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Russians have a reputation for xenophobia, that is, it’s said they don’t much like foreigners. According to Eric Lohr‘s new book, Russian Citizenship: From Empire to Soviet Union (Harvard University Press, 2012), this reputation is at once deserved and undeserved. It’s true that at various moments in Russian history, foreigners have not been permitted to enter Russia, let alone become citizens (or, in an earlier period, “subjects”) of the state. But, intermittently, the Russian state actively recruited foreigners, and especially foreign experts and capital, to aid in economic development. In the period after the Great Reforms, for example, the Russian state actively encouraged foreign investment and immigration. Late Imperial Russia seemed to be on a kind of glide path to a modern notion of citizenship. As Eric explains, all that ended with the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917 (with catastrophic economic results). Listen in.
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