Prison of the Trubetskoy Bastion


In the 19th century the Peter and Paul Fortress scored the reputation of the main political prison of Russia though the first prisoners appeared there already at the beginning of the 18th century when the ominous fame of the “Russian Bastille ” emerged. In 1718 Prince Alexei, the son of Peter I, and his associates became prisoners of the casemates of the Trubetskoi Bastion for taking part in the conspiracy. The Prince was deprived of his right to the thrown and sentenced to death. According to the official statement, he died in the dungeon from “apoplexy, which occurred upon hearing the death sentence announced by the Supreme criminal court ”.

During the reign of Anna Ioannovna imprisoned in the Fortress were the participants of the plot against Biron headed by A.Volynsky. After Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter I, ascended the throne as a result of the coup of 1741 her political opponents – among which were A.Osterman and B.Ch. von Munnich – became inmates of the Fortress prison.

Originally the convicts were kept in the Fortress casemates. Later on the territory of the Alexei Ravelin a special prison was built – the so-called Secret House (the building did not survive). Enduring all the hardships of the solitary confinement there were the writer and philosopher A.Radischev, F.Dostoyevsky convicted for participating in the activities of the Petrashevsky Circle, the theoretician of Anarchism M.Bakunin, the writer and revolutionary N.Chernyshevsky. In 1870-1872 a new prison building was constructed in the Trubetskoy Bastion –  pentagonal in shape with an inner courtyard. Thousands of prisoners went through its 69 cells for solitary confinement: the participants of the terrorist organization “The People’s Will” who organized the assassination of Alexander II, the anarchist Prince P.Kropotkin, A.Ulyanov. L.Troitsky, A.Gorky. In 1917 the ministers of the Tsarist Government  and in 1921 – the participants of the anti-Bolshevik uprising in Kronstadt were confined there. In 1924 the Prison of the Trubetskoy Bastion was turned in a museum.