History 02/03/20 “Russian Alcatraz”: who put on the “Solovki”

Solovetsky special purpose camp (SLON) – the first labor camp in the USSR. Over 10 years of existence through it passed tens of thousands of people. In 1933, he was officially abolished, however, until 1939, on site continued to operate the establishment with the acronym STON – Solovki special prison.

the Prison on Solovki

the Dungeons of these places existed in tsarist times. At the Solovetsky monastery from the XVI century was a prison for special prisoners.

So, on Solovki was exiled Khan of Kasimov, Simeon Bekbulatovich, a former formal head of state in the reign of Ivan the terrible. Also there was serving a sentence the author tells about the events of the time of Troubles “Tales” Abraham (the Palitsyn), great-uncle of Alexander Pushkin, Paul Hannibal and other famous personalities.

Monastic prison ceased to exist in 1883. But exactly 40 years these places were first forced labor camp of the USSR – the notorious Solovki camp of special purpose, or, as it was often called the ELEPHANT. The first batch of prisoners – criminals from the Archangel prison arrived there in 1923.

After the camp

In 1933 the camp were almost 20 thousand prisoners. After the dissolution most of them were transferred to other places. On the Solovki, there are about a thousand prisoners. The camp in 1937 was converted into a prison (STON).

In the area of the former monastery plant, between Biesalski and Norman lakes in 1938-39 was built a new, three-storey building of the correctional institution. In addition, since the Bishop on Solovki acted the male and female penal insulators. The first was located on the Sekirnaya mountain, and the second SATCOM on the Big island.

Despite the name change, the remaining life of the prison inmates differed little from the camp times. All the same “occupational therapy”, often beaten by representatives of the administration and generally heavy, full of hardship exist.

basically, the prison population was divided into two categories: counter-revolutionaries and “punks” (criminals). In her time on the Islands also included political prisoners (socialist revolutionaries, Mensheviks, etc.). However, after they staged a two-week hunger strike in June 1925, the CPC decided to remove them from the Solovki.


the counter-revolutionaries, or “query” (the abbreviation of CU’s anti – revolutionary) were mostly sentenced under article 58 of the Criminal code (treason, espionage, undermining industry, etc.).

Among the prisoners were many former tsarist officers, representatives of the bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, and members of non-socialist social movements and parties. Under this category fall the peasants who resisted collectivization, as well as workers and engineers in industries that allegedly deliberately engaged in sabotage.

To this category in stone did not extend Amnesty and escape attempts were stopped by shot on the spot. In the case of talks about the escape of a prisoner punished by a stay in a punishment cell.


In stone with the “fifty-eighth” contained and common criminals. In contrast to the “kairov”, they had the right to Amnesty. Also in this category there were beggars, women with low social responsibility, as well as juvenile offenders who were sent to Solovki from Moscow and Leningrad.

it is Worth noting that former prostitutes often became mistresses prison officials. Women lived in separate housing, in more tolerable conditions, and were fed better.

From prison to a military unit

Solovetsky special prison worked for two years – from 1937 to 1939. Built three-storey building never been used. The prisoners were sent to other places, and the building and the facility was transferred to military. The camera was converted into a barracks.

After the Soviet-Finnish war, in the buildings of the former prison is a Training detachment of the Northern fleet. Later this territory was given to the military warehouses.

© Russian Seven

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