutoff, aged 18, arrested for posting up proclamations of the Social Democratic Party, burnt himself with kerosene.

117. In a cell of the Kharkov prison, Tcherukovsky soaked his clothes with kerosene and burnt himself to death.

118. In a prison hospital at St. Petersburg, the prisoner Kuptsoff, aged 34, hanged himself.

119. At Odessa, an old merchant arrested for murder hanged himself.

120. Kuznetsoff, a political prisoner, hanged himself in a St. Petersburg prison.

121. Domushkin hanged himself at the Yalta police-station.

122. At the Odessa prison, a political prisoner, Helen Smirnoff, poured kerosene over her clothes and her bed, and set fire to them.

123. At the Sevastpool prison, the political prisoner Gulbinsky hanged himself.

124. In the solitary cell of a St. Petersburg prison, a political prisoner named Bernstein hanged himself, but was rescued.

125. At the police-station of the Narva district at St. Petersburg a prisoner named Pybin broke his head against the wall. During his subsequent stay at the hospital he inflicted upon himself a wound with a knife.

126. At a prison at Odessa, V. Orloff, who was arrested for theft, burned himself with kerosene.

127-8. At the Kazan Government prison, two prisoners, whose cases were being investigated, poisoned themselves.

129. A convict threw himself from a boat into the water at Nizhni-Novgorod and was drowned.

130. At Odessa, V. P. Ostroúhoff, who had twice been sentenced to death for the murder of a spy and for robbery, on being placed in a solitary cell to await his execution, took poison and died.

131. At Kieff, the criminal Yushkoff, who had fulfilled the duties of an executioner and who was kept in a separate cell, set fire to it. It is supposed that he was insane; Yushkoff had been wounded by the prisoners for undertaking the duties of executioner.

132. The peasant Safronoff, sentenced at St. Petersburg to two years' imprisonment, breaking loose from the guard conveying him, threw himself into a lake and was drowned.

133. In the Saratov prison, Stepanoff, sentenced to death, hanged himself on a strap.

134. Another man in the same prison likewise tried to hang himself but was rescued.

135. In Kurilovo-Pokrovskoye (district of Odessa), Kuhadze, accused of stealing horses, hanged himself in prison.

136. In the garden of the prison hospital at Simbirsk, Liakhoff, sentenced to penal servitude for murder, hanged himself. In a letter he says: "Though innocent, I suffer because of false witnesses."

137. At the Simferopol prison, Kokovtseff, soaking his clothes in kerosene, burned himself.

138. In the Simferopol prison, Odonoff, sentenced to death for a prison mutiny, cut his throat.

139. In the Saratov prison, Popoff, on hearing of the confirmation of his death sentence, burned himself with the aid of kerosene. He was accused of an armed attack on a house.

140. In the Yamskaya prison at Moscow, Hokhriakoff hanged himself, but was rescued.

141. Nazaransky, a police officer of the Spassky district of St. Petersburg, being arrested for robbing a drunken man, hanged himself.

142-3. Two men condemned to death, Sounnev and Sareov, committed suicide at Riga.

144. At the Kolomensky police-station at St. Petersburg, a workman, Pocheykin, who was arrested for theft, hanged himself.

145. At Simferopol, Kravchenko, condemned to death, wounded another condemned man, Zavortrinsky, and then cut his own throat.

146. At the Riga prison, Berzin, head of a revolutionary group, committed suicide.

147. At a police-station at Odessa, the robber Freidenberg attempted to wound himself fatally with a piece of iron.

148. In the Kishineff prison, a prisoner named Sibov, 23 years old, condemned to penal servitude in Siberia, poisoned himself.

149. In Berdicheff, the agent of the Russian company for delivery of goods was arrested for a theft ; in prison he threw himself into the sanitary well.

150. In Odessa, in the common cell for women prisoners, T. Savitzkaia cut her throat and stomach with a piece of glass. She was imprisoned by the orders of the Secret Police.

150-151. In the Tomsk prison, Hondiakoff and Kouznetsoff poisoned themselves. They were suspected of having killed a government money collector of the government wine-shops.

152. In the Petrovsk prison, a prisoner, Agafonoff, condemned to hard labour, hanged himself, but was saved.

153. In St. Petersburg, an imprisoned soldier, Iliin, jumped out of the window.

154. In St. Petersburg, a young peasant, Reichstin, arrested as a criminal, broke his head on a wall.

155. In the province of Kieff, in the Loukoyanoff prison, a former village school teacher, Prisiajnina, condemned to death, poisoned herself.

156-158. In Kieff, in the same prison, on three successive days three men poisoned themselves--Kravchenko and Sinuchenko, who were condemned to death, and Captain Lipovskii, who was condemned to exile for taking part in the Union of Officers. The last died, but the other two were executed.

159. In Odessa, in solitary confinement, Novikoff set fire to him self by means of kerosene.

160. In Tomsk, in the solitary confinement cell of the reformatory prison, Volkoff burned himself to death with kerosene.

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