Migrants and the Russian State in the 20th Century: Opportunities and Limitations
This article continues to examine the issue of ‘escapees’ raised by L. Siegelbaum and L. P. Moch in their work Escaping in Twentieth-Century Russia. In the author’s opinion, during most of the 20th century the Russian state reacted most strongly to violations of the political regime, often preferring not to notice economic migration. This was due to the carefully concealed inability of the authorities to control the population totally. Violations of the regime of territorial movement by individual migrants were possible due to the uncoordinated actions of central and local authorities. With the gradual liberalisation of the Soviet system in the second half of the twentieth century, migrants were increasingly able to move legally. Refusing to coercively regulate migratory flows led to the displacement of the political factor in migrations by the economic one, which in turn caused a narrowing of ‘autocratic’ space.