Experiences in Russia of Kyrgyz and Ukrainian labor migrants: ethnic hierarchies, geopolitical remittances, and the relevance of migration theory

Theodore P. Gerber, Jane Zavisca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Many aspects of labor migration to Russia are consistent with different strands of general social science theories of migration. We illustrate how based on an account of migrant experiences drawn from focus groups we conducted with return migrants in Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. Participants discussed their motives for migrating, experiences in Russia, and the impact on their views of Russia. In contrast to the overwhelmingly negative portrayals that predominate in prior accounts, they report a diverse set of experiences. For many, appreciation for income earned in Russia is the most salient aspect of their time there, outweighing more negative aspects. Their views of Russia are generally positive, in part due to their perceptions of where they stand in Russia’s ethnic hierarchies. These findings suggest that Russia’s reputation benefits from migration through what we call geopolitical remittances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPost-Soviet Affairs
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Central Asia
  • ethnicity
  • geopolitics
  • migration
  • Russia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations

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