The December early release from prison of former IUKOS chairman Mikhail Khodorkovskii as well as Pussy Riot members Mariia Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was a major news story. Personal experience of imprisonment and exile in tsarist Russia form the subject of the January item of the month – Ivan Belokonskii’s 1887 Po tiur’mam i etapam.
The Bol’shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia (Great Soviet encyclopedia (third edition, R900.R11)) tells us that Ivan Petrovich Belokonskii was born in Chernigov (modern-day Chernihiv) in 1855 and died in Khar’kov (Kharkiv) in 1931. After studying in Kiev and Odessa, he grew close to the Narodniki, a populist movement largely followed by the educated middle class, and was arrested for agitation in 1879 and sent to eastern Siberia. He returned in 1886, the year before this book was published.