Migration, a force throughout the world, has special meanings in the former Soviet lands. Soviet successor countries, each with strong ethnic associations, have pushed some racial groups out and pulled others back home. Forcible relocations of the Stalin era were reversed, and areas previously closed for security reasons were opened to newcomers. These countries represent a fascinating mix of the motivations and achievements of migration in Russia and Central Asia. Migration, Homeland, and Belonging in Eurasia examines patterns of migration and sheds new light on government interests, migrant motivations, historical precedents, and community identities. The contributors come from a variety of disciplines: political science, sociology, history, and geography. Initial chapters offer overall assessments of contemporary migration debates in the region. Subsequent chapters feature individual case studies that highlight continuity and change in migration debates in imperial and Soviet periods. Several chapters treat specific topics in Central Eurasia and the Far East, such as the movement of ethnic Kazakhs from Mongolia to Kazakhstan and the continuing attractiveness to migrants of supposedly uneconomical cities in Siberia.

Cynthia Buckley is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas, Austin. Blair A. Ruble is the director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Erin Trouth Hofmann is currently a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas, Austin. Formerly, she was a program assistant with the Kennan Institute.


Introduction: New Approaches to Migration and Belonging in Eurasia
Cynthia J. Buckley

Part I. Trends in Post-Soviet Migration
1 An Overview of Migration in the Post-Soviet Space
Timothy Heleniak
2 Post-Soviet Migration: New Trends at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century
Andrei V. Korobkov
3 The Russian State and Migration: A Theoretical and Practical Look at the Russian Federation's Migration Regime
Andrew Robarts
4 The Permanence of the "Frostbelt" in Post-Soviet Russia: Migrant Attraction to Cities in the Irkutsk Oblast, 1997–2003
Seema Iyer

Part II. Historical Legacies
5. Population Policy and Emigration Policy in Imperial Russia
Eric Lohr
6. Reemigration from Western China to the USSR, 1954–1962
Bruce F. Adams
7. The Loss, Retention, and Reacquisition of Social Capital by Special Settlers in the USSR, 1941–1960
J. Otto Pohl

Part III. Transnationalism
8. Return to the Golden Cradle: Postreturn Dynamics and Resettlement Angst among the Crimean Tatars
Idil P. Izmirli
9. The Settlement of the Returning Kazakh Diaspora: Practicality, Choice, and the Nationalization of Social Space
Alexander Diener
10. Germans, Jews, or Russians: Diaspora and the Post-Soviet Transnational Experience
Ruth Mandel

Conclusion: Godot Is Already Here
Blair A. Ruble 


“This is a highly relevant book for scholars, policy makers, and government institutions, offering a glimpse at the myriad cross-country issues that emerge regarding the problems and opportunities associated with the movement of people across borders.”—Kathleen Kuehnast, United States Institute of Peace

“This is an interesting book which brings a range of new and interesting case studies into view. There are only a handful of books on this subject and arguably none have the breadth of scope that this collection offers.”—Hilary Pilkington, University of Warwick

“An important and relevant book.”—Ralph S. Clem, Russian Review

“What this book demonstrates in a confident and scholarly way is that migration is neither a simple nor a one-way process.”—Ulrike Ziemer, Europe-Asia Studies

“Studying how this underlying network came into being—and what directions its evolution is following—will tell us much about this important part of the world, historically and today.”—John Randolph, Slavic Review

Migration, Homeland, and Belonging in Eurasia is an excellent book, and a valuable addition to migration scholarship.”—Karen Muth and Georgi Derlugian, Contemporary Sociology