On November 16, 1849, Fyodor Dostoyevsky was sentenced to death for antigovernment activities associated with a radical intellectual circle, The Petrashevsky Circle.
The Petrashevsky Circle was formed in St. Petersburg in 1840 and named after the founder, Mikhail Petrashevsky. Members held diverse political views, but all were in opposition to the Russian feudal system, which kept millions of serfs confined to a life of servitude without property rights or full legal rights.
This death sentence was not to be Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s destiny. Instead he spent four years in a Siberian work camp. He would go on to write his memorable narratives: From the Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Demons, and Brothers Karamazov.