Siberia was a land of Mongolians before most of them were slaughtered by the Cossacks. So mix together Mongolians, Slavs, and now Chinese, and the population changes.
In December of 1825, three thousand troops rose up in St. Petersburg to abolish serfdom and overthrow the tsar. Nine thousand loyalists fought back and won the battle in Peter’s Square. Over 120 of the rebels, many of them aristocrats and intellectuals, were exiled to Chita and forced to work in the silver and salt mines from six in the morning to eleven at night. Ever since, Chita had been known as a prison city, a uniformly ugly city of factories and shabby wooden houses built, in good part, by prisoners and the children of prisoners.