Making Sense of Home and Homeland: Former-Soviet Greeks' Motivations and Strategies for a Transnational Migrant Circuit

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Focusing on former-Soviet Greeks' experiences of cross-border movement to Greece, this paper sheds light on the impact of this migration on the social identities of Russian Greeks as a transnational community. It draws on informants’ narratives and ethnographic observations recorded among Greek migrants in their home communities in southern Russia, and shows how their motivation, in their transnational movement, is determined by the ‘push-and-pull’ forces of socio-economic and political transformations in post-Soviet space. In these conditions, Greek identity becomes a resource which facilitates the organisation of transnational migration. The cultural, social and economic differences between the former-Soviet Greek migrants and the native-born population of Greece result in the emergence of a Pontic-Greek cultural identity which emphasises migrants’ connections with the former USSR. The difficulties of economic and cultural adaptation for migrants to Greece are examined in relation to the Russian Greeks' economic strategies within their home communities and their perception of the ‘homeland’ as a constantly contested and relocated social construct.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-85
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number1
Early online date20 Oct 2009
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • transnational migrant circuit, home, homeland, Pontic Greeks, post-Soviet Russia, Greece

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