The Genesis of Ethnically Motivated Control in Russia: Keeping Watch on the Poles in the Nineteenth Century
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Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Publication date: 2020-07-13
This paper reviews the genesis of ethnically motivated control in the nineteenth-century Russian Empire. We determined that people of Polish descent were the main target of the earliest examples of the practice of such types of control. “Watching the Poles” differed from classic police surveillance and was closer to more modern intelligence practices: an entire category of population, rather than specific individuals, were being controlled. The practice was not passive either; it involved the Imperial government’s active intrusion into the private lives of people of Polish descent. This allows us to view the Empire’s attitude toward Poles as an early example of population policy and control over the Poles as one of the tools of executing this policy in practice.