Uchyot and Foucault: Drug Users and Migrants in Post-Soviet Central Asia and Russia

In: Central Asian Affairs
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  • 1 Dr., Faculty of Social Cultural Anthropology, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany
  • | 2 Dr.des., Addiction Research Institute, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences and Department of Public Health, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany
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In this paper, we unpack the uchyot (“registration”) system using Foucault’s regime-based approach. Uchyot is a Soviet tool for controlling populations by requiring them to register personal information and then sharing this information with the relevant state institutions. This paper explores how uchyot is used to control drug users in Uzbekistan and Central Asian migrants in Russia. It argues that social and economic pressures, combined with strict policies, push unwanted citizens and migrants to engage in risky behaviors or into the shadows of informality and illegality.

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