The Russian-American Company (head office: St. Petersburg) monopolized transit and commerce with the Russian American colonies and outposts. Almost the only people carried on Company voyages were employees, a few of which deserted, or attempted to desert, in California. How did the Company respond to employee desertion?
Winston Lee Sarafian's thesis "Russian-American company employee policies and practices, 1799-1867" describes company discipline for various offenses including desertion.
The company did seek to recapture deserters, including paying natives who returned company employees, but many of them got away. Among those who were apprehended and whose punishment was specified:
- Fedor Vagin was sent to work on the Pribylov Islands
- Polikarp Ignatiev was flogged
- Nikita Karaulov and Nikolai Ivanov were flogged and assigned to clean streets
- Nikolai Ivanov (second time) was flogged