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and badly ventilated prison of Kiev was not but I cannot give you any reason to hope for of itself sufficient to torture his prisoners into a change at present. General Strelnikoff is acta confession of what he believed they knew ing under instructions and authority given him with regard to the revolutionary movement, by the Tsar in person, and he is therefore indedetermined to make their life still more intol- pendent, not only of Governor-General Drenerable, and to break down, if possible, their ob- teln, but of the Minister of the Interior himstinate resolution, by darkening their cells. self. This being the case, the authorities of the Upon the pretext that he wished to make it province cannot and dare not interfere.” impossible for them to talk with one another On the next day after the visit of the govthrough their windows, he caused a sheet-iron ernor to the prison, General Strelnikoff was ashood to be put over the window of every cell sassinated in Odessa. The hoods were immediin the prison occupied by a political offender. ately removed from the windows, amid great The hood was large enough to cover the en- excitement and rejoicing on the part of the tire window, and resembled in shape a shallow political prisoners, who were so much encourrectangular box with the cover and one end aged and emboldened, that they suggested to gone. It fitted the window closely on both the governor the use of the sheet-iron hoods as sides and at the top, but was open at the bot- material for a monument to their inventor. tom. The result of putting these shields over I have space only for a brief reference to the windows was to deprive the prisoners al- the many other methods of extorting testimony most entirely of light and air, and to turn every from arrested persons which are practiced by cell into a sort of cave or oubliette. The light the gendarmes and the officers of the Departwhich came in through the opening at the ment of Justice. One of the most cruel of them, bottom of the hood was only sufficient to en- it seems to me, is the custom of terrifying old able the prisoner to distinguish between night and feeble parents into the belief that their sons and day. The artisan who put up the hoods or daughters will inevitably be hanged unless told General Strelnikoff that they would not they confess, and then sending the poor old answer the purpose for which they were de- people, trembling with terror and blinded with signed,- that it would be as easy to talk from tears, to make an agonized appeal to their imwindow to window as it had been before, – prisoned children in their cells. The officials but he was sharply informed that that was know very well that the children will not be none of his business. Of course the life of the hanged — that it is extremely doubtful whether prisoners under such conditions became almost they will even be brought to trial. They are intolerable. Young, nervous, and impressible kept in prison simply because the Procureur girls walked their cells from corner to corner hopes ultimately to obtain information from in the gloomy twilight until they became nearly them. If the torture of solitary confinement insane. Even the prison officials expressed to can be intensified by adding to it the entreatthe sufferers their sympathy and pity. At last ies of half frantic parents, so much the better. the political prisoners addressed a petition to A little fright will benefit the old people and Governor-General Drenteln asking him to send teach them to look after their children more an officer to see how they were situated, and, closely, and the children's obstinate determiif possible, to intercede for them. In response nation not to betray their friends will perhaps to this petition the governor of the province be broken down by a sight of the grief and of Kiev, acting under orders from General misery of their parents. It is a plan which, to Drenteln, made a visit to the prison, entered the official mind, works beneficently both ways. the cell of a young student named X-, The mother of a young student named whom I afterward met in Siberia, and said to Zhebunoff in Kiev, a lady sixty-five years of him, “What do you understand to be the ob- age, was so terrified by a vivid description ject of these hoods ?” Mr. X- replied from General Strelnikoff of the way in which that they had been put up by order of Gen- her son, if he did not confess, would “ dangle eral Strelnikoff to prevent oral communication and kick in the air, his neck in a noose,” that between the prisoners. “Do they have the de- she fainted on the floor of the Procureur's ofsired effect?” inquired the governor. “No," fice. Yet Strelnikoff knew very well that there replied the young student. “I can show you, was not evidence enough in his possession even if you wish, that it is as easy to talk from win- to bring Zhebunoff to trial — much less to hang dow to window now as it was before.” “Show him. As a matter of fact the young student me, please,” said the governor. Mr. X- never was tried, but was sent to Siberia by went to the window and called to a prisoner “administrative process.” in the cell below. His comrade answered, and The aged mother of an exile whom I met they carried on a conversation until the gov- in the Trans-Baikal was made to believe that ernor expressed himself as satisfied. “I appre- her son would certainly be hanged unless he ciate,” he said to Mr. X—,"your situation, told all that he knew, and then, upon condition that she should try to persuade him to will be taken to his cell. Disappointed and confess, she was allowed to go to his cell. A embittered, the young man goes back to soliterrible scene followed, in which the white- tary confinement with a new cause for hatred haired mother, frenzied with fear and choking and an intensified thirst for vengeance, while with sobs, knelt to her son, clung about his the heart-broken mother, whose misery has legs, and tried to press her tear-wet face to only been increased by this brief glimpse of his feet, as she implored him, by his love for her son under guard and in prison dress, reher — by her gray hairs — to promise that he turns to her distant village home. would answer the questions of the gendarmes. In another case which came to my knowlThe strain of such a scene upon the emotions edge in Siberia, the prisoner was a young marand the resolution of a prisoner who is weak- ried woman with a baby in her arms. She ened and depressed by months of solitary con- refused to answer questions intended to elicit finement, who loves and reverences his mother, criminating evidence against her friends, and and who sees her for the first time since his the gendarme officer who was conducting the arrest, and perhaps for the last time before he examination threatened, if she continued obgoes to Siberia, is simply heart-breaking. The stinate, to take her child from her. She made mother finally departs in despair, bidding her a pathetic appeal to the Procureur, and asked son good-bye as she would bid good-bye to him whether there was any law under which the dying, while the son lays up the memories the gendarme officer could deprive her of her of this bitter hour—the cruel deception of his child if she refused to testify. The Procureur, mother, the torture of himself, and the attempt instead of giving her a direct answer, told her to make the most sacred of human feelings that “ the prudent course for her to pursue serve the purposes of the police — as memories would be not to raise a question as to the lewhich will steady his nerves and steel his heart gal authority of the examining officer, but to when the time comes for vengeance.
tell him truthfully all she knew; then it was This playing upon the deepest and most in- certain that he could not take her child from tense of human emotions as a means of extort- her.” In the face of a threat so terrifying to a ing information from unwilling witnesses is young mother,—she was not more than twentypracticed more or less in all Russian prisons two years of age when I made her acquaintance where political offenders are confined. The de- in Siberia,- she adhered to her determination tails are of course varied according to the cir- not to betray her friends. Her babe was finally cumstances of the case or the ingenuity of the left in her possession, but she suffered weeks inquisitor. One prisoner, for example, after of torturing apprehension, the mere rememmonths of solitary confinement, is promised an brance of which bathed her face with tears interview with his mother. Filled with glad an- as she told me the story. ticipations, he follows the guard out through I have devoted much space to these illusthe long, gloomy corridor into the prison trations of the use of prison confinement as court-yard, where the mother is sitting on a a means of torturing political prisoners into rude prison bench forty or fifty feet from the making confession, partly because my notedoor through which he emerges. At the sight of books are full of records of such cases which were the well-remembered, loving face, changed and everywhere forced upon my attention in Russia, aged by grief since he saw it last, his heart over- and partly because it seems to me to explain, flows with pity and tenderness, and he rushes more clearly than any other fact or set of facts, toward her with the intention of taking her in the state of mind in which so-called “terrorhis arms. He is at once stopped by the guard, istic” activity originates. Whatever view one who tells him that the interview is not to take may take of the events in their moral aspect, one place here, but in the reception-room of the can see that such causes might be adequate to prison, to which he is thereupon conducted. produce such results without the ascription to He waits impatiently ten minutes — fifteen the Russian revolutionists either of homicidal minutes — half an hour — and at last the door insanity or inhuman ferocity. opens. As he springs toward it he is met, not It may be supposed that officials who are by his mother, but by the Procureur, who asks capable of treating prisoners in this way must him whether, after this further period of reflec- be constitutionally cruel, cold-blooded, and tion, he has changed his mind with regard to heartless; but such a supposition would be, in answering questions. He replies that he was many cases, perhaps in a majority of cases, brought there, as he supposed, to see his an erroneous one. Many of the officials are mother, not for examination. The Procureur, naturally no worse than other men, but they however, informs him that interviews with rela- have been trained under a system which is tives are privileges not granted to obstinate intolerant of opposition, and especially of that and refractory prisoners, and that if he has form of opposition which in Russia is called nothing to add to his previous statements he insubordination; they have been accustomed to regard themselves rather as the rulers than as to the court of which he was a member. “ If," the servants of the people; they have not felt he added, “ you punish in that way, you will personally the full weight of the yoke of oppres- soon put a stop to political agitation.” When sion; they have been irritated and embittered one considers the fact that such a method as by a long contest with fearless and impetuous this of dealing with politicals was actually sugmen whose motives and characters they mis- gested and advocated by a judge in his official understand, and whom they regard as unrea- capacity, and that he seemed utterly unconsonable fanatics and treacherous assassins; scious of the cruelty and barbarity of the proand, finally, their fortunes and prospects of posed measure, one has little difficulty in advancement depend upon the success with understanding how gendarme officers and prowhich they carry on this contest.
cureurs regard such comparatively trifling I met in the town of Chita, in eastern Si- things as the arrest of the innocent with the beria, a Russian army officer – Colonel Nov- guilty, the frightening of parents, and the deikoff — who had been the commander of the ception of obstinate and refractory prisoners Cossack battalion which served as prison guard who refuse to testify. at the mines of Kara, and who in 1880 sat as one But these are by no means all of the factors of the judges in the court martial which tried which must be taken into consideration in an Madame Rossikova, Miss Anna Alexeieva, attempt to explain the so-called policy of “terand other politicals at Odessa. He was a man ror.” Another cause for the white-heat intensity about forty-five years of age; was devotedly of feeling which prompts violent retaliation is attached to his family; seemed to have broad the illegal detention of political suspects in and humane views with regard to the treat- solitary confinement for months and years ment of common criminals, and did not ap- while the police scour the empire in search of pear to be naturally a cruel or vindictive evidence upon which to base indictments. In man. Yet this personally amiable, courteous, the trial of the regicides at St. Petersburg in intelligent army officer, speaking to me of the 1881, Mr. Gerard, one of the ablest advocates political offenders in whose trial he had par- at the Russian bar, and one of the boldest of ticipated as judge, said: "If I had my way, I the counsel for the prisoners, attempted to would give them all the shpitzruten.” The bring this cause to the attention of the court “shpitzruten," it must be explained, is a pe- by referring to the well-known fact that out of culiarly cruel form of “ running the gauntlet” more than a thousand persons arrested for alwhich was formerly much used in Siberia as a leged participation in the so-called “revoludisciplinary punishment for the worst class of tionary propaganda” of 1872-75-out of more convicts. The prisoner, stripped to the waist, than a thousand persons held in solitary conwas forced to walk slowly between two lines finement for periods ranging from one to four of soldiers armed with rods “not too large to years — only one hundred and ninety-three had go into a musket barrel,” and, as he passed, ever been brought to trial, and even of that received one blow on the bare back from every number ninety had been acquitted by a court soldier. The number of blows inflicted was of judges of the Government's own selection.t from two thousand to five thousand, two In other words, more than nine hundred thousand being the lowest number mentioned persons whose innocence was finally admitted in the law.* The sufferer, unless he was an by the Department of Justice had been subexceptionally strong and vigorous man, usually jected to from one to four years of solitary fainted before he had received the prescribed confinement, in the course of which eighty of number of blows, and was carried directly from them, or nearly ten per cent., had died, comthe place of punishment to the hospital. This mitted suicide, or become insane. I Before Mr. was the punishment which Colonel Novikoff Gerard had finished making this statement he said he would inflict upon political offenders, was stopped by the Court, and directed to conand which he had suggested and recommended fine himself to the facts of the case on trial. §
* Exile Statutes ; Laws of the Russian Empire, Vol. promptly ordered to stop, and when he refused to XIV., Part II., Section 799.
do so, he was throttled by three or four gendarmes and +Official certified copy of the sentence of the Court dragged out of the court-room. For his obstinacy, and in the trial of the 193, signed by Chief Secretary Lu- for insulting references to the Court, which were retofski, and dated February 15th, 1878. It is in my pos. garded as an aggravation of his original offense, his session, as is also the" Accusatory Act,” or indictment, sentence was made ten years of penal servitude, with in the same case, a document of about 350 folio pages, deprivation of all civil rights. [Sentence of the Court authenticated by the signature of V. Zhelekhofski, in the trial of the 193 above cited, p. 13.) In a sub" Associate Chief-Procureur of the Department of sequent paper I shall give an account of the life of Criminal Appeals of the Governing Senate.”
Muishkin, who was one of the most remarkable charThe bold and impetuous revolutionist Muishkin, acters that the Russian revolutionary movement has yet who was one of the accused in this case, made a deter- produced. mined attempt to state these facts to the Court in a Official Stenographic Report of the Trial of the speech which he made in his own defense. He was Regicides at St. Petersburg in 1881, pp. 213-219.
I could, if necessary, - and without going not begin until the 18th of October, 1877,8 so outside the limits of official documents in my that most of the propagandists,” including possession,— fill many pages of THE CENTURY ninety persons admitted by the Court to be with the names of young men and women who innocent, were held in solitary confinement were severally subjected to from one to four without trial from the autumn of 1874 to Ocyears of solitary confinement, and who were fi- tober 18th, 1877, a period of three years. A nally acquitted by a court, or discharged with large number of the accused were imprisoned out trial, because the police, notwithstanding in the gloomy casemates of the Petropavlovski their unlimited power to arrest, imprison, and fortress, and, according to the indictment, forty examine, had not been able to find so much ev- of them were there when the trial began. To idence against them as would legally have say, as the Government does, that it held ninety justified their detention over night. I shall innocent persons in prison for three years, and describe in another place the nature of the more than eight hundred other innocent persolitary confinement to which these innocent sons for shorter periods of one or two years, bepersons were subjected. I desire at present cause it could not try them separately and was merely to call attention to the duration of their unable in a shorter time to review the evidence imprisonment, and to the fact that they were against the whole thousand, does not seem to finally pronounced innocent by the Govern- be a sufficient answer to a charge of injustice ment itself. The above statements are made, and cruelty based on more than eight hundred it will be observed, not upon the ex-parte testi- wrecked lives and eighty cases of death, suimony of the sufferers, but upon the unimpeach- cide, and insanity in prison. able authority of official documents.
The case of the propagandists” was of The question naturally arises, “What was course an exceptional one. I do not know any the reason for the long delay in bringing these other instance in which so many prisoners were thousand or more prisoners to trial ? " The held so long without trial, and in which the reply of the Government is that the accused number of persons accused was so overwhelmwere engaged in a revolutionary conspiracy ingly out of proportion to the number actually which had very extensive ramifications in all found to be guilty. Judicial procedure in Russia, parts of the empire; that they were linked to- however, is always and everywhere slow, and gether in such a way as to render it practically the long interval of solitary confinement beimpossible to try them separately, and that the tween arrest and trial causes great suffering to prosecuting officers of the Crown could not do the prisoners, and creates a feeling of intense justice to the Government's case until all the exasperation in the hearts of those who are proofs against all the prisoners had been col- finally declared to be innocent. As one of the lected, compared, and digested.* The persons 193 who was acquitted by the Court said to me accused in the case, however, deny the truth bitterly,“ They punish us first with three years of these statements, severally and collectively. of solitary confinement, and then try us to see They say that they were not, as a body, en- whether we ought to have been punished.” gaged in a revolutionary conspiracy; that their The course of procedure in the case of a actions at that time were not criminal ; that person accused of a political offense is, under more than three-fourths of them were unknown average and normal conditions, about as folto one another, and had never had any rela- lows: He is arrested without the least warntions with one another; that their cases, there- ing, generally at night, and thrown into prison. fore, were easily separable, and that, as a matter After a week or two of solitary confinement, of fact, the Government did separate into eigh- he is subjected to a preliminary examination teen distinct groups the 193 who were finally before an officer of gendarmes. In order that tried.
he may not prepare himself for this examinaWithout expressing any opinion as to the tion, he is not, as a rule, informed of the nature merits of the prisoners' contention, it seems to of the charge made against him. The theory me, and will doubtless seem to most unpreju- of the gendarmes is that if the prisoner knows diced persons, that the reply of the Govern- specifically of what he is accused, he can form ment, regarded as a defense, is insufficient, at least a conjecture as to the direction and even if it be true. The preface to the indict- scope of the impending inquiry, and can prement in this case says: “ By the autumn of pare himself to baffle it. If, however, he is ig1874 most of the propagandists had been im- norant of the charge upon which he is held, prisoned, although a few succeeded in eluding if he does not even know whether he is underarrest and continued their criminal activity going examination as a principal or as a witness, until the beginning of 1875.”† The trial did – he is not so quick to see the drift of ques* Sentence of the 193, certified copy, p. 15.
V Appendix to the Indictment in the trial of the 193, + Indictment in the trial of the 193, p. 8.
PP. 1-3. Sentence in the same trial, p. 1.
tions; he is not so likely to be ready with a “SECTION 245. All persons found guilty of composing prepared story, and he is more apt to be sur
and circulating written or printed documents, books,
or representations, calculated to create disrespect for prised into incautious admissions. The gen: the Supreme Authority, or for the personal character of darmes justify this course by saying that “if the GOSSU DAR [the Tsar], or for the Government the prisoner is innocent, it cannot injure him; of his Empire, shall be condemned, as insulters of and if he is guilty, he is not entitled to any in- MAJESTY, to deprivation of all civil rights and to from formation which would make it easier for him ment carries with it exile in Siberia for what remains
ten to twelve years of penal servitude. [This punishto mislead the investigators and defeat the of life after the expiration of the hard labor sentence.] ends of justice. The object of the inquiry is, “SECTION 249. All persons who shall engage in rebelfor the present at least, none of his business. lion against the Supreme Authority, that is, who shall All that he has to do is to answer questions against the GOSSUDAR and the Empire ; and also all
take part in collective and conspirative insurrection truthfully.” Of course, a prisoner who is thus persons who shall plan the overthrow of the Governkept in the dark defends himself and his ment in the Empire as a whole, or in any part thereof; or friends at a terrible disadvantage. If he an
who shall intend to change the existing form of governswers the questions put to him, he does so lished by law; all persons who for the attainment of
ment, or the order of succession to the throne estabwithout knowledge of their purpose or bearing; these ends shall organize or take part in a conspiracy, and if he refuses to answer, he prolongs his either actively and with knowledge of its object, or by prison confinement, perhaps unnecessarily, and participation in a conspirative meeting, or by storing gives the gendarmes an excuse for putting into insurrection; all such persons, including not only those operation against him some of the methods of most guilty, but their associates, instigators, prompters, extorting testimony which I have described. helpers, and concealers, shall
be deprived of all civil Most prisoners take a middle course by rights, and be put to death. Those who have knowlanswering some questions and refusing to an edge of such evil intentions and of preparations to
carry them into execution, and who, having power to swer others. The examination ends when the inform the Government thereof, do not fulfill that duty, gendarme officer is satisfied that he cannot shall be subjected to the same punishment. elicit anything more. The prisoner is then re- “ SECTION 250. If the guilty persons have not mani. manded to his cell, and another week elapses, ganized a society or association, intended to attain, at a
fested an intention to resort to violence, but have orin the course of which the gendarmes take the more or less remote time in the future, the objects set testimony of his acquaintances and friends, of forth in section 249, or have joined such an association, the police, who perhaps have had him under they shall be sentenced, according to the degree of their secret surveillance for weeks, and of all other servitude with deprivation of all civil rights (including
criminality, either to from four to six years of penal persons who know anything about him. This exile to Siberia for life]. .. or to colonization in mass of testimony is then submitted to the Pro- Siberia (without penal servitude), or to imprisonment in cureur, with a report and such comments as
a fortress from one year and four months to four years. the examining officer may think necessary. These sections, it will be observed, are tolThe Procureur makes a careful study of all the erably comprehensive. They not only include evidence, compares the testimony of the ac- all attempts to overthrow the government vi cused with the statements of the witnesses in et armis ; they not only cover all action “ calthe light of the comments and suggestions of culated to create disrespect for MAJESTY”; the gendarmes, and frames a new series of ques- but they provide for the punishment of the tions to be put to the prisoner at the “dop- mere intention to bring about a change of adros," a more formal examination intended to ministration at a remote time in the future by complete the case for submission to the Min- means of peaceable discussion and the eduistry of Justice.
cation of the people. Even this is not all. Úp to this time, it will be observed, the ac- A man may be perfectly loyal; he may never cused has not been informed of the nature of have given expression to a single thought calthe charge made against him; he does not culated to create disrespect for the Gossuknow certainly whether he is held as a crimi- dar or the Gossudar's government, and yet, nal or as a witness; he has heard none of the if he comes accidentally to know that his testimony upon which the questions in the sister, or his brother, or his friend belongs to “ dopros" are to be based; he is without coun- a society which contemplates a“ change in the sel, and he is ignorant of all that has happened existing form of government,” and if he does in the outside world since his arrest. It would not go voluntarily to the Chief of Gendarmes be hard to imagine a more completely defense- and betray that brother, sister, or friend, the less situation.
law is adequate to send him to Siberia for life. The Procureur begins the "dopros" by in- When the prisoner, at the beginning of the forming the prisoner that he is accused of the “dopros," is informed that he is accused of crimes set forth and described in such and such “the crimes set forth and described in sections sections of the Penal Code. Most political
* Russian Penal Code, Tagantseff's edition, pp. 172prosecutions are based upon sections 245, 249, 174. St. Petersburg: 1886. The words in brackets and 250, which are as follows:
are my own.-G. K.