From Humanitarian Relief to Soviet “Development”? The Rise and Fall of the “Nansen” Resettlement Schemes
Paying attention to the evolution, development and consequences of these resettlement schemes highlights the need for a more nuanced approach to the place of the Soviet Union in histories of inter-war humanitarianism and the international management of displacement. This paper examines the extent to which these co-operative efforts represented a shift from existing short term approaches to solve the ‘Armenian problem’ through the provision of aid. Although the ultimate aims of the League and the USSR differed radically, they shared a willingness to instrumentalise the refugee population as a means to bring about economic and agricultural development. These approaches, I suggest, were shaped by shared legacies of imperialism and the emergence of a new, specifically modern relationship between states and populations. This paper therefore highlights both the connections and differences between Soviet practices in the South Caucasus and the transnational inter-war discourses and practices of humanitarianism.
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