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

In: Central Asian Affairs
View More View Less
  • 1 Indiana University – Bloomington

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


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.

  • 3

    Nikolas Rose and Peter Miller, Governing the Present: Administering Economic, Social and Personal Life (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2009). This concept is drawn in part from Bruno Latour, “Visualization and Cognition: Thinking with Eyes and Hands,” Knowledge and Society: Studies in the Sociology of Culture Past and Present 6, no. 140 (1986): 1–40.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8

    Jane Caplan and John Torpey, Documenting Individual Identity: The Development of State Practices in the Modern World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9

    Ishan Ashutosh and Alison Mountz, “Migration Management for the Benefit of Whom? Interrogating the Work of the International Organization for Migration,” Citizenship Studies, 15, no. 1 (2011): 21–38; Michel-Rolph Trouillot, “The Anthropology of the State in the Age of Globalization: Close Encounters of the Deceptive Kind,” Current Anthropology, 42, no. 1 (2001): 125–138.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10

    Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977).

  • 15

    Madeleine Reeves, “The Black List: On Infrastructural Indeterminacy and its Reverberations,” in Infrastructures and Social Complexity (forthcoming), 5.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16

    Nicolas P. De Genova, “Migrant ‘Illegality’ and Deportability in Everyday Life,” Annual Review of Anthropology, 31 (2002): 438.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20

    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).

  • 24

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

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29

    Participant observation, March 2013.

  • 33

    Participant observation, January 2013.

  • 47

    Participant observation, January 2013.

  • 51

    Participant observation, January 2013.

  • 52

    David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 152 57 4
Full Text Views 161 4 0
PDF Views & Downloads 12 2 0