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A researcher's journey to Siberia

Murder Mysteries

Filed under: Ignatii Dvernitskii — Wilson Bell at 9:31 am on Sunday, July 17, 2016  Tagged , , , ,

The murder of Ignatii raises many questions, some of which were raised almost immediately by the St. Petersburg-based journal, Sibirskie voprosy (Siberian questions).

Bishop Makarii in Siberia. Photo via wikimedia commons

Bishop Makarii in Siberia. Photo via wikimedia commons

The murder occurred the night of May 8/9, 1909, and the suspects were arrested on the 9th. Many supporters of Ignatii, according to Sibirskie voprosy, gathered around the school, calling for a pogrom (like the 1905 pogrom in Tomsk – subject of another post!) against the students of the school. The murder investigation concluded quickly, and it was passed to a temporary session of the military district court. The court heard the case in November, 1909, and the two students were sentenced to death, commuted to katorga.

Why was the investigation conducted so quickly? Why was it transferred to military court, when there was no apparent military connection? Why was the sentence so harsh?

I suspect some of this comes back to the prominent and powerful Tomsk bishop, Makarii (pictured above). Makarii, like Ignatii, was prominent in the Soiuz russkogo naroda. Makarii, or at the very least some of the church authorities, treated Ignatii as a martyr, and claimed both Jewish and socialist motivations behind the murder. Sibirskaia pravda gleefully reported on the transfer to military court.
Anyway, all of this requires further investigation, and brings the investigation to some of the key figures of pre-Revolutionary Tomsk.

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