The event will be held in English
Authoritarian shifts in the Russian regime have prompted several waves of emigration from the country since 2012. While most of these migrants leave in response to a changing political and societal climate, some of them were already politically active prior to leaving the homeland and interpret their own migration mainly in this context. These individuals can be referred to as ‘political migrants’ or ‘politically-induced migrants’. Thousands of activists, journalists, human rights defenders, participants of protests, political opponents, dissidents, critical academics and professionals have left Russia in search of other countries and contexts of living. Azerbaijan and Belarus, two other countries we focus on, have seen similar dynamics.
These waves of migration are associated with a new geography and trajectories of movement that depend on different factors. In many European Union states and post-Soviet countries, including Germany, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Georgia, new migrants self-organise and support and develop homeland-oriented activities.
The drastic political and global change brought about by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 draws our attention to Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced persons in Ukraine. Additionally, tens of thousands of people are currently fleeing from Russia to Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other countries.
There are many studies on political exile and emigration from authoritarian regimes in previous periods and different national contexts; the ‘new’ post-Soviet political migration, however, is a turbulent and rapidly changing process that is still under-researched and deserves more attention.
As part of our pilot project ‘Political migration from Russia and Azerbaijan’ at ZOiS, this workshop aims to identify the challenges researchers in this field can face and discuss appropriate methodological perspectives as well as concrete methods and instruments. We intend to focus on the following topics:
- a variety of approaches and methods used in recent studies of post-Soviet migration;
- the political dimensions of migration: political remittances, transnational political spaces, and migrant activism directed at the host and home societies;
- the new geography of migration and trajectories of movement;
- arrival in a new place and the different reactions of the host societies;
- definitions of political migration and different perspectives that help to answer the question: what is the ‘new’ political migration (legal frameworks, actors, discourses, personal perspectives)
- how we use these terms - exile, internally displaced people, forced migration, political/politically-induced migration, people at risk, etc. – and, more importantly, where they overlap;
- the characteristics of these new flows of migration and new groups of migrants;
- the advantages of a comparative perspective (learning from cases of political migration not related to Eastern Europe).
The goal of this workshop is to bring together sociologists, political scientists and anthropologists working in migration studies and encourage them to share their experiences of empirical research on migration. Starting with inputs by Olga Bronnikova (Université Grenoble Alpes) on Russian activists on the move and Tatjana Baraulina (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees/BAMF) on vulnerable migrants in Germany, the workshop will be followed by a round-table discussion. In the final part, Tatiana Golova and Tsypylma Darieva will present the preliminary design of the pilot research planned for 2022– 2023.