Citizenship in the Border Regions of the Russian Empire

This project examines the introduction of Russian citizenship politics in the provinces (oblasts) of Kars and Batum, granted to Russia through the Treaty of Berlin. On the one hand, it studies how different religious and ethnic groups dealt with this shift and the Russian administration; on the other, it examines how transregional and transimperial connections and mobilities shaped the Russian governance’s functioning.

The Caucasus’s political borders from 1856 to 1918. Processed in the Cartographic Department of the Kgl. Preuß. Landesaufnahme [Royal Prussian Land Survey]. July 1918. Geograph. Apparat Univ. Greifswald B2205.

Russian Imperial Rule and Citizenship in the Southern Caucasus (1878–1914)
The Russo-Turkish War of 1877/1878 concluded with two treaties (San Stefano and Berlin, both signed 1878), in the wake of which Russia established two administrative units, the provinces of Kars and Batum, in previously Ottoman regions. These provinces were administered by a military-civil administration (voenno-narodnoe upravlenie), a form already previously utilised in conspicuous (or untameable) Caucasus regions.

Alongside the immediate necessity of upholding order in these provinces, Russia also strove to convey the local population into a civil administration according to imperial law and formally integrate them as citizens. With a comparative analysis of other Eurasian border regions, this project examines the political measures connected to this transfer and integration and studies in detail the conflict-laden geopolitical context in which they were created and shaped vis-à-vis bordering powers (imperial and other) in the region.

Moreover, the project examines the border population’s diverse responses and reactions to these policies, their social and economic survival strategies and the configurations of their political loyalties, as they were closely connected to, and shaped by, the transregional and transimperial connections and mobilities, which also determined the Russian Empire’s centralising and reforming policies in the border regions.

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