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Title: British policy towards Russian refugees in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution
Author: Multanen, Elina Hannele
ISNI:       0000 0001 3431 0742
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis examines British government policy towards Russian refugees in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Civil War in Russia. As a consequence of these two events, approximately one million Russians opposing the Bolshevik rule escaped from Russia. The Russian refugee problem was one of the major political and humanitarian problems of inter-war Europe, affecting both individual countries of refuge, as well as the international community as a whole. The League of Nations had been formed in 1919 in order to promote international peace and security. The huge numbers of refugees from the former Russian Empire, on the other hand, were seen as a threat to the international stability. Consequently, the member states of the League for the first time recognised the need for international co-operative efforts to assist refugees, and the post of High Commissioner for Russian Refugees was established under the auspices of the League. Significantly, this action marked the beginning of the international refugee regime; the active co-operation of states in the field of refugee assistance. European countries, in addition to international co-operative efforts on behalf of Russian refugees, also took individual actions for their assistance by offering them asylum in their countries. However, there were big differences in the policies of various European countries. Britain had long enjoyed a reputation of being a country of liberal refuge, where political refugees and immigrants could find asylum. This liberalism, however, started to be undermined at the beginning of the 20th century, particularly since the First World War. Although a principle that political refugees should be considered separately remained, my thesis will argue that this rule was not followed in the case of Russian refugees. From the very beginning the British government took a rigid attitude against the admission of Russian refugees to Britain, and strict provisions were set for the entry of individual refugees. Because of this, the number of Russian refugees in Britain was much smaller than in many other European countries, for example France or Germany. The policy of the British government towards Russian refugees thus offers a good example of the general decline of liberalism in Britain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bolshevik; Civil war