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The convicts of main prison in Eastern Siberia

Nerchinsk state prison was a part of penitentiary system of the Russian Empire, the main place in Eastern Siberia for state convicts sentenced to hard labor. It was located on the territory of present Zabaikalsky krai.

The prison system in Eastern Siberia appeared in the beginning of the 18th century as a place of serving sentences for the most serious criminal offenses. The first lead-silver mines and Zerentuyskaya penitentiary began operating in 1739.

By the beginning of the 19th century, it was a system of prisons, mines, factories and other economic facilities managed by the Mining Department. The convicts were working in the mines, foundries, salt plants, construction sites.

The significance of Nerchinsk prison for the ruling system was great. During the 19th century more than one million people were exiled to this place. After the Revolution of 1905-1907 the number of political prisoners increased significantly. After the February Revolution of 1917, all political prisoners were released.

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