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The Tsarist Secret Police in Russian Society, 1880–1917 by Frederic S Zuckerman, F Zuckerman

By Frederic S Zuckerman, F Zuckerman

This article portrays the heritage of the Russian mystery police - the so-called Okhrana - it group of workers, international view and interplay with either govt and other people in the course of the reigns of Alexander III and Nicholas II. the key police careworn, infiltrated and subverted Russian radical and innovative society because it struggled to maintain Tsardom's conventional political tradition within the face of Russia's swift socio-economic transformation - a change which the forces of order scarcely understood, but deeply despised.

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41 Apparently, for the sake of enforcing its authority the Special Section allowed the detective service to operate severely under strength. The problems of the detective service, therefore, were not so much the fault of the filery themselves as of a society which left many of them semi-literate and in poor health and of a bureaucracy that often left them under-trained and always overworked. None of this, of course, was at all clear to the detectives themselves who were abused by their chiefs in St Petersburg and the populace of Russia alike.

21 There existed two types of administrative exile: vyssylka and ssylka. Vyssylka was the milder form of punishment, but also the more arbitrary of the two. It prohibited the 'criminal' from living within certain defined areas of the empire. The victims of this form of punishment were usually those persons suspected of being 'politically unreliable': a phrase often used to condemn people not for something they might have done, but for something they might do in the future. Ssylka, or deportation to a definite location, was clearly a much more severe penalty, since it condemned the convict to a particular residence, usually in Siberia for a period of up to five years, which for hardened political criminals was extended in 1897 to ten years.

4 Before acceptance as a detective-trainee applicants had to undergo a security check, although categories of people were automatically excluded from the detective service. 5 Since the Special Section's list of prerequisites for detectiverecruits bore little resemblance to what was actually possible in Russian conditions, it is not surprising that recruitment did not run smoothly:6 there simply were not enough 'qualified' candidates. 7 As for their physical and psychological inadequacies the Special Section strove to overcome them by subjecting its detective-trainees to a rigorous training programme and as early as 1894 Fontanka decided that a school for detective training should be established in Moscow as part of the Moscow OO.

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