By Peter Gatrell

"... a sign contribution to a becoming literature on a phenomenon that has develop into tragically pervasive within the twentieth century.... This hugely unique account combines exemplary empirical examine with the really appropriate program of diversified the right way to discover the far-reaching ramifications of 'a entire empire walking.'" -- Vucinich Prize citation"An vital contribution not just to fashionable Russian heritage but in addition to an ongoing repositioning of Russia in broader ecu and international ancient processes.... elegantly written... hugely innovative." -- Europe-Asia stories Drawing on formerly unused archival fabric in Russia, Latvia, and Armenia and on insights from social and demanding conception, Peter Gatrell considers the origins of displacement and its political implications and gives an in depth research of humanitarian tasks and the relationships among refugees and the groups within which they settled.

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Additional info for A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia during World War I (Indiana-Michigan Series in Russian and East European Studies)

Sample text

Anxieties about the consequences of refugeedom for public health and public order spoke additionally of antagonism and con®ict between educated society and the tsarist state. Public activists claimed the right to become involved and to criticize the absence of a clear and coherent social policy. Liberal ¤gures in local government, together with elected parliamentary representatives, professional associates, and technical experts, all used the plight of the refugees for their own purposes: to claim additional resources from central government, to assert professional competence and integrity, and, more generally, to demonstrate that social welfare and individual freedom could be delivered only by a reformed polity.

Assuming that 500,000 peasant households were caught up in the process of displacement, the value of assets that were lost during the war amounted—at a conservative estimate—to at least 500 million rubles. 139 Some contemporary observers affected bemusement at the belongings that refugees managed to bring with them. One old man was found staggering along with pieces of a double bed; another carried a large box containing a few chickens; a peasant family arrived in Petrograd with eight large sacks of rye.

115 Other reports of refugee movements painted a depressing picture of military incompetence and brutality, compounded by the lack of a responsible and clear-headed civilian counterweight to the army command. ”116 Meanwhile, the tsarist government issued regulations designed to curb the “spontaneous” ®ow of refugees from the western borderlands to the Russian interior. Refugees were warned not to listen to rumors, but instead to trust of¤cial announcements. “Too precipitous a ®ight may sometimes undermine and deprive one of the assistance that is made available to refugees.

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