Avdashkin A. The Kyrgyz in the Southern Urals: Between Local Groups and the Host Community
South Ural State University
Chelyabinsk, Russian Federation
ABSTRACT. Migration from the Central Asia forms transboundary and local migrant communities that are noticeable for the receiving side. Despite the fact that in Russia the main area of concentration of Kyrgyz migrants has taken shape in Moscow, there are also many Kyrgyz communities in the Urals and Siberia. However, there is still little data on them. Using the example of the Southern Urals, the author examines the time and circumstances of the migration of the Kyrgyz, the main spheres of their employment, and their participation in internal Russian and cross-border migrations. The source database consists of interview materials, participant observation, and statistical data on international migration and ethnic composition of the population. The research toolkit includes transnationalism to see how the local community is embedded in the cross-border mobility networks linking the vast spaces involved in the Central Asian migration. Several examples of migrant biographies demonstrate the peculiarities of moving to the South Urals from Kyrgyzstan. The study has showed that the social ties of the Kyrgyz in Chelyabinsk are structured as follows: (1) contacts established in the sending society, consisting mainly of relatives and neighbors; and (2) contacts linking migrants with the Kyrgyz in general and the host society. These two components differ significantly in terms of economic activity, attitudes towards ethnicity, plans for the future, and other important characteristics of integration into the society. A more confident command of the Russian language and active apprehension of the culture of the Russian metropolis in various spheres strengthens the migrants’ relations with the host society, and gradually, eroding local practices of solidarity, reorients them from returning to their homeland to rooting in the host society.
KEYWORDS: migration, transnational space, Kyrgyz, social ties, Chelyabinsk
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