So, a lot of things happened in the 20th century. In the 1930s, the second American Revolution starts, due to the hardships of the depression. Armed revolutionaries storm DC, and the USA become the UFS. The Union of Fascist States. WWII sees both the UFS and USSR become more dystopian.

Later 20th century In 1968, the USSR incorporates all of Asia, Europe (-UK) and half of Africa, and becomes the United Communist Alliance. The UFS incorporates South America, North America, and Africa. Both governments completely rewrite their histories, brainwashing their citizens. By the year 2018, both governments have near complete control on all aspects of citizens lives. The youngest, millennial generation are most passionate about the UFS, especially. Secret police and surveillance are always looking for the slightest sign of rebellion.

Story In the story, my main character, Bryan Rivers, discovers the horrifying truth about the government, and secretly tries to tell his colleagues about it, to no avail.

He, along with his love interest Jessica, who has nothing to do with it, are sent to the council. They are given a show trial, and sentenced to life on the Falkland Islands in exile. This is important, as both characters need to be alive for the story to proceed. It’s dystopia, so it would make much more sense for the SP to just execute both of them, ending my story. So my question is, why would the government exile people instead of execute?

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22 Answers 22


For the story you're telling, I might suggest the fascist government has weaponized the old

Well, if you hate the UFS so much, why don't you just leave?


The protagonists are given a show trial, but it needs a satisfying conclusion for the masses. Given that fascist states often favor 'strong borders,' value loyalty, and believe in eye-for-an-eye justice, a very poetic conclusion to your show trial might be to send them to some remote islands "to let them TRY and create a better society on their own if they hate us so much."

Ideally, it should be implied that the government expects them to die on the islands. Maybe they're given limited supplies, or even a sparrow-esque firearm with a single bullet. But the eventual result is clear. They're going to starve or commit suicide, but not before they learn to regret their criticisms of the state. (To that end, perhaps along with their day of rations they're also given a signed copy of whatever their 'Mein Kampf' equivalent is.)

You could even have your dictator say something to that effect:

Many view me simply as a ruthless defender of our great nation – but I am not without mercy. We must balance the security of the state with the free will of its citizens; it saddens me that these two so disrespect everything we hold dear, but if they think they can do better, they're more than welcome to try it in the wastelands on the Falkland Islands. I think they will live just long enough to regret betraying us as they have. Regardless, I believe the whole nation joins me in saying: good riddance.

It's punishment by granting their wish, in a way.

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    $\begingroup$ Pretty mean, isn’t it. But at least the rebels learn a lesson before they starve $\endgroup$ – DT Cooper Aug 3 '18 at 3:19
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    $\begingroup$ Captian Jack Sparrow-esque. $\endgroup$ – amflare Aug 3 '18 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Mayo: Just because a regime is economically communist, doesn't mean they can't be politically fascist. Consider the Second World War, Stalin was the leader of a communist regime; Mussolini, a (the) fascist; Hirohito, an absolute monarch; Churchill and Roosevelt/Truman, democratically elected leader; Hitler (technically) democratically elected; but they all behaved in exactly the same way. Except Il Duce, who didn't imprison and kill mass numbers of people (including his own). $\endgroup$ – nzaman Aug 5 '18 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Mayo There was no claim that only fascist nations favor strong borders, making most of your point correct, but moot. $\endgroup$ – Kjeld Schmidt Aug 6 '18 at 12:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Mayo This was not given as a defining feature of fascist states, but rather a trait shared between them. No mention of it being shared exclusively between those. You are correct that there are and were nations that had those characteristics but are not typically considered to be fascist. This is not at odds with the claim you quoted. To invalidate the quoted claim, you'd have to name a state usually considered fascist which does not place an emphasis on borders, loyalty and justice by punishment. $\endgroup$ – Kjeld Schmidt Aug 6 '18 at 19:28

Sun Tzu wrote: never corner the enemy. Always give them a chance to escape.

If you kill all the dissidents you catch, they'll fight to the death. They have nothing to lose by staying in a cave somewhere and shooting anyone who comes after them.

If you exile dissidents, then they have a choice: keep fighting and maybe die, or surrender and live somewhere else. Maybe from there they can keep up their cause. Maybe they'll just get to live, and their cowardice will get the better of them. But if they don't have a choice, they can't choose something advantageous to you.

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    $\begingroup$ This is quite possibly the best answer I've read yet. It's a broken government, not a stupid one. $\endgroup$ – Michael Eric Oberlin Jul 31 '18 at 8:55
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    $\begingroup$ Along these lines, you could even have a program where you assist dissidents in their exile if they voluntarily turn themselves in. Make us catch you, and we'll rip you and your family out of your home at 0200, then toss you into the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on your back. Turn yourself in, we'll give you two days to collect what you want from your house (though we'll search it, of course, for anything we can't let an exile have), a nice comfy suite on the boat, and a polite -- but firm -- send-off. $\endgroup$ – Fund Monica's Lawsuit Aug 2 '18 at 18:18
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    $\begingroup$ Problem: All the benefits of this can just as easily be achieved by just making it SEEM like dissidents are exiled rather than executed, but still executing them in secret. $\endgroup$ – Jason Clyde Aug 3 '18 at 3:11
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    $\begingroup$ @JasonClyde But then you need to go to all the trouble of actually executing them, plus faking that they're still alive, plus keeping up that masquerade for the lifetime of your government. Letting them remain in exile, and visible in exile, is much easier. $\endgroup$ – Cadence Aug 3 '18 at 3:13
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    $\begingroup$ You could make reality TV out of it, edited of course to make the dissidents look like the trashy sorts you'd find on Love Island or Ex on the Beach. $\endgroup$ – DoctorPenguin Aug 3 '18 at 11:14

It is the last remnant of the history that started the revolution.

Almost all history has been rewritten;
but the one thing everyone still remembers,
is that this all started because the Bad Old Government,
executed an innocent man.
(Or at least a man many believed to be innocent.)

That was the the straw that broke the camels back.
It was in the wake of the riots that followed,
that the revolution occurred.

Since then it has been part of the propaganda about why we are better than the enemy -- both sides can claim that the other executes people at all the time.

"We are not murderers; we are the good guys, and we believe in giving people the chance to redeem themselves."

Anyone can be redeemed (in theory). It just takes hard work (labour camps), proper instruction (reeducation camps), and time to reflect on your actions (exile).

Sure, you've not heard of anyone coming back from there;
but they were at least given the chance to prove themselves worthy.

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jul 31 '18 at 18:09
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    $\begingroup$ I like the 1984 "doublespeak" feel of this response. Simply diabolical. $\endgroup$ – MindS1 Jul 31 '18 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ Yes it is a meritocracy. $\endgroup$ – aloisdg moving to codidact.com Aug 1 '18 at 15:53

Don't confuse a dystopian government with, for example, Nazi Germany. Nazi Germany was led by (IMO) a madman, but it wasn't broken.

Dystopian governments are broken. It's more than simply ruthless, or covert. a really good dystopian government isn't right. It makes the reader feel icky just to read about it.

And that's the paradox we want.

The government needs to act good but be wrong.

Your government doesn't simply execute people because that's morally wrong. Your government goes out of its way to demonstrate moral certitude (not fortitude... certitude...). It's the logical, legal, and moral (not ethical...) successor to what your people longingly and fondly remember as the United States of America, with its Bill of Rights and its Declaration of Independence and its Constitution.... And your new government factually believes it is the crown successor to that legacy.

Except that despite everything appearing right, nothing actually works for the freedom and prosperity of the people.

So, no executions. That's morally wrong. Exile is morally right.

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    $\begingroup$ That's a lot better version of my answer. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Jul 31 '18 at 3:04
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    $\begingroup$ @RobertPaul, you're going to need more depth than that or you won't have a logical reason to exile anyone. A bullet is always cheaper, faster, and more efficient than a plane ride to a protected site. And I should point out that if your government has successfully brainwashed people, then nothing about it is broken. Nothing about it is perceived by the citizens as inexplicably wrong. So, like it or leave it, my answer suggests you add more depth to the nature of your government (mostly because brainwashing everyone is actually really hard to do). $\endgroup$ – JBH Jul 31 '18 at 3:16
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    $\begingroup$ @RobertPaul I think what JBH was trying to point out is that there needs to be an ideological reason not to just say you're exiling people, then chuck them off the boat half way across the Atlantic. Because, from a purely logical perspective, a bullet though the head is cheaper, faster, and less likely to come back later to cause more trouble. $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Jul 31 '18 at 8:17
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    $\begingroup$ On a related note, read this today: Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, quickly responded, also via Twitter: "No one dictates Turkey. We will never tolerate threats from anybody. Rule of law is for everyone; no exception." Seems to be a real-world example of exactly what you're talking about. $\endgroup$ – HopelessN00b Jul 31 '18 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ @RobertPaul - People’s rights are violated at random, whenever the SP want. People's rights aren't violated at random. That would be wrong. People's rights are violated when it is necessary for the security of the state. Of course, only the SP know what is necessary for the security of the state, so they are the final (and only) arbiters of when they can take such actions. Questioning whether the actions are necessary implies that you aren't acting in the interests of the state, so it may become necessary for you to be removed if you start asking such questions... $\endgroup$ – Jules Aug 1 '18 at 12:13

Exiles are useful to the government

In war, an injured soldier is significantly more expensive than a dead one. (An injured soldier has to be rescued, treated, protected, fed... A dead soldier costs only a pension.)

A few centuries back, the gift of a White Elephant was used by Southeast Asian monarchs to financially ruin problematic people. White elephants were (and are) considered sacred, so a white elephant must be well kept and pampered. It could not possibly be used for work or given away. It was a gift that gave the recipient much honor, but a great deal more expense.

Similarly, your dystopian government uses exiles to cause problems in the neighboring regions. Why kill your problems when you can make them problems for other people?


Let's look at history. Kinda recent actually. Tzarist Russia. They used "Forced displacement" as a form of punishment.
The pros are simple:

  1. government is posing as very humane one (as in old joke, we could have killed them but we just told them to F**k off)
  2. displaced person (or group) are still required to work so they are usable
  3. you send them to place where they have little to zero chances of spreading their revolutionary teaching.
  4. you can extend their period of punishment ad infinitum but they don't know that so they are in constant mind setting that "soon" they will get out.
  5. you can send them to place with different language so they have problem with communication
  6. You make them check with police regularly. If they fail, BAM, extend time on exile.
  7. You don't need to build any facilities. The further the better. Distance is the best border.

Cons are:

  1. you need to have a lot of police and secret police to check on people in cities and roads
  2. All people are required to have ID. You don't give that ID to dissidents. It's easier to check if they have one or have forged it rather than database of all convicts.
  3. You need to check their "danger" level from time to time otherwise you will end up with Lenin.
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, the Tsarist system of exile was full of holes. No less a person than Stalin was arrested, convicted and exiled several times - and escaped in every case. All he did was walk away. There were no fences, no guards and no requirement to work. They had to report to a local gendarme every week or two. The rest of the time they could - and did - read, discuss politics and take care of necessities like eating and laundry. They left when they got bored. A second offense might get them exiled further away than the first time but they could still reach the outside world. $\endgroup$ – Henry Aug 2 '18 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ "Still required to work" is a great reason. $\endgroup$ – Willk Aug 4 '18 at 2:01

The easiest answer is "martydom creates more dissidents". you can see this is some narratives concerning the middle east, where America's war on terror failed to fix the problem, instead blowing up villages simply made the locals more resentful and turn to terrorism themselves (who knew!)

The same kind of thing can happen with individuals - every activist student has a picture of Che Guevara on their bedroom wall, inspiring them to at least pretend to want to overthrow the oppressive fascist government (until they graduate and get a job, that is). So killing your dissidents has the potential effect of making martyrs of them, complete with nicely-designed images that can inspire future dissidents. One thing dystopian governments know is that a nice picture of a face (with an optional pointing finger) can inspire their own followers to do what they want, why would they let the same kind of propaganda imagery be used against themselves? Live rallying figures can be found and publicly executed, but what can you do against dead ones?

So the government ships them off somewhere cold and miserable, and everyone forgets about them. Job done, no worry, back to oppressing the masses!

Of course, another reason could be spite - why execute someone when you can send them to the salt mines to work until they die.

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    $\begingroup$ Ironically enough, it seems recently it was found out Fidel had a role in getting Che killed to get rid of competition. $\endgroup$ – Rui F Ribeiro Aug 1 '18 at 19:47
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    $\begingroup$ The central European communist regimes worked like that in the later period (in seventies and eighties). Their acceptance depended on semblance of peace and consent, which violence against opponents would break. Better shunt them away quietly—or often just harass them to leave. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Aug 2 '18 at 20:36

The Falkland Island is just a show flat

The government claims to be benevolent and to merely exile its enemies.

The truth is that they execute 95% of them. The remaining 5% are sent to the Falkland and give scarce news.

It is important that the information from the Falkland are very scarce.

Let's say that Bob and Alice are both sentence to exile, but actually, Alice is executed.

If Bob is free to phone home each day, then Alice family will quickly assume that whatever happened to Alice, it is not the same situation than Bob

But if you strategically leak some photo now and then, it will become some kind of common knowledge that those people are secluded in the Falkland. A situation a bit similar to the American POW in Vietnam, just reversed.

After 3 years without any news, Bob's parent will get a proof that their son is alive and well. They will share the knowledge with other convict families. And now Alice familly can reasonably cling to the hope that Alice is fine.

Forced labour

A simple reason to keep people alive in a secluded place.

Fear of Ghost

Hey! Why not!

The government leader sincerely believe that his enemy’s ghost would haunt him. So he tries to keep them alive as long as possible.

This belief could add a nice layer of paranoia.


Keep in mind for your story that fascist governments were not efficient and all-knowing.

The Four Year Plan sets the Punishment

If the "show trial" was a local affair and not on national television, perhaps the Dear Leader has given plan numbers not just to the steel industry but also to the secret police. Every month, so many traitors sentenced to death, so many sent to exile, and so on. The characters were lucky that they went to trial on the 27th of the month and not a week later.

If they went on national TV that doesn't quite work, because the fascists had no problem breaking their own rules. So how about this?

A Fate Worse Than Death

Things are happening in the Falklands camps. Things that fill regime critics with dread and loyalists with glee, even if neither groups knows what exactly is happening. The speculations are contradictory. Former prisoners know that every now and then, a bunch of camp inmates disappears. They may be working on chemical weapons, or entirely different forms of abuse.

Early Nazi concentration camps -- mostly holding the German opposition -- were quite brutal, often lethal, but inmates could also get released alive after some weeks or months, to spread the tales of terror and to return to the workforce.

  • $\begingroup$ During Stalin's Great Purge from 1937 to 1939, arrest quotas were sent to each district. The district secret police HAD to arrest, interrogate (=torture) the required number of people, which was much higher than the number of actual troublemakers. The interrogators got very "creative" in terms of torturing people to make them admit to wide-ranging conspiracies against the country's leaders. Robert Conquest's The Great Purge (especially the later editions) has lots of details.... $\endgroup$ – Henry Aug 2 '18 at 1:01

Because -- except in times of hot war -- such mild forms of anti-State behavior hasn't been a capital crime in the West in a long time. (In real life, after the Great Patriotic War, even the Soviets sent most of their State criminals to the Gulag instead of immediately executing them. During WW1 in the US, a lot of anti-war citizens were sent to jail, but exceedingly few -- if any -- were executed.)

IOW, it's just not done.


So my question is, why would the government exile people instead of execute?

It’s a little known fact that even the Nazi regime initially supported exiling Jews from Germany (e.g. to Madagascar, of all places), before the genocidal “Final Solution” was implemented in 1942, just three years before Germany lost the war, and nine years after the Nazis came to power.

For most of the existence of the Third Reich’s existence, Jews were officially expropriated, imprisoned, and exiled, not killed.

Now, to avoid the risk of being misunderstood and since this is a common canard amongst Holocaust deniers, let me clarify that even decades earlier, in Mein Kampf, Hitler was openly genocidal towards Jews. He wasn’t “slowly radicalised” over the years. Likewise, the Nazi leadership was extremely receptive to the idea of genocide.

Furthermore, for historical accuracy, mass killings by Nazis happened as early as 1939 — but these took place in occupied territory, and were war crimes.

So: Even in the regime that, to this day, serves as the archetype for fictional dystopian dictatorships, the official killing of thoroughly dehumanised minorities started relatively late. The “thoroughly dehumanised” part is important: even well before 1942, nobody in the Nazi leadership considered Jews to be valuable human life: They weren’t spared out of humanitarian or other ethical considerations, or out of timidity. It just seemed easier to exile them. And political opponents, if anything, had more of a standing in society.

It’s true that other dictatorships throughout history have taken to murder faster, and your dystopian government has been in power much longer than the Third Reich. Nevertheless, given the historical precedent of Nazi Germany, I don’t find it the least bit unbelievable that political opponents would be exiled rather than killed by dystopian government.

  • $\begingroup$ part was that the running the internment camps was breaking the back of the Nazi economy. (Ignoring the far greater damage of removing very good business people from that economy). Early on, they were so arrogant they felt they could absorb the costs, but as they started to experience defeat, they sobered up and realized they had a big economic problem. The final "solution" was to downsize and close the camps. $\endgroup$ – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 31 '18 at 17:25
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    $\begingroup$ Correct but this doesn't explain why forced exile was stopped (and in fact they started catching Jews hoping to escape). Rather, it was a conscious decision to murder all Jews. $\endgroup$ – Konrad Rudolph Jul 31 '18 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ Absolutely it was. I'm quite sure if Hitler had Thanos' gauntlet in 1926, he'd have fingersnapped all Jews away. However most Germans did not approve of genocide, and I gather Hitler risked having a bunch of useful men quit his government if he openly pushed genocide too hard. As economic realities set in, he used that as an excuse. $\endgroup$ – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 31 '18 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Harper Hitler's rationality was this: on his opinion, the Western civilization were controlled by the Jews. By threating them by killing all the Jews on his territory, he hoped to reach a peace with them (the conquering armies had been stopped on at least one side). The Jewry on the German territories were essentially hostages. The armies didn't stop, so he killed so many Jews as he only could. In his view, killing 6million people in order to save your whole civilization was reasonable, particularly if they are controlling the conquerors. $\endgroup$ – Gray Sheep Aug 1 '18 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Harper The hard things in the WW2 happened on the end, and so also the killing of the Jews happened on the end. It was also revenge, for that they did to his Germany (the destruction in Germany was already serious at the time, particularly with the English bombardment and after Stalingrad). $\endgroup$ – Gray Sheep Aug 1 '18 at 3:24

It's a dystopian government, so of course the The Rebels are also government employees. The Rebels cause mayhem, and good citizens dislike disturbance so they look for protection by the Government. The Rebels will attract rebels, channel and contain their activities, and, when convenient, expend a few rebels for show trials. The rebels get sent to a secluded place where they are forced to spend their time laboring for the public good, churning out children for the childless elites or the Secret Service breeding grounds that are orphanages, and being brainwashed to later possibly serve in the lower levels of The Rebels.

The feedback into The Rebels might also be a nice plot hook for an eventual glimpse of hope.

This is pretty much 1984, though.


There are too many dissidents.

If you have a few revolutionaries, you can execute them. When it gets to the point where you would need a stadium-size mass execution every week, that doesn't make good PR. Even a dystopian government understands that there are limits.

So you send them away, to work camps (many historic oppressive governments did that). This way you don't lose their productivity to your economy, you can keep them under control, you can weed out those who just got swept up in some nonsense in their youth and those who are true hardcore revolutionaries... well... life expectancy in those work camps is not exactly the same as on the mainland.


Heinlein created a universe where the USA did something like that. You could get exiled to a special region for people who could not be reconditioned into civilised citizens (iow citizens who are sheepishly doing as they're told and never challenge social norms).

That region (somewhere in the mid west I think) was walled off by massive concrete walls, dense steel grates in rivers, everything running deep underground, and a force field on top of it all to prevent escape by aircraft.

All the undesirables were exiled there rather than killed by a government priding itself on its humanity and moral high ground. What happened to them after was unknown, as nobody ever left and only the convicts ever entered. Until our hero of course :)


Brave New World

I'd have to read the book again, but as I remember, it goes like this:

The people who rebel are a minority of the populous. Therefore, their ideas can be made to look silly to the majority. The place they are exiled to is a theme park for the majority to laugh at them.


I explain how the communists did it.

First, they committed mass murders only in troubled times:

  • after anti-communist revolutions (there was many)
  • to supress anti-communist resistance (there was lesser, but they existed)
  • before, during and after wars (mainly WW2)
  • if there were an instability in the system (like Stalin's 1937 purge)

In "ordinary" times, simple existential threat was enough for the majority of the population. The others were sent to prison (or into psychiatric treatment for their "political delusions").

The important thing is: it was not so because the system had been so nice. It was exactly so brutal and opressive, as always. They becaume "nicer" only because they didn't need executions any more to control the society. Existential threat was enough.

In the rare cases, mainly for induvidual, hopeless, single-person attacks, the System was exactly so cruel as always (execution already for the preparation, or suspected preparation to commit "terrorism").

Thus, one possible reason is that they simple don't need to execute them.

However, it is a bad reason.

Such people, knowing dangerous secrets, and hostile against the communist rule, simply disappeared or died in an "accident" already for much lesser. For example, translators knowing about what the rulers of the communist states talked between each other.

In the case of this man, the most likely result had been a similar "accident" and not an exile.

In the communism, people mainly never was allowed to leave the country. They knew very well, that likely they wouldn't come back. Particularly not with state secrets.

"Exile" had been such a "punishment" which were the most far from the psychology of the System.

"Internal exile" was rare, but possible:

  • Millions of people were sent to labour camps in the CCCP. In many cases, it was essentially a "slow execution". It belongs more to the mass execution category (the total death toll of the CCCP labour camps is estimated from millions to 20million).
  • There were disgraced, high-level party members, whose execution had been impractical or the System didn't want to do that on various reasons (for example, they were positive symbols in their "shining" period). An example is Matyas Rakosi, sent into such exile for being unable to avoid the 1956 revolution againt the communist system.

An example of external exile was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He was exiled because he got a Nobel Prize while living in a communist labour camp. It had been problematic for the System, to execute a Nobel Prize winner or to hold him in the camps, but they had no place also in the Soviet society. Thus, he was deprived from his Soviet citizenship, and was sent to the US (where he lived until his death). But it was such an uncommon thing, that doing this has required the decision of the Politbüro ("political committee", officially the committe of the communist party to decide the political strategy of the party. De facto, they were the small group of the real rulers of the communist country).

Thus, this man would die in an "accident".

The only reason for the System to keep him alive, if his death, even as accident, would be a PR disaster. PR is important to demoralize the enemy (not the working class, but their rulers). If he is well-known on the other side, and the other side would get a significant PR advantage, then it might be possible that they don't kill him, only hide him. But for a not well-known man, there is no reason to keep him alive. It was not the nature of the system.

  • $\begingroup$ My character was formerly a soldier $\endgroup$ – DT Cooper Aug 1 '18 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertPaul It was not enough, it had been an aggrevating circumstance. For anything attacking them with weapons, or suspected with it, or capable to do it, they could think exclusively in execution. There was a mining engineer who committed a hopeless attack with explosives against a train, without human casualties (or even injury). He was executed. It happened in the sixties, in a relatively peaceful period. $\endgroup$ – Gray Sheep Aug 1 '18 at 3:35
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertPaul He was a well-known football player and also a police office in the fifties. It was a more opressive period, but he only tried to escape a communist country. He was trapped by hidden agents and executed. At the time, there was an internal rule on the communist courts, that anybody trying to escape with weapons, should be executed. He was executed despite that he was internationally famous. $\endgroup$ – Gray Sheep Aug 1 '18 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ But, He was in the battle squad that fought the battle of South Africa in 2014. $\endgroup$ – DT Cooper Aug 1 '18 at 3:39
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertPaul He fighted on the communist side on the Spanish civil war of the 30s. Later he became the interior minister of the communist Hungary. He lost an internal power fight with the other rulers of the country. He was given a show trial, where it was said to him: if he confesses all of his "crimes", he will be given an internal exile in the Sovietunion. This confession made possible his execution. $\endgroup$ – Gray Sheep Aug 1 '18 at 3:42

Rebels are often someone important

And you don't want your ruling class to see their friends getting beheaded, that's saving up trouble for the future. Also people of this class have something to lose in terms of social standing when in exile and would need to be supported by a foreign power or overseas allies to maintain that. It allows you to see your distant enemies more clearly.

It's important here to distinguish between a rebel and a recalcitrant peasant. Peasants aren't important and can happily be executed or otherwise posted off to labour camps and worked to death.

Exile allows for rehabilitation

Or even just a local change of policy. You don't want execute people who could be useful in the future, you never know when you might need a new king for example. Last year's rebels could be next year's government and you don't want to be the administrator who put all their friends to the sword. Exile them, keep tabs on them, and you can recall them when the game changes and send the next round into exile.


The government of the UFS has come to the conclusion that rebel activists are potentially useful later on. They've got initiative and ability, so the idea is to exile them to somewhere bleak, with bland and not-quite-sufficient food, and every so often offer to parole them with the condition of service to the State.

Alternatively, Bob and Alice have abilities that would be very useful in case of a war or other foreseeable disaster. Stalin pulled an awful lot of military officers out of the Gulag system when Germany attacked.

  • $\begingroup$ Good answer! I would also cite the example of Nelson Mandela. The South African government apparently strongly considered executing him after he pleaded guilty at the Rivonia Trial and admitted to all the evidence against him. But the US (yes the "fascist" US!) recommended AGAINST killing Mandela, telling the South African government that they might need him somewhere down the road if the anti-apartheid struggle became too powerful. And sure enough it did and Mandela was released and even became President. $\endgroup$ – Henry Aug 2 '18 at 1:20

Because the two regimes are waging propaganda wars against one another, so well known dissidents can't be killed because the opposing side would use that as evidence of the brutality of the regime they oppose. Such information may be used to destabilize regimes, cause civil unrest, and so they ship the well known dissidents off somewhere from whence they cannot escape, and where they can't cause any problems -- for a few years at which point they die from "natural" causes, accidents etc.

Keeping some dissidents alive for a while enables the regime to trot them out in the face of accusations as proof of their own benevolence.

The Falklands is nominally independent but really a satellite or puppet state with the US. This gives a veneer of truthfulness to their "exile". Alternatively they are exiled to some puppet state and escape from their to the Falklands as the security is much more lax in the puppet state. Add in a dose of bureaucratic inefficiency mentioned elsewhere.. slow paperwork, miscommunication to explain why security was lax maybe.


Thinking simply perhaps it could be as simple as implanting tracking devices within the rebels so that they can locate the rebels base. This could be done as an "immunization" shot done to the Rebels before being released.

The surveillance aspect you describe SCREAMS this would absolutely be a possibility. In the governments mind all rebels are like cockroaches when there is one there is many, release these few today to lead them to more tomorrow. Maybe not to take them out, but rather to keep an eye on them.

Plus government could do the move in an effort to prevent martyrdom, something which can fuel an uprising, which they would not be willing to allow.

Hope it helps. Enjoy!


As a variant on the "someone important" idea, the dissidents are someone "useful." They have technical skills, knowledge perhaps, something you don't want to lose permanently from your institutional or collective talent pool... but they are too inconvenient to simply leave free. The other traditional alternative here is sequestration in a high security facility, but this gets expensive. Stick them on the Falklands, airdrop supplies, and you have them out of the way, but you can always grab them later.


I have heard of a concept called "the good enemy": Convince the populace that they are under threat, and then propose to take measures against that threat at the low cost of a liberty or two being curtailed.

For instance, looking at how this latest traitor rewarded The Leader's clemency by scurrying away to conspire with all the other traitors that have been working to undermine the UFS, surely nobody would mind if the penalties for subversives were made a bit harsher.

Maybe with a bit of careful manipulation of language in the reporting of the trial, people that were actually there could be coaxed to remember it was Rivers himself that delivered the kind-of-slimy final plea for clemency at the trial. It is simply one less thread to unravel the whole thing by when Rivers was genuinely exiled.


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