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Movement and the Transformation of Siberia in the Eighteenth Century

Alison K. Smith

Keywords: agriculture; exile; laws; migration; peasantry; social change


Although histories of migration to Siberia describe the eighteenth century as a period of less movement than either the seventeenth or nineteenth centuries, the regulation of such mobility evolved considerably over the course of the century. This article looks at three foci of legislation: the act of getting to Siberia, the act of fixing oneself in an official status in Siberia, and the legislation of forced and targeted mobility. In all these areas, decrees show a change from viewing Siberia as a distinctly different space with its own rules and exceptions to a space more fully integrated with the larger system of governance in the empire and more fully understood as a part of Russia proper, not simply as a mercantile colony.

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