Silences and Omissions in Reporting Epidemics in Russian and Soviet Prisons, 1890-2021

Mikhail Nakonechnyi, Judith Pallot

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


Penitentiary systems serve as breeding grounds for all kinds of diseases. Drawing upon new archival materials, this article examines the history of the management and reporting of epidemics in the Russian prison system from the late Imperial period to the present day. We use the case studies of cholera (1892-1893), typhus (1932-1933), and pulmonary tuberculosis (the 1990s) to examine how the general political and social conjuncture at different times affected the response of prison authorities to epidemics to show that, notwithstanding major shifts in society and polity, there was continuity in the management of epidemics by prison authorities in the long twentieth century. However, there were fundamental discrepancies in the way late Imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet Russia reported epidemiological emergencies in prisons. We argue that Russia's tumultuous past has reinforced the tendency among the Russian penal administration towards a lack of transparency that has persisted to the present day, in relation to the latest, COVID-19, epidemic.
TidskriftJournal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Sidor (från-till)1–22
Antal sidor22
StatusPublicerad - 31 aug. 2023
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


  • 615 Historia och arkeologi

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