Tajikistan’s Bureaucratic Management of Exclusion: Responses to the Russian Reentry Ban Database

In: Central Asian Affairs
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  • 1 Indiana University – Bloomington

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This article analyzes the consequences of the Russian Federation’s introduction of an electronic database that dynamically generates lists of individuals with reentry bans, with a focus on its effect on the Tajik migration management bureaucracy and Tajik migrant workers. Countering standard narratives about the passive citizenry of authoritarian states, it demonstrates how Tajik citizens change the emphasis in the bureaucracy through their everyday encounters with civil servants and bureaucrats. However, this is not a clear case of subversion or subaltern agency, but rather an engagement that remains structured by capitalist needs for expendable, disciplined, and most importantly deportable alien labor.

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    As initially developed in 2007, the State System for Electronic Migration Registration did not include provisions for the tracking of Russian citizens’ movements or registrations. While all Russian citizens are also required to register their addresses with the Russian state, this information has been traditionally held in separate databases under the authority of institutions such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs (mia). In the past few years, however, and especially from 2015 on, the fms has appeared to take on further authority over information about Russian citizens. In some cases, its databases now appear to encompass the movements and activities of Russians, although the degree of real overlap is unclear. See, for example, the website of the fms office in Arkhangel’skaia Oblast, which specifically lists both citizens and non-citizens as part of the System, http://www.29.fms.gov.ru/about/Informacionnie_sistemi/Gismu (accessed April 30, 2016).

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    Madeleine Reeves, “The Black List: On Infrastructural Indeterminacy and its Reverberations,” in Infrastructures and Social Complexity (forthcoming).

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