We publish a preliminary research project report exploring adaptation and economic and entrepreneurial strategies among individuals who have left Russia after February 24, 2022, and emigrated to Serbia, Kazakhstan, Israel, Armenia, or Turkey. It studies specific economic strategies these migrants pursue and factors influencing the choice between these options. The project also examines entrepreneurial strategies among relocating Russian citizens and issues impacting these practices.
The key takeaways from this project are as follows:
- Entrepreneurial initiatives in new diasporas often do not pursue making profits but are dedicated to finding and connecting people with shared values and are based on solidarity. Simultaneously, these enterprises often target fellow Russians, which can create closed markets.
- In the current climate, national identity (being Russian) is not functioning as a unifying idea. Instead, professional identities and the idea of a shared destiny are the most common points of convergence. Therefore, the most unifying view is “Russian professionals in exile.” Ethnic and religious identity becomes a point of convergence (for example, for Bashkirs or Muslims).
- People who unite in emerging communities in new diasporas contrast themselves not to local residents but to other Russians — those who remained in Russia, those who left before the war, those who left not because of the war, those Russians, which they perceive as representatives of another social group or bearers of different values. Therefore, new diasporas are open enough to integrate into the host society.
- There is a significant dispersity of economic strategies between countries in the sample and some differentiation in each. For instance, in Israel, migrants prefer to work for the local market or international companies. Working remotely for Russian-based employers is widespread in Kazakhstan.
- Many Russian citizens in new diasporas aspire and dream of moving further to Europe (to member-states of the European Union in particular) and the United States because they believe these countries align more with their values. At the same time, such a move is perceived as complex and challenging, requiring an increase in one’s professional level.
This preliminary report summarises the key takeaways of a research project conducted in 2023 by the Social Foresight Group and commissioned by the Ideas for Russia platform and the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom. Ideas for Russia is a research initiative founded in 2022 by the Faculty of Social Sciences (Charles University), the Prague-based Institute of International Relations, and the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom gGmbH. Social Foresight Group is an independent research collective that unites social researchers from Russia who left the country in 2022 because of disagreement with the political regime. Members of the group who participated in implementing this research project: Anna Kuleshova (project coordinator), Ilya Lomakin, Elena Nikiforova, Kseniia Pavlenko, Maria Volkova (head of research), Alexey Voronkov. The report was produced by Maria Volkova, Kseniia Pavlenko & Anna Kuleshova & Alexei Voronkov — and edited by Dmitry Kokorin.
The report is available for downloading through these links:
The complete project report will be forthcoming in the fall of 2023.