Drawing on untapped sources in the Russian police and foreign affairs archives, Lohr s research is grounded in case studies of immigration, emigration, naturalization, and loss of citizenship among individuals and groups, including Jews, Muslims, Germans, and other minority populations. Lohr explores how reform of citizenship laws in the 1860s encouraged foreigners to immigrate and conduct business in Russia. For the next half century, citizenship policy was driven by attempts to modernize Russia through intensifying its interaction with the outside world. But growing suspicion toward non-Russian minorities, particularly Jews, led to a reversal of this openness during the First World War and to a Soviet regime that deprived whole categories of inhabitants of their citizenship rights.
Lohr sees these Soviet policies as dramatically divergent from longstanding Russian traditions and suggests that in order to understand the citizenship dilemmas Russia faces today including how to manage an influx of Chinese laborers in Siberia we must return to pre-Stalin history.
Eric Lohr is Susan E. Lehrman Chair of Russian History and Culture at American University.
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