On 21 June 1906, the socialist-revolutionary activist Marja Spiridonova and five of her companions were deported from Moscow to penal servitude in Siberia for having killed a landowner. She spent 11 years in a Siberian prison and was released after the February Revolution of 1917. She blew up Chita prison soon after her release. As a colony of Tsarist Russia, Siberia was understood primarily as a place for exile and punishment. In Soviet Russia, Siberia became a place of torture and death because of the concentration camps that were developed in these territories from 1926. The Soviet model of the punitive structure, though subsequently taken to a new level, still inherited many features from its predecessor.
In The Creation of Modern Prisons in Imperial Russia, IISH Research Paper 48 (2012), Erika Kriukelyte traces the genealogy of exile, imprisonment and forced labour in Siberia.