Tikhonov A. V. Сonditions of detention of foreign prisoners during the First world war on the example of the Kaluga and Tula provinces (.pdf)


The paper analyzes some of the problems of foreign prisoners keeping in the Kaluga and Tula provinces during the First World War, such as issues of accommodation and transportation of the soldiers and officers of the Central Powers to Russian internal provinces, the conditions of their detention, their relations with the local authorities and the population, their involvement in work, organization of supervision over the prisoners, the device of their religious life. During the war, from 1.2 to 3-3.5 million people became foreign prisoners in Russia. About six thousand of them were placed in the Kaluga province and about eighteen thousand – in the Tula province. The prisoners lived in barracks, trucks, booths, at railway stations, in factory rooms, in the buildings of estate owners, attics, distribution points, cottages, and private apartments. The keeping conditions depended on the rank and nationality of prisoners: a number of easier rides and privileges were allowed for Slavs by contrast to other nationalities. Foreign missions, Russian and foreign non-governmental organizations, and local residents helped foreign prisoners. A number of prisoners’ escapes and deaths is one of the rates of good or bad keeping conditions. In the Tula and Kaluga provinces, the number of deaths and escapes among the prisoners remained low. The local authorities were also involved in organizing prisoners’ religious life. In general, religious life of prisoners in the two provinces was organized at an acceptable level, but there were cases of violation of their religious rights. In relations between prisoners and locals, we do not encounter cases of xenophobia. The residents of the Kaluga and Tula provinces behaved toward prisoners in different ways. There were examples when they were trying to help prisoners, but they were also irritated by the prisoners, because of their behavior.


Key words: The First World War, foreign prisoners, internees, military history, the Kaluga province, the Tula province.


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