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In the 1660s the Russian government under Czar Alexis I had begun the practice of punishing common criminals and political offenders by exiling them to SiberiaDuring the last two centuries of Russian imperial rule punishment varied significantly from czar to czar Different styles of interrogation and justice were prevalent with each successive ruler Autocracy allowed for what seems to be a harsh system of imperial punishment In actuality the practice of capital punishment and torture were commonplace throughout European rulers Though labeled by the west as barbaric at times Russia had no striking trends in outrageous punishment from Peter the Great to Nicholas II What does differ between Europe and Russia in terms of punishment were the crimes committed Europe saw much religious persecution and punishment of vagrants and peasants Russia saw more peasant revolts and responded with oppression Perhaps also alarming is the number of formerly powerful government officials of the Russian court sent to exile in Siberia It becomes clear that czars were not overly cruel to the citizens of imperial Russia However at the same time the gentry and peasants did know that the czar held the power and the czar would let them know what happened to traitors Peter the Great was a very progressive ruler taking rational aspects of European society and incorporating them into the Russian infrastructure These included military reform educational reform and cultural amending Peter was also somewhat progressive in punishment but he did utilize some rather harsh methods If a person were exiled heshe would be sent for hard labor in Siberia perhaps at the leadsilver mines of Nerchinsk But a favorite of Peters was beating and interrogation rather than outright exile A prime example of this is his son Alexis whom he had beaten and tortured eventually killing him Peter knew that as long as his son was alive he was a threat to the throne whether or not Peter actually intended to
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