Russian Migration to Central Asia and the South Caucasus
Russia’s war on Ukraine has caused massive waves of outmigration of its citizens to the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus. These migration flows are highly fluid and are having a powerful impact on the receiving states, both on their governments and societies. The sudden influx of Russian immigrants has stimulated social and political tensions among Russia’s neighbors. What is the future for these new immigrants? Will they stay, and how are local societies in the receiving states reacting to their presence? The panel will discuss the ongoing developments around Russian migration to Central Asia and the South Caucasus, compare the situations in Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and share thoughts on the political, economic, and social implications of this new Russian exile.
Alima Bissenova is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Nazarbayev University. She specializes in urban anthropology, anthropology of Islam, postcolonial studies, and intellectual history. She has published her work in English and Russian in the journals Religion, State, and Society; Europe-Asia Studies; AB Imperio; Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie; Sotsiologiya Vlasti.
Shota Kakabadze is a Junior Policy Analyst at the Georgian Institute of Politics. He has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Tartu (Estonia), where he also obtained his Master’s degree in European Union–Russia Studies. During his doctoral studies he was a Swedish Institute Research Fellow at Uppsala University’s Institute of Russian and Eurasian Studies, as well as a Junior Researcher in International Relations at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu.
Yan Matusevich is a PhD candidate in cultural anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His doctoral research is on the experiences of Russian exiles who have relocated to Central Asia since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He has previously worked on transnational migrant communities linking Central Asia to Russia, Turkey, and South Korea. He holds an MSc in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford and completed his undergraduate studies in political science at Bard College.
Stephen Jones is Director of the Program on Georgian Studies and Professor of Modern Georgian History at Ilia State University.
Nargis Kassenova is Senior Fellow and Director of the Program on Central Asia at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies (Harvard University).