NKVD Prison Museum in Tomsk

NKVD Museum

NKVD Museum

Museum “NKVD Investigation Prison” in Tomsk is one of the divisions of the Regional Museum of Tomsk region. It occupies the basement of the house, where for 11 years since 1923 was placed the prison of the NKVD of Tomsk. Museum together with a monument to the victims of Bolshevik terror in the courtyard of the former prison forms a common memorial complex. The building was nicknamed the “bad house,” and even before the political persecution and before the revolution, another terrible event took place here. In the church-teacher’s school located here, two students murdered the school director-priest.

NKVD Museum

In the NKVD museum, you can see the reconstructed corridor of the prison, and there are also reconstructed cells for the prisoners under investigation and the investigator’s office. The cells occupy four halls and offer a closer look at the history of terror in 10 expositions that tell about the fates of people, about the Gulag and the settlers, about family members of so-called traitors to the motherland who were convicted under Article 58 for counterrevolutionary crimes, etc. Some of them are devoted to specific events:

  • “The Bialystok Tragedy,” the story of the arrest and execution of adult men from the village of Bialystok.
  • “Kolpashevski Yar,” a place in the prison yard on the bank of the Ob River near the town of Kolpashevo, where there was a mass burial of those shot and killed in the NKVD prison of the Narym District. Due to changes in the riverbed, the prison and the burials were lost, but in the late 1970s, the river eroded and the remains were carried away by the current. The authorities urgently organized the burial of the corpses.

NKVD Museum

A special place in the history of the museum is occupied by the underground execution corridor. It is one of the most mysterious places in the area. The tunnel under the ground connected two buildings of the NKVD in Tomsk. According to some versions this is where the death sentences were carried out in the 20s-30s. However it is impossible to prove it now: since 60s the tunnel was filled with slags and walled up. There is now a memorial Square and memorial sculptures on the ground above it. The NKVD Prison Museum of Tomsk is developing a project to restore the firing tunnel.

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The stands of the Tomsk NKVD Museum tell about the biographies of various prominent figures: the poet N. Klyuev, the philosopher G. Shpet and others. The exposition includes historical documents, cases opened by the investigation, photographs, artwork and handicrafts that people made in the camps and exiles.

NKVD Museum

Temporary exhibitions, film screenings and thematic meetings are organized regularly. These and other events are held in the exhibition hall of the NKVD Museum of Tomsk. When visiting, you can also go to the library of the museum, where there are archival materials: publications, photos and videos on the subject of political repression in the Soviet period. You can find out about new exhibitions on the website of the NKVD Museum in Tomsk.

The institution’s database contains information about almost 200,000 people who survived persecution, deportations, dekulakization, etc. in the Tomsk region during the Soviet era. According to travelers, the exposition is quite small, but it recreates the atmosphere of a difficult time. Of particular interest are authentic documents and files of the repressed. Tomsk NKVD Museum of Investigation is popular among foreign tourists, but they notice that the information to the exhibits is not duplicated in English.

NKVD Museum

Prices in the NKVD Museum of Tomsk

Ticket prices depend on the category of visitors:

  • Adults (from 14 years old) – 120 rubles.
  • Schoolchildren (7-13 years old) – 80 rubles.
  • Pensioners – 60 rubles.
  • Free for Children up to 6 years old.

Family ticket can be bought by a family of 2 adults with up to 3 children (up to 13 years old) – 250 rubles. Some privileged groups have the right to visit the museum-prison of NKVD for free. Photography is allowed in the museum for free.

The cost of a tour depends on the language of the museum:

  • In Russian – 830 rubles.

To make an excursion it is necessary to leave the request by phone: 90-19-47

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NKVD Museum

Opening times

NKVD Museum in Tomsk works all days of the week except Monday and Sunday. On other days the working hours: from 10:00 to 18:00. It should be noted that the cashier closes at 17:30. The current operating hours of the NKVD Museum in Tomsk can be found in the official group of the museum VKontakte.

A panoramic view of the NKVD Museum building (entrance – from the yard):

How to get to the NKVD Museum

Address of the institution: Sovetsky District, 44 Lenina Prospekt. You can get here by public transport:

  • Bus number 2, 3, 4, 12, 19, 22, 23, 26, 30, 32/118, 33, 36, 37, 53, 60/130, 112b, 112c, 112d, 119, 150, 400, 442, stop “Novo-Sobornaya Square”; number 5, 9, 16, 25, 36, 37, 53, stop “Museum of Local History”.
  • Trolleybus № 1, 3, the stop “Novo-Sobornaya Square”; № 2, 6, the stop “Museum of local lore”.

To get to the NKVD prison museum in Tomsk, you can use cab services: in the city operate Yandex. Cab, Uber Russia, Maxim, RuTaxi.

Tomsk. Part 12. NKVD investigation prison


Dear friends, today we will get to the very real NKVD prison. The first in the USSR and the only one in Russia. The first honorable visitor of this museum was A.I. Solzhenitsyn. Yes, yes, the one who wrote “The Gulag Archipelago”.

The last contemporaries of the Gulag, who knew it not from books, but as a fact of their biography, are passing away. Leaving this world are living witnesses to that era, who take with them a huge layer of oral history, without which the main thing will be missing – the scale of national tragedy of fratricide dragged on for decades, a civil war of the state with the people, which brought the great country not to the planned “bright future”, but to a historical dead end. There will be no measure of suffering and humiliation of tens of millions of people sacrificed in the name of utopian goals. In so doing, we condemn ourselves to a misunderstanding of the true reasons for the historical collapse of Soviet communism.

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As soon as you enter the museum you are immersed in an unusual atmosphere:



Tomsk memorial museum “Investigation Prison NKVD” is located in the basement of the building, which from 1923 to 1944 was the internal prison of the Tomsk city department of the OGPU-NKVD (Russia, Tomsk, Lenin Avenue, 44).

The museum’s permanent exhibition includes a reconstructed prison corridor, .


. cell for convicts under investigation.









The real door of the punishment cell :


Among the exhibits are copies and authentic documents of investigation cases, photo albums, embroidery, paintings, drawings, playing cards, wood and stone crafts made in the camps and exiles.




Women in prison did embroidery:


An aluminum spoon. An ordinary aluminum spoon for eating…. Millions of them were made in the twentieth century. And some 150 years ago, aluminum cutlery was more expensive than silver and gold, until 1886, when the American Charles Hall and the Frenchman Paul Heroux simultaneously invented a new method of obtaining aluminum by electrolysis of alumina… And before that, many dreamed of the wide range of uses aluminum would find…

“The most amazing thing about the dreams and predictions of utopians is that these dreams and predictions come true. Sitting in the fortress, Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky writes, wincing. And how not to cringe. He writes about how wide, how common use will be the wonderful noble metal aluminum. It will be so accessible that everyone, without exception, will use it, just think about it, in the form of cookware. And so the utopian’s word has come true: tens of millions of soldiers, tens of millions of convicts are eating their soup and scraping their porridge with aluminum spoons from aluminum cups….(Yu. Daniel. from the book “Free Hunting” )

A spoon in the Gulag was a valuable thing. It was cherished and guarded, was always carried with you, usually behind the boot or boot heel or hidden in the jacket… Not everyone had it in stock, but one always wanted to eat. Numerous convict tales and omens were associated with it. For example, when leaving the camp for freedom, you had to throw the spoon over the forbidden area to never come back here again, to throw it to the prison so that the prison would not chase you (A. Solzhenitsyn. “The Gulag Archipelago”). But there was also another just the opposite omen – when you go to freedom you must take the spoon with you, so that you do not come back for it….

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Shotgun shells and pistol cartridges found during repairs under the floor of the 1st floor of the former Tomsk City Department of the NKVD building. Possibly firing squad bullets.


A bunch of keys from prison cells. Handed over to the museum in 1996 by workers from Tomsk pre-trial detention center:


The Gulag crippled the lives of many people all over the Soviet Union:




Its victims were both adults and children :



A letter from an ordinary man to his wife before firing squad:




NKVD Investigator’s Suit :



And this is how the Soviet Union developed the virgin soil:


Great, yes! But behind it all are hundreds and thousands of people’s lives:


“. in one year the number of special resettlers dropped by 15.3% . In light of the task of colonizing the vast territory of Narym . this value of the loss of population for the year should not be considered particularly large. “



Note the slogans on the poster below:


Personal cards of the special settlers:




Such is bloody socialism :



A whole wave of repression affected people of faith :






The cases against many were fabricated. Unfortunately, they were acquitted after they had been shot.

Questionnaire from one of the religious prisoners:



And 52 years after the execution, the court found the case against this man fabricated and acquitted him:

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