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Post-Cold War demilitarisation and 'Korean trading diaspora' in Vladivostok: The past and the present

Iijima, Y; (1999) Post-Cold War demilitarisation and 'Korean trading diaspora' in Vladivostok: The past and the present. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis will examine historical changes of Asian traders in Vladivostok from the mid nineteenth century up to the present in the 1990s. The city was a military post, forbidden to foreign traders under the Soviet regime. The duality of cosmopolitanism and militarism determined the city's history either with an open border economy or a closed militarised economy. With Stalinism in the 1930s, system of "war-making" socialist state (hereafter, WMSS) destroyed the cosmopolitan nature of the city. Vladivostok was cut off from East Asia and became a recipient of the state subsidies and a power base of the centralised control to maintain military and border guard deployments. Stalin deported Han Chinese and forcibly relocated Koreans to Central Asia due to Stalin's belief in Asians' secessionist conspiracy in the Soviet Far East. In 1992 and onwards, the city was opened again, and Chinese citizens entered the city as traders, though their number is little known. The thesis will explore links between the dismantling of the WMSSs system (in the Russian Far East and Northeast China) and the reappearing Chinese Korean traders (traders with Chinese citizenship of Korean decent) in the city. A primary research in this work is an original fieldwork 1995-96 which took place in the Chinese Market in the city. The thesis will discuss through its findings a reason for reemergence of Asian traders in the city. Major questions are : (1) what is a link between transformation of the WMSS system under the post-Cold War demilitarisation and impact on the city especially, demography, as seen in the reappearance of Asian traders, and (2) the decline of the former system of a militarised economy and the rise of a hypothesised "Korean trading diaspora". It will be argued that declining of the former system caused effects in three dimensions : (1) state's retreat in "demographic engineering" to protect its homeland from an influx of outsiders, (2) casualisation of centralised state distribution and (3) casualisation and tertiarisation of state employment. With the disintegration of the former system, the state's system of compensation and 2 subsidisation of peripheral settlements retreated in the periphery. The rise of ethnic "merchant capitalism" in part replaced the former system of centralised state distribution and employment. With readjustment of distorted economic structure (bias towards heavy manufacturing) and a rise of consumer market, shift in import sourcing of clothings and textile products caused the reemergence of Asian traders in Vladivostok. The former system used to provided the population in the two regions (the Russian Far East and Northeast China) with job guarantees and essential consumer products for living. The dismantling, however, produced decrease in opportunities for state employment, and increase in private trade and other casual jobs in order that individuals should gain alternative or supplementary means of income for economic survival (a rise of a "bazaar economy"). It is under this retreat of a militarised economy in the three dimensions at least partly that people in the two regions gained access to incomes and to consumer goods and services, and this situation generated some kind of trading diaspora, and hence, influx of Asian traders into the city.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Post-Cold War demilitarisation and 'Korean trading diaspora' in Vladivostok: The past and the present
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123389
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