Russians in Europe and European Attitudes of Russians. Identity Challenge and Identity Change – The Dilemma of Self-Identification of Russian Speaking Migrants in Europe

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    • Presentation speakers
      • German Mendzheritskiy, Librarium Archives Russe de la Presse Ancienne
      • Ekaterina Bagreeva, Russian Economic University of G. V. Plekhanov


    With the escalating situation in Eastern Europe, the question of identity assumes an increased significance for Russian-speaking migrants, their local communities, as well as the countries where they have settled. Could these Diasporas be viewed as assets or liabilities in their respective countries? Through our research on the Russian speaking migrants in Germany and Norway starting from 2008, we have gathered qualitative and quantitative data in key questions related to the migrants’ attitude towards the concept of home as well as their motherland. Furthermore, the question of language, being at the heart of current debates, has also been studied, providing an indicator of the understanding for the struggle to maintain Russian as an official language in parts of Eastern Europe. Numerous studies have thus covered a number of aspects of several migration waves of “Russians” to Europe – from the first wave fueled by revolution and civil war, through the second and third, to the wave of “perestroika” and dissolution of the Soviet Union. These waves had significant differences with regards to their political, economic and ethnic background and the most distinct development may be found by considering the first and last waves. Criteria such as “feeling at home”, “feeling of motherland” and “feeling of belonging; being equal and recognized”, provides key indicators of the topic of self-identification for Russian speaking migrants and their attitude towards to this dilemma.