Soviet administrative authorities’ management of witnesses while establishing foreign citizenship in the Southern Urals in the second half of the 1920s

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This article focuses on the reconstruction of the institution of witnesses created in the Soviet state in the course of regulating foreign citizenship issues in the second half of the 1920s in the Southern Urals. An attempt was made to divide the witnesses into types in terms of corresponding categories of foreign citizens managed by Soviet authorities. The study reconstructs the use of witnesses, primarily, in the procedure for resumption of Russian citizenship by people who emigrated abroad during the collapse of the Russian Empire and then wished to return. Furthermore, witnesses were used in the process of granting Soviet citizenship to optants residing in the USSR; and finally, while recognizing as foreign citizens the people who declared themselves as such but had no national documents to prove. All of the above categories of foreigners needed witness statements for subsequent Soviet citizenship granting or expulsion from the USSR. The author analyzes the practices of the use of witnesses by the administrative authorities in the yet unformed legal procedure of «identification parades» in the 20s of the XXth century that subsequently were incorporated in the Code of Criminal Procedure. The article provides statistical data on the number of applications from foreigners of Troitsk and Chelyabinsk districts for resumption of Russian citizenship; granting Soviet citizenship to optants; on recognition as foreign citizens of the people who declared themselves as such.


Foreign citizenship, witnesses, witness statements, soviet citizenship, identification parade

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IDR: 147236587   |   DOI: 10.14529/ssh220101

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