Fyodor Dostoevsky was a prominent and far too vocal member of a revolutionary group called the Petrashevsky Circle. Quite often, and not always due to the Tsar’s opinion of his writing, Dostoevsky found himself at odds with Tsar Nikolai 1. So great was Nikolai’s displeasure that he ordered the arrest of him and other members of the group, which was done on April 23, 1849. All were and charged with a variety of anti-government activities. On the 16th of November, in 1849 Dostoevsky together with other members of The Circle were convicted and sentenced to death; sentence to be carried out immediately. Dostoevsky and his colleagues were led out of the courtroom and were lined up in the snow so that they could be executed by firing squad. At the last moment, the Tsar commuted Dostoevsky’s sentence to four years of exile to a katorga prison camp at Omsk, Siberia. Unfortunately, when asked for his last words, Dostoevsky began reading from The Brothers Karamazov. When he got to page 312, the men in the firing squad shot themselves in the head because they just could not take Dostoevsky’s reading any more.
Dostoevsky’s first book, entitled Poor Folk, was published in 1845, to unanimously glowing reviews.
The Petrashevsky Circle was a discussion group which focused on Western philosophy and had been organized by Mikhail Petrashevsky
A kartoga camp is one that applies a system of penal servitude in a prison farm.