Post-Perestroika Ethnic Migration from the Former Soviet Union: Challenges Twenty Years On

Christin Hess*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Germans from the former Soviet Union have been migrating to Germany with renewed impetus since 1988. What has become of these migrants, almost 20 years after their arrival? Has policy been pivotal or marginal in shaping their mobility and settlement? In which manner have first generation migrants acculturated and how successfully have they accessed the labour market? Addressing a decade of scarce research outputs, this article takes stock in 2015, using in-depth ethnographic and interview data collected between 2006 and 2012, parallel to a study on co-ethnic returnees in Greece. Exploring these migrants' specific integration scenario, it argues that challenges endure particularly in acculturation and employment. The tenacity of integration problems can be found in a complex interplay of policy rhetoric and expectations, socialisation, cultural difference and structural impediments. As a result, the first generation is still trying to find its feet in Germany, and increasingly back in the FSU.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-397
Number of pages17
JournalGerman Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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