Skip to navigation – Site map
Dynamiques révolutionnaires

War, Refugeedom, Revolution

Understanding Russia’s refugee crisis, 1914‑1918
La guerre, les réfugiés, la révolution ou comment comprendre la crise des réfugiés en Russie, 1914‑1918
Peter Gatrell
p. 123‑146

Abstracts

This article examines the refugee crisis in Russia in the era of war and revolution. It considers the historiography and the reasons for historiographical neglect; and asks questions about its political, social and cultural significance. The refugee crisis posed fundamental questions about the scope, purpose and outcomes of attempts to manage people who were on the move on an unprecedented scale and in an unforeseen manner. The article also asks to what extent refugees were able to express themselves, whether to lament the circumstances leading to their displacement, to criticise the arrangements made on their behalf, or to articulate a sense of their future. The first part of the article discusses some of the extant source material, including anglophone accounts. It goes on to consider the politics and practice of relief work, including by semi‑official bodies such as the Tatiana Committee, by public organisations (notably Zemgor), and by new national committees that claimed the refugee on behalf of the “nation.” Attention is also devoted to the ramifications of population displacement in 1917 and beyond, including the repatriation of refugees. The final section addresses directly the issue of personal testimony, and who claimed the right to speak on behalf of the refugee.

Top of page

Excerpt

Cairn

Full-text article available to subscribers or on a "pay per view" basis. It will be available on this URL in January 2021.
Read it

Plan

Historiography and sources
Distant suffering: contemporary Anglophone views of the refugee crisis
Contours of crisis and relief efforts
Refugees, revolution and repatriation: 1917 and beyond
Refugee voices
Conclusions

First lines

Human mobility has long preoccupied historians of Russia. Studies abound on the scale, dynamics and significance of internal migration in tsarist, Soviet and post‑Soviet Russia. Forced migration in the Stalin era has been a markedly fruitful field, but the richness of work on other periods should not be discounted. State practices and migrants’ experiences have been the subject of significant recent interventions pointing to the role played by mobility in Russia in relation to broader historical processes. Lewis Siegelbaum and Leslie Page Moch focus as much on what they call “repertoires of migration” as they do upon institutional arrangements. In another important contribution, John Randolph and Eugene Avrutin suggest that “what happens ‘on the move’ can help us appreciate the intersection of many political, social, and cultural forces within the past and analyse their interplay without asserting the absolute supremacy of one over the other.”

These myriad forces were certainly evid...

Top of page

References

Electronic reference

Peter Gatrell, « War, Refugeedom, Revolution », Cahiers du monde russe [Online], 58/1-2 | 2017, Online since 01 January 2019, Connection on 21 September 2017. URL : http://monderusse.revues.org/10073

Top of page

Author

Peter Gatrell

University of Manchester, peter.gatrell@manchester.ac.uk

By this author

Top of page

Copyright

© École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris.

Top of page