In his new book, Voices from the Soviet Edge: Southern Migrants in Leningrad and Moscow
(Cornell University Press, 2019), Jeff Sahadeo
looks at the migrant experiences of peoples from the Caucuses and Central Asia in the late Soviet and early Post-Soviet periods ( 1960s-1990s). He explores the various factors that drew these migrants to the two Soviet capitals, which were the seat of the former colonial empire. Using oral histories as well as documentary evidence, he researches how they integrated with the local population, what sort of prejudices they faced and to what extent they were welcomed as part of the Soviet brotherhood of peoples. Sahadeo also examines how the relationship between these southern migrants and the Russian majority changed over time as the USSR fell apart and nationalistic discourse became more prevalent. The migrant experience in the later years of the USSR is incredibly relevant in today’s world where migration from from former colonial peripheries to colonial centers has become common place and has generated nationalist, reactionary politics in response.
Samantha Lomb is an Assistant Professor at Vyatka State University in Kirov, Russia. Her research focuses on daily life, local politics and political participation in the Stalinist 1930s. Her book,
Stalin’s Constitution: Soviet Participatory Politics and the Discussion of the Draft 1936 Constitution, is now available online. Her research can be viewed here.