Butyrka prison

Moscow, Russia

Butyrka prison

Butyrskaya prison (Russian: Бутырская тюрьма, tr. Butýrskaya tyurmá), usually known simply as Butyrka (Russian: Бутырка, IPA: [bʊˈtɨrkə]), is a prison in the Tverskoy District of central Moscow, Russia. It was the central transit prison in Tsarist Imperial Russia. During Soviet times, it held many political prisoners. Currently, Butyrka remains the largest of Moscow remand prisons. Overcrowding continues to be a problem.

The first references to Butyrka prison may be traced back to the 17th century. The current building was erected in 1879 near the Butyrsk gate (Бутырская застава, or Butyrskaya zastava) on the site of a prison-fortress which had been built by the architect Matvei Kazakov during the reign of Catherine the Great. The towers of the old fortress once housed the rebellious Streltsy during the reign of Peter I, and later on hundreds of participants of the 1863 January Uprising in Poland. Members of Narodnaya Volya were also prisoners of the Butyrka in 1883, as were the participants in the Morozov Strike of 1885. The Butyrka prison was known for its brutal regime. The prison administration resorted to violence anytime the inmates tried to protest.

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