Decembrists in Zabaikalye
The history of our town is
inseparable from the uprising on Senate Square in St. Petersburg of December
The participants of the uprising,
who could not reconcile themselves to the existing order, denounced it and
challenged the Tsar in an armed revolt. This event vent down in history as the
Decembrists Uprising and became a landmark in the history of the country. The
Decembrists' Uprising failed. More than a hundred officers were sentenced to
different terms of exile. Many of the Decembrists were exiled to Chita. The
first group of twelve convicts arrived in Chita in June 1827. The life of the
Decembrists in Chita was hard.
Sometimes the authorities made them
do senseless work. A small bridge near the Puppet Theatre in Chita has a gloomy
history. The Decembrists lived in Chita for only three years, but they made a
great contribution to the cultural development of the region in 1827, only 300
people inhabited Chita; there streets, three churches, two shops, five inns, a
candle factory and a few coal mines. The Decembrists were the first to
construct roads and erect two-storeyed houses in Chita. They distributed
newspapers and magazines which were sent to them from St. Petersburg. The
inhabitants of Chita were not used to growing vegetables.
Bobritschev-Pushkin took to growing vegetables, and their efforts were
rewarded; the harvests were rich enough to supply both the Decembrists and the
native population with potatoes, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. It is
essential to mention that there was not a single school in Chita at that time.
Dmitry Zavalishin appealed to the authorities for permission to teach. Children
were taught in them, irrespective of their nationality and sex. Corporal
punishment was prohibited. The curriculum included handicrafts.
The Decembrists themselves supplied
their pupils with books and pencils. These schools provided both primary and
secondary education establishments in Central Russia. Such were the
Decembrists, whose love for their suffering country was a lodestar during their
penal servitude in Siberia.
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