The break-up of the Soviet Empire resulted in large-scale labor migration from the FSU countries into Russia. This presentation will focus on the changes in the structure of the Russian public discourse that took place as a result of this process. These changes are about the transformation of former “friends” into “others” – and not only in the political and legal sense (citizens of a once united state have become foreigners). There is also an ongoing intensive process of constructing symbolic boundaries between ‘us’ and ‘them’. I will explore along what lines these boundaries are drawn, and compare the Russian case with countries with a long history of immigration, such as the US and France. In particular, I will address the differences between these countries in terms of (a) the forms of institutionalization of collective identities, (b) the states’ treatment of cultural diversity, and (c) the organization of church-state relations.
Vladimir Malakhov is the Director of the Center for Political Theory and Applied Political Science at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in Moscow. Currently he is a Alexander Herzen Visiting Fellow at the IWM.