Between welcomed “foreigners with the capital” and dangerous “exploiters of the Russians”: Russian subjecthood, inclusion, and exclusion of “foreign” merchants in the Far East of the Russian Empire
Aleksandr Turbin looks at the ethnically diversified merchant communities of the far east of Russia, investigating the means with which Russian citizenship was acquired, and their evolution, within the dynamics of inclusion animating the Priamurye region during the thirty years preceding the war. He pays particular attention to the rhetoric of the discourse concerning the inclusion and exclusion of individuals on the grounds of local, national, racial and other forms of classification. To understand more fully the nature and role to be attributed to Russian citizenship, the author made a comparison not only of local or regional contexts, but also of global processes, by considering the relationship between elements present within the empire and by measuring them against those of other empires of the time. This approach reveals the constant search for alternative languages with which to discuss the relationship between sovereignty, political community and individuals, bringing into question a teleological narrative on the transformation of Russian citizenship.