Defectors: How the Illicit Flight of Soviet Citizens Built the Borders of the Cold War World

Oxford Univ. Jul. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780197546871. $34.95. HIST
Since World War II, there has been a flow of Russians moving across borders that are constantly changing in permeability and risk. Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Director Scott (history, Univ. of Kansas; Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire) distinguishes between migrants and defectors in order to clarify the postwar changes in who was considered a legitimate traveler and who posed a serious threat to the losing country. The term “defector” is a postwar political term to categorize political decisions made about migrants. Many often returned to their original country, and in the case of Russia, are generally welcomed back into the fold, often blurring the popular vision of searching for freedom vs. tyranny.
VERDICT This diplomatic history is dense and detailed. Best suited for academic libraries with collections in modern European history.
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