Speakers I–K

This page contains the names, abstracts and panel information for 20th annual Aleksanteri Conference participants with surnames beginning with letters I to K . Please see speakers A — D, E — H,  L — NO — RS and T— Z  on respective pages. Note also, that panels and roundtables covered by a single abstract are listed separately.

Securing the Future of Children and Youth in Russia: Uzbek Private Kindergartens and Schools in Osh, Kyrgyzstan

The purpose of this paper is to examine how Uzbek parents in Osh, Kyrgyzstan seek to make sense of their children’s future and act in ways that are acceptable to the state in response to the dramatic conflicts and political changes in Kyrgyzstan’s post- Soviet environment. In times of insecurity and rapid change brought about by conflict, the Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan are finding creative ways of building a better future for their children in Russia. My aim is to discuss the emotional aspects of the security generated by the parents, looking specifically at how expectations and hopes are created, together with feelings of protection and dependency.

Many Uzbeks prefer their children to study Russian from as early an age as possible, starting at kindergarten and continuing through Russian- language schools, in the hope that their children will later be able to study at the Russian higher educational institutions. The demand for places has incentivized Uzbek businessmen to open private kindergartens and schools, where they can appoint their own teachers. We see here how people collectively imagine a future and this imagining assumes a common form in the shape of learning the Russian language. In seeking to build a better future for their children in Russia, Uzbek parents engage in an alternative future- making process that expresses their feelings of ‘not belonging’ in Kyrgyzstan (Liu, 2012 ) in the face of insecurity and a lack of prospects.

The Role of Possessions in Adaptation to a New Life

Possessions provide valuable insights on how people present themselves and identify their membership in society. In migration, when people uproot their lives and adapt to another country, material objects from the place of their origin are likely to be especially meaningful and play a critical role in the understanding of immigrant identity. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of a new culture on the life of immigrants by comparing possessions that people take with them to Australia with that remain in their households years later. The focus is on immigrants who moved to Australia from Russia and Ukraine from the corresponding republics of the Soviet Union from 1980 to 2019. This study utilized qualitative research method. Questionnaires were the primary means for collecting data. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling. The data collection process also included the examination of online articles, blogs and forums where people suggest to each other what to bring to Australia.  

The following categories of possession symbolism were examined in the study: possessions that have (1) material, (2) personal and sentimental, as well as (3) ethnic meanings. Migration is linked to cultural, economic and personal changes and, therefore, in many cases it involves the revaluation of possessions and their functions. It was demonstrated that possessions often change their meanings: they can lose their material or personal significances and change their meanings from material to sentimental or ethnical. 

Aesthetic Political Economies of Care in the Migrant Metropolis

This paper analyses political economies of care in Russia’s migrant metropolises of St. Petersburg and Moscow. It highlights the role of various kinds of caring practices in the social reproduction of precarious migrant labour force. Methodologically, the paper braids together the following materials: solicited journals written by migrant workers, artistic renditions of the journals, a small survey about care practices, and academic literature on care and social reproduction. The paper includes verbal and visual accounts of instances of caring, struggles over care and lack of care. On this basis, it shows how racialized difference affects care practices and access to care. The paper highlights the importance of intersectional analyses that, in making claims about political economies of care, scrutinize vectors such as gender, race, class, and (dis)ability.
 

This paper is co-authored with Safina Khidjobova.

Circular Migration, Bad Governance and Neo-colonialism in Central Eurasia

This an attempt to make sense of the effects of circular migration and bad governance in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan (sending countries) as well as Russia (host country) and the emergence of a new colonial dependence. Up to 4-5 million migrants from these three countries are in Russia at any given time for labour migration, most of whom are with poor education and employed in low-skilled positions. Russia has a two-track policy towards this migration from former post-soviet countries, keeping open its doors for them and at the same time, in precarious conditions and with minimal conditions, supporting xenophobic attitude among Russians. Russian readiness to absorb millions of young unemployed has decreased the pressure in the sending countries, allowing the elite to benefit from the “rentier” economy with little incentive to modernise. Millions of migrants and their families are stuck in this conundrum, with dim perspectives for them and their children to enjoy their life to the full and realize their human potential.

This neo-colonialism, a comparatively new phenomenon since early 2000s, coincides with Russian economic development and increasingly hegemonic outlook as well as decreasing economic conditions in sending countries, due to (partly) bad governance. The difference from other colonial practices seems to be in the Russian attempts to keep these states as its satellites through different institutional (ODKB, EAEU) and non-institutional (inter-elite cooperation) dependencies.

The paper tries to bring together insights from anthropology of migration and the state, political science, critical geopolitics, governance, development and post-colonial studies, using ethnographic accounts and life stories of migrants, governmental statistics, media coverage and other secondary sources.
 

The Dynamic and the Key Reasons for the Big Exodus from Ukraine

The main goal of the paper presentation is to analyze the key trends in temporary labor migration, emigration and the brain drain from Ukraine after 2014. The paper is based on the analysis of the Ukrainian and European statistical data, and migration policies of Russia and EU countries. The situation with outmigration from Ukraine is catastrophic today. It`s not by chance Franck Düvell calls Ukraine “Europe’s Mexico” because, as he states, the level of migration from both countries is comparable. Ukraine would not have experienced such a daunting loss of labor and intellectual resources had the military crisis in Ukraine’s East and its economic fallout not coincided with the growing need of the Visegrád Four countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia – for a labor force to help develop their economies. Thus both push and pull factors are at work: the conflict with Russia acts to drive migration, while changes in the migration policies of Ukraine’s neighbors have opened their labor markets to Ukrainians. Broadly speaking, this two-pronged mechanism accounts for the mass outmigration of Ukrainians since 2014. The active growth in migration to Russia was observed in 2015–2016, but since 2017, its intensity began to decline. Better opportunities for migrant workers in other countries, particularly Poland, which pays a higher average salary than Russia does, have attracted Ukrainian workers and may be largely responsible for the sharp decline in labor migration to Russia. At the same time, the Visegrád Four countries do not yet have a single coherent migration policy. While countries, such as Poland and Slovakia are generally interested in attracting foreign workers and students, Hungary is focused on encouraging ethnic migration (here the Hungarian policy turns out to be a bit like Russia, which focuses on attracting compatriots), and the Czech Republic, similar to Germany, is oriented toward a highly skilled labor force. Changes in the German migration policy and the growing need for Hungary in the workforce suggest that in the future we will observe a competition for the Ukrainian labor force between Germany and Poland, on the one hand, and between the Visegrád Four countries, on the other. Our research shows that the intensification of migration processes in Ukraine, caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, has led to an increase in the external migration of Ukrainian citizens in all areas of migration that were formed by 2014. At the same time, under the influence of socio-economic factors, there has been a trend toward the transformation of migration flow, namely, a decrease in the number of migrants going to Russia and an increase in the number of those traveling to EU countries. Between the West and the East, Ukrainians are increasingly making a choice in favor of the West. These choices are not based on ideological reasons but are in response to the situation in the labor market.

When the IOM Encounters the Field: Localising the Migration and Development Paradigm in Tajikistan

The idea of linking migration and development became one of contemporary development paradigms, that is ordering worldviews about the ‘proper’ development, as determined in the headquarters of international organisations, and promoted in the so-called developing countries in which they provide project funding and expertise. Globally, over the last two decades the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has created a niche for itself in the ‘migration industry’ by making migration and development its motto. The idea is based on an assumption that migration, if regulated, can improve the economic performance of both migrant-sending and migrant-receiving countries. This paper analyses localisation of the migration and development paradigm, promoted by the IOM, by unpacking transformations that this approach undergoes in aid-receiving countries assisted by this organisation. Drawing on insights from International Relations and the anthropology of development, and taking the case of a specific policy transfer initiated by the IOM in post-Soviet Tajikistan, which involved setting up a local state-operated labour recruitment system for industries abroad, the paper advances three arguments. First, the crucial relevance of actors in the field, namely brokers who arrange and navigate the IOM collaborations with various actors on the ground, reveals that the authority of the IOM in Tajikistan is personalised and relational, rather than institutional. Second, the existence of brokers points to an ideological heterogeneity within the IOM, which on the surface seems united in its pursuit of the migration and development agenda. Third, this paper problematises the role of the IOM in Tajikistan, showing that the organisation interferes in state-citizens relations and that its rhetoric of migration and development justifies a market-tailored export of local labour, serving the global capitalist economy. Methodologically, to reconstruct the processes accompanying the implementation of organised recruitment and highlight subjective meanings that actors contributed to it, this article draws on in-depth interviews conducted between 2015 and 2017 with former and current employees of the IOM offices in Tajikistan and Russia, as well as Tajik officials.

What Does It Mean to Be a Translingual Writer in Eastern and Central Europe?

Aim: The paper aims to characterize translingual writing in Central and Eastern Europe, using the example of an interesting case study of a Czech writer of Chinese origin.

Background: The phenomenon of translingualism is associated with migration. It is an essential aspect of contemporary sociolinguistic research, but it is also increasingly present in literature studies. In particular, research on emigration from Central and Eastern Europe explores the problems of translingualism. To a small extent, this subject is present concerning the writing of people who have migrated to Central and Eastern Europe. The paper will deal with such a topic, and an example will be the writing of a Czech writer with Chinese roots, Taj-ťü Hejzlerová. More specifically, the subject will be The novel Na Řece (On the River), by the Chinese philologist, translator and painter Taj-ťü Hejzlerová (b. 1932) and her husband, the Czech sinologist, art historian and designer Josef Hejzler (1927-2012), received the literary prize of the Knižní klub (Book Club) in the Czech Republic in 2011.

Methods: Translingualism I understand, following Steven Kellman, as “the phenomenon of authors who write in more than one language or at least in a language other than their primary one” (Kellman, The Translingual ix). However, if we follow this concept of translingualism and consider sociolinguistics, we have to agree with Suresh Canagarjah who claims that “we are all translingual, not native speakers of a single language” (8). Other theoretical approaches (e.g. Anna Wierzbicka and Mary Besemeres) will also be considered. Findings: This paper will focus on two issues. (1) The double-rootedness of this autobiographical novel in the background of Taj-ťü Hejzlerová and in the Czech language and Central European literary tradition. The autobiographical background should, however, not be treated only as relating the main character/narrator’s individual memories, but as exemplifying the Chinese-Czech writer’s deep cultural rootedness in both the Chinese tradition and the Czech language. (2) The double-consciousness of this bicultural novel in one language, which should be seen as an exciting and unusual (and problematic) example of translingual writing and world literature work.

Conclusions: Finally, in my closing remarks, I will present a short placement of this Czech-Chinese novel in world(-)system theories’ (and similar other theories’) understanding and conceptualization of world literature, and I will emphasize the non-standard position of On the River in the core-periphery relation.

Identifying and Analyzing Factors That Determine the Intensity and Directions of Migration: The Example of the Regions of the Arctic Zone of Russia

Migration processes haves a fairly high degree of inertia, even if it in some cases migration is spontaneous or emergency. This suggests the relevance of studying the features of migration processes within the historical perspective of various depths. This approach allows us to expand our understanding of the role of fundamental factors, the stability of their influence, the ratio of fundamental and conjunctural, and regional features of migration processes. The focus of our work is on the directions and intensity of migration movement in the Russian Arctic regions in the period 1991-2000. In the USSR the Arctic zone waswere a zone of wide economic development, thatwhich attracted significant material and human resources. It was the change in the socio-economic situation in the 1990s that led to a sharp deterioration in both the demographic situation and future prospects, decrease in the population. This is primarily due to the significant migration outflow of the population. In relation to the regions of the Arctic zone, we observed a special combination of all-Russian patterns of population and labor movement and specific features of the economic and geographical location of the Arctic regions. Based on the Rosstat data, we estimated the intensity of migration (relocation to permanent residence) and natural movement of the population, as well as the contribution of directions of arrival and departure of the population to the general dynamics in 1990-2000. The instrumental base of the study was the balances of population and labor movement built on the basis of Rosstat data and the model of population and labor movement, which that was used to calculate indicators that characterize the intensity of population movement. The analysis showed that the population of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation is characterized by greater mobility compared with the population of the country as a whole. The population was especially mobile in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and the Murmansk Region. The main volume of movements occurred within the regions. Inside the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, movements were carried out to closer regions. This applies to both the European and Asian parts pf the Arctic zone. The exchange was much weaker between them. In case of migration exchange between the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation and the rest of the country, the Central and Far Eastern Federal Districts are respectively the most and least popular destination for retirement. The former Republics of the USSR also had high priority. Regarding arrival, immigration from the Republics of the former USSR was of a very high rank. The departure of the population was greater than the arrival and the regions of the Arctic zone were the donors of the population for the rest of the Russian Federation. The study was carried out as a part of the basic scientific research program for the State Academies of Sciences for 2013-2020. Topic 167 “Research of the dynamics of the correlation of global and national in socio-economic development and optimization of Russia's participation in regional and global integration processes”.

This paper is co-authored with Arseniy Sinitsa and Andrey Germanovitch Korovkin.

Ukrainian Workers in Poland and the Paper Market: ‘Bluffing Out’ and the Flight from Control

Ukrainian migration is the largest of all post-USSR migratory movements to the EU. Employment-related permits are the main category of entry to the EU with Poland being the main destination for Ukrainian migration. For instance, in 2017, Poland issued more than half a million of residence permits to foreign workers, which is more than any other country in Europe, and has been the leader in seasonal employment of foreign workers. 85% of these residence permits were issued to Ukrainians, with 9 out of 10 permits based on work (Eurostat, 2018). This makes Ukrainian migration to Poland one of the central sites to examine the role of migrant labour in frontiers of today’s capitalism. Drawing on the ongoing ethnographic research among young Ukrainian migrants in Warsaw, I analyse how they challenge the regime of labour, racialisation and mobility control. I demonstrate that while the borders and immigration controls aim at disciplining migrant bodies and making them productive, Ukrainian migrants subvert and desert from control and subordination. These acts of refusal or ‘bluffing out’ (vykrutit’sya) include buying bank certificates, job invitations, address registrations but also making visas that do not reflect the ‘purpose’ of staying in the country or getting enrolled to professional schools where no teaching takes place to renew a visa. These efforts draw attention to the ways migrants escape the discipline of labour and subvert the logic of capital. At the same time, the paper draws attention to the effort that goes to enabling movement itself. Against the grain of the metaphors of endless ‘flows’ of migrant labour, I analyse the struggles that make people move and circulate, and understand transnational mobilities as sites of frictions. Eurostat (2018) Residence permits for non-EU citizens. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/9333446/3-25102018-AP-EN...

Legal Approaches to Migration and Electoral Rights: The Experience of Russia 

The aim of the paper is to investigate the impact of global migration on approaches towards electoral rights in a Post-Soviet society. Specifically, it will focus on implications of reactionary attitudes towards migration of labour and capital ('othering') for legal regulation of elections and perceptions of electoral behaviour in Russia. The paper will address the existing gap in the legal and political science scholarship by applying interdisciplinary approach and taking into the account regional context.  

International human rights regimes do not provide definite guidance in terms of territorial locus of democratic entitlement. While migrants cannot be excluded from most civic rights, the rights to vote and to be elected remain firmly rooted in nationality and residence. This universal contradiction becomes especially pronounced in regions, such as North Eurasia, that have experienced political upheaval and mass labour migration. At the same time, such regions often witness significant capital flight, with political and financial elites becoming firmly rooted in foreign jurisdictions.

I argue that in case of Russia, these processes result in the twin 'othering' of migration. While migrants from poorer countries and areas within the state are seen as potential 'objects' of manipulation, members of the political elite are suspected of twin loyalty.

The paper will study the effects of the 'othering' through analyzing the two key determinants of electoral rights – the active right to vote and the passive right to be elected. The paper is going to map the restrictions on those rights due to dual citizenship, residence, foreign assets and other factors incidental to migration. It will then locate them in the legal framework produced through the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the work of the Venice Commission. The study is also going to deal with how 'othering' shapes popular perceptions of election integrity, limiting even the existing legal channels of democratic empowerment for migrants.
 

Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union in the Israeli Labor Market

Aim. The purpose of this study was to investigate how immigrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) economically integrate over time, and whether they disadvantaged compared to the native population and immigrants from other countries.

Background. Since the breakdown of the former Soviet Union, about one million FSU immigrants came to Israel; they comprised about 80 percent of the total number of immigrants who came since 1990, and 15 percent of the Israeli labor force. About a half of FSU immigrants came from Russia, and a quarter came from Ukraine. Since 2014 immigration from these countries dramatically increased (the number of immigrants from Ukraine increased more than five times, and from Russia almost twice). Immigration to Israel is ethnic; Jews or members of their families obtain Israeli citizenship on arrival. In addition, Israel signed bilateral agreements on temporary labor migration with Moldova (October 2012) and Ukraine (June 2016). Guest workers from the FSU countries comprised the largest group of labor migrants who entered Israel in 2019. Methods. This study is based on data from the Social Survey administered by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, and data of the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority.

Findings and conclusion. The main feature of the immigrants from the FSU who came to Israel was their high level of education. They were more likely to become economically active than other groups of newcomers and had relatively high employment levels. The study revealed that immigrants from the FSU countries are disadvantaged regarding their earnings. In spite of their high level of education, FSU immigrants earn less compared to the veteran population, and especially compared to immigrants from Europe and America. Many of them are engaged in ethnic economic activities. Over time the wages of immigrants increase, but even after 15-20 years after immigration the wage gap between FSU immigrants and the native-born population still exists.