Chinese Labor Migration to Russia during the First World War Cover Image

Трудовая миграция китайцев в Россию в годы Первой мировой войны
Chinese Labor Migration to Russia during the First World War

Author(s): Michail Viktorovich Khodyakov, Zhiqing Zhao
Subject(s): History, Human Geography, Local History / Microhistory, Social history, Recent History (1900 till today)
Published by: Издательство Исторического факультета СПбГУ
Keywords: Harbin; Chinese Eastern Railway; D. L. Horvath; First World War; Chinese workers; labor migration

Summary/Abstract: The article, based on archival materials, discloses the process of hiring of Chinese workers and their transport from Harbin to Russia during the First World War. The main objective, pursued by the Russian government, was an attempt to alleviate the labor crisis in the economy. That policy of organized import of Chinese workers into Russia had a lot of opponents. Despite this, the Russian government recognized the need to “temporarily” allow free passage of the borders of Russia by Chinese nationals who were hired to work in the steel and coal companies. By the resolutions of the Council of Ministers the passport privilege was provided for recruited workers for the crossing of the border. By 1916, government circles were fully aware that the task of transporting a large number of Chinese in the European part of Russia would not be solved by none of the organizations created for this purpose. Minister of Finance P. L. Bark suggested to unite the efforts of all structures on hiring Chinese and their transportation to Russia. These functions were assigned to the control of the Chinese Eastern Railway and General D. L. Horvath. The city of Harbin became the main center for shipment of recruited Chinese workers to Russia and a special sanitary and observation post were established there. However, the management of the railway, that was in charge of the transportation of Chinese workers, faced with a large number of problems (organizational, medical, social) and was not fully prepared to solve it. However, during the years 1915–1917 over 74 000 Chinese workers passed through Harbin to Russia. They have been involved in railway construction and many industrial sites. However, this did not save the Russian economy from the impending collapse.

  • Issue Year: 7/2017
  • Issue No: 18
  • Page Range: 7-30
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: Russian