Flying Away From the Bolshevik Winter: Soviet Refugees Across the Southern Borders (1917-1939)


Migration is one of the focuses of our Institute’s activities. We study various forms and manifestations of people’s mass dislocation, voluntary/forced migration, refugees’ crises and the practices of handling these processes. In this regard, the aftermath of WWI, and that of the Russian October Revolution and of the subsequent Civil War, namely the case of refugees from Soviet Russia during the interwar period is of particular interest due to its scales, great impact on world politics and its underlying role in the inception of contemporary international refugee institutions. There are extensive works about Russian émigrés in Europe during the interwar period and practically nothing as regards to Soviet refugees (including significant numbers of Caucasian and Central Asian Muslims) in West and South Asia during the same period. So this project will fill in the existing gap in contemporary scholarship. In early 2016 Dr Volkov and I began to gather primary sources for this project the main output of which will be our joint monograph on Soviet refugees in West and South Asia. Since the start of our cooperation, I have consulted a variety of Iranian, Azerbaijani, Turkish, and Central Asian archives. In 2016 and 2017, Dr Volkov carried out protracted research in Russian, British and French political, military and social history archives too. Dr Volkov’s contribution to the primary-source base of the project is crucial also because of his knowledge of Russian, Persian, English and French. He will be needed in Amsterdam to make final cross-checking at the archive of the IISH, also including substantial Communist International (Comintern) collections in Russian and Persian. The writing of the manuscript has been underway since mid-2017. The first drafts of all chapters were exchanged in January 2019. We are now making the revision of the chapters and the cross-checking of sources. So Dr Volkov will particularly be needed for the final stage of the project. The proposed four-month period is vitally important in terms of Dr Volkov’s physical presence at the IISH for the archival cross-checking of our primary sources based on the IISH collections, the final tuning of the manuscript and preparing it for submission to Brill Publisher in May 2020.





Prof. dr. T. Atabaki

Verbonden aan

Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis


13/01/2020 tot 12/05/2020