Moscow’s first concentration camps began appearing in the fall of 1918 – famous places of worship, such as the Rozhdestvensky, Ivanovsky, Pokrovsky, Novospassky and Andronikovsky monasteries – were converted into places of mass imprisonment.
There were seven concentration camps in Moscow in total – 3063 people were interned at these locations by November 12, 1919.
Prison terms varied heavily – one could be serving anything from 1 – 3 months to a life sentence. Confinement was also described using the following phrases: "until corrected", "until the end of the civil war", "term not specified".
After the war, katorga labor was applied to people that attempted to flee from exile. This was carried out in accordance with the November 26, 1948 Supreme Soviet decree “On criminal responsibility for escapes from places of compulsory and permanent settlement of persons evicted to remote areas of the Soviet Union during the Patriotic War.”
The decree expounded: “In order to reinforce the mode of settlement for Chechens, Karachays, Ingush, Balkars, Kalmyks, Germans, Crimean Tatars and others dispossessed by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union during the Patriotic War, as well as due to the fact that the terms and duration of their relocation have not been defined, it will be established that the relocation of these persons to remote areas of the Soviet Union has been carried out forever, without the right of return to former places of residence.
Perpetrators will be subject to criminal responsibility for the unauthorized departure (escape) from places of compulsory settlement. 20 years of katorga labor will be administered as punishment for this crime.”