Irina Belova
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‘Human waves’
Refugees in Russia, 1914-18
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This chapter begins by describing the 'spontaneous' migration of the population of the Western Front areas of the Russian Empire at the outbreak of war in 1914 along with deportation of others, including Russian subjects. It examines the causes and consequences of mass movement of refugees that began in the summer of 1915, the efforts of the authorities to accommodate refugees in the rear and ensure their welfare. The chapter addresses the activities of public organisations before and after February 1917 and the activities of the main Soviet organisation for refugees after the Bolshevik revolution. After the change of power in February 1917 and the general democratisation of political life, refugee committees, including national committees, were reformed to include an elective element. After signing the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty, the Soviet government was obliged to prepare for the re-evacuation of prisoners of war and refugees on its territory.

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Europe on the move

Refugees in the era of the Great War


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