“My Russian Speaking Neighbour – Who Are You? Why Are You Here?” The Different Roles of the Diaspora in the Integration Process of Russian-Speaking Migrants in Germany and Norway

  • Abstract:

    In our report we compare and analyze the role of the Diaspora in overcoming identification crises of Russian speaking migrants in Germany and Norway. The Russian-speaking Diasporas of Germany and Norway have completely different modes of ethno linguistic vitality (M. Ehala 2011), impacting the integration processes of its members. According to the analyzed data, different reasons for and ways of migration led to the formation of different types of Russian-speaking communities in these countries. In Germany, the Russian-speaking migrants formed an apparently solid community which supports the migrants through different networks. Although this community is perceived as being homogeneous (the Russians), it has developed into being internally divided based on different criteria’s. For example the Russian Deutsche (majority of migrants) could be divided into different sub-groups starting from “German German” through “partially German” to “Soviet people” (S. Kiel 2009). The Russian-speaking Diaspora in Norway is rather widespread, fragmented and much less organized. The perception of this Diaspora from the point of the host society differs significantly, and is strongly affected by the geographical proximity to the Russian-Norwegian border. This geographical difference is also relevant when considering the migrants views of the ethno linguistic vitality (M. Ehala 2010) of their own Diaspora. The Russian speaking communities in both countries differs greatly, and so do their roles in integration processes. The Diaspora in Germany has a higher ethno linguistic vitality, presenting its members with more opportunities in overcoming identity crises, and helping its members to settle down. However, and despite the apparently lower ethno linguistic vitality of the Norwegian Diaspora, the Russian-speaking migrants to this country have a greater satisfaction with their decision to migrate, have attained a greater degree of high-level employment, and have gradually succeeded in changing negative stereotypes towards the members of their community.