Irkutsk is one of the few "historic" cities of Siberia. It is closely linked to stories of exile. Exile to Siberia began in the 18th century and reached its peak in the 19th century



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Irkutsk
Irkutsk is one of the few "historic" cities of Siberia. It is closely linked to stories of exile. Exile to Siberia began in the 18th century and reached its peak in the 19th century. Contrary to popular belief, it was not a "Soviet" invention, although the USSR did expand on an existing prison-camp system (GULag). Exiles were first sentenced to hard labor, but there was the added condition that even after the sentence was served, the released prisoner was to remain in Siberia and not allowed to return to Moscow.

The Decembrists were the most famous, and romantic, of the Siberian exiles. They were not anarchist revolutionaries, but Officer Corps which had saved Russia from Napoleon in 1812, and were in dispair about the disastrous condition of the country under the incompetent Nicholas I. In December 1825, they launched their abortive coup--but failed. Five ringleaders were executed, and 136 officers, the elite of Russian nobility, were sent to Siberia. Those who survived the hard labor made their homes and a new "cultured society" in Irkutsk. The story of the Decembrists is told through several related sites in Irktusk, in particular two house-museums. In addition there are several other fascinating museums in Irkutsk that give an excellent sense of the history of the area. The Decembrists left a legacy for culture, which remains to this day. The residents of Irkutsk often frequent the many theaters and music halls and respect education highly.

Irkutsk is also a major stop on the Trans-Siberian railroad and a short distance from Lake Baikal, which bring considerable numbers of visitors to the area. Baikal has also drawn the attention of environmental groups who are fighting growing pollution levels in the lake. Irkutsk has the feel of a city that will always be a very popular place to live and visit. The nearby combination of beautiful nature, an educated population, and vital industries and natural resources in the area insure the long-term stability and wealth of the region. Irkutsk will likely be one of the first cities to have a sizeable middle class.

www.sras.org

Irkutsk
Irkutsk is one of the few "historic" cities of Siberia. It is closely linked to stories of exile. Exile to Siberia began in the 18th century and reached its peak in the 19th century. Contrary to popular belief, it was not a "Soviet" invention, although the USSR did expand on an existing prison-camp system (GULag). Exiles were first sentenced to hard labor, but there was the added condition that even after the sentence was served, the released prisoner was to remain in Siberia and not allowed to return to Moscow.

The Decembrists were the most famous, and romantic, of the Siberian exiles. They were not anarchist revolutionaries, but Officer Corps which had saved Russia from Napoleon in 1812, and were in dispair about the disastrous condition of the country under the incompetent Nicholas I. In December 1825, they launched their abortive coup--but failed. Five ringleaders were executed, and 136 officers, the elite of Russian nobility, were sent to Siberia. Those who survived the hard labor made their homes and a new "cultured society" in Irkutsk. The story of the Decembrists is told through several related sites in Irktusk, in particular two house-museums. In addition there are several other fascinating museums in Irkutsk that give an excellent sense of the history of the area. The Decembrists left a legacy for culture, which remains to this day. The residents of Irkutsk often frequent the many theaters and music halls and respect education highly.


Irkutsk is also a major stop on the Trans-Siberian railroad and a short distance from Lake Baikal, which bring considerable numbers of visitors to the area. Baikal has also drawn the attention of environmental groups who are fighting growing pollution levels in the lake. Irkutsk has the feel of a city that will always be a very popular place to live and visit. The nearby combination of beautiful nature, an educated population, and vital industries and natural resources in the area insure the long-term stability and wealth of the region. Irkutsk will likely be one of the first cities to have a sizeable middle class.
www.sras.org




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