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Regular version of the site

Migration studies, 2021

Seminar "Migration studies" (Higher School of Economics) is designed as a platform for presentation by scholars engaged in migration studies their academic research, as well as for the discussion among experts. The seminar is focused on an interdisciplinary approach and unites specialists from different fields: economists, sociologists, geographers, historians, anthropologists who deal with this problem. The seminar is open not only for academics, but also for all those interested in the migration studies.

Seminar Organizer: Ekaterina Demintseva, e-mail: edemintseva@hse.ru


On December 15, 2021 at 18:00 an on-line session of the regular "Migration studies" seminar at the Institute of Social Policy of the Higher School of Economics. Pavel Inozemtsev, independent researcher “Don’t confuse tourism with emigration”: the status of Russian-speaking longstayers in Vietnam

Russian-speaking longstayers (the so-called "locals") are citizens of the countries of the former USSR who entered Vietnam when using long-term tourist visas and continued their stay for an indefinite term, periodically updating documents with the practice of "visa-run". For the bureaucratic apparatus of Vietnam and the countries of origin, these people are legitimate tourists. However, many longstayers are involved in unregistered labor activities on the territory of a foreign state, which is contrary to the visa regime and turns people into “illegal labor migrants”. The report will present examples from specific biographies of how longstayers existed in legal uncertainty and went unnoticed officially.

Discussant: Olga Tkach, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Saint Petersburg State University

Information about the seminar may be found on the website https://isp.hse.ru/migrissled

Time:                     18:00 - 20:00

Please register your desire to participate before 10.00, December, 15 2021, via 

We will send you the personal link.

For more information: mig.seminar2016@yandex.ru

Registration on the link



On November 17, an online session of the regular seminar "Migration studies"organized by the Higher School of Economics Institute of Social Policy was held. Aleksei Starostin, Ural State Mining University, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B.N. YeltsinThe Eastern End of the Ummah: The Impact of Migration Processes on the Muslim Communities of the Russian Far East

15 years ago, there was no one on the streets of our city to say assalamu aleykum, but now, walking down the street, I say these words almost as often as in my homeland.” These words of one of the Far Eastern imams, a native of Tajikistan, can characterize the significant changes that have occurred in recent years in the Muslim community in the eastern part of the country. Muslims have become "more noticeable" in this region and have significantly diversified the already bright palette of peoples and religions of the Russian Far East. In his presentation, the Yekaterinburg scholar Aleksei Starostin, who has been studying Muslim communities in the Asian part of the country, will talk about the impact of migration processes on the Muslim communities of the Russian Far East, the problems of the formation of Islamic infrastructure, the diverse challenges faced by the followers of Islam living in the east of the country, and ways to overcome them.

The presentation is based on the materials of two monographs published this year: "Muslims in the Far East: History and Modernity" / Edited by A.Starostin, project manager, executive editor A. Garifullin. - Kazan: Printing house "Algorithm +", 2020.

A.Yarkov, A. Starostin. Islam from the Urals to Kamchatka in the panorama of the centuries. - Tyumen. Tyumen State University. - 2021
Discussant: Galina Ermak, Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The "Migration studies" Seminar (Higher School of Economics) is designed as a platform for presentations of their academic research by scholars engaged in migration studies, as well as for discussion between experts. The seminar is focused on an interdisciplinary approach and brings together specialists from various fields: economists, sociologists, geographers, historians, and anthropologists dealing with relevant issues. The seminar is open for all those interested in migration studies, as well as the academic community.

The book "Muslims in the Far East: Past and Present", as well as statistical supplements to the book, can be downloaded on the link.


On June 3, 2021 an on-line session of the regular "Migration studies" seminar at the Institute of Social Policy of the Higher School of Economics was held. Elena Lyarskaya, Research Fellow, Center for Social Research of the North, European University at St. Petersburg "Who hasn't migrated here?": Features of migrations and a distributed way of life in the North.

This presentation, based on many years of field research by the Center for Social Research of the North, discussed the different types of migration currently existing in the Russian North and how these migrations are structured in terms of their social mechanics. In addition, based on the example of the current situation in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, it was be considered what consequences such an organization of migration has for the arrangement of modern northern communities, both urban and rural.

On April 29, 2021 an online session of the regular "Migration studies" seminar at the Institute of Social Policy of the Higher School of EconomicsRustamjon Urinboyev, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology of Law at Lund University held, Senior Researcher in Russian and Eurasian Studies in the Aleksanteri Institute at University of Helsinki. «Migration, Shadow Economy and the Street World in Russia».

This presentation consists of two parts. The first discussed the development of immigration laws and policies in Russia between 2000 and 2017, a time during which Russia become the world’s one of the largest recipients of migrants. Then, the focus was placed on understanding the impact of restrictive immigration laws and policies on the formation of a shadow economy characterized by a large-scale migrant labour force. The author believes that Russian immigration laws and policies have produced unintended consequences: that is, rather than reducing the number of undocumented migrants, those laws and policies further pushed migrants into the shadow economy. This resulted from the Russian legal environment—which is characterized by rampant corruption, weak rule of law and arbitrary enforcement. These features imply that even those migrants possessing all of the required immigration papers cannot be certain that they will avoid legal problems when they come into contact with Russian authorities. Due to the complicated legalization procedures and the arbitrariness of laws, many migrants resort to working in the shadow economy, where they can work without documents. Hence, a distinctive feature of Russia’s migration regime is the rather large and continuous presence of a shadow economy heavily reliant upon cheap and legally unprotected migrant labour.

The second part discussed how Central Asian migrants – Uzbek migrant workers – adapt to Russian legal environment under the conditions of a weak rule of law and shadow economy employment. In this paper author argues that the emergence of street- level institutions in the Russian migrant labour market should not only be seen as instances of criminality and illegality, but also as “informal legal orders” that provide alternative forms of redress, legal regulation, and economic security in weak-rule-of-law migration contexts.

On March 18, 2021 an on-line session of the regular "Migration studies" seminar at the Institute of Social Policy of the Higher School of Economics Vlada Baranova, HSE Campus in St. Petersburg Micro-level language planning in Russia and educational projects for migrants was held. 

Despite several decades of intensive migration and different waves of immigration, Russia lacks a clearly and publicly articulated ideology of language planning. Although the Low demands proficiency in Russian from migrants for a working patent but the state does not provide affordable language courses. The migrant families themselves have to find resources for learning Russian. At the same time, there are several bottom-up projects designed for migrants including supportive language programs for minority children and adults. 

The study is based on expert interviews with activists involved in organizing educational programs for migrants in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The micro-level approach to language policy and planning takes into account the efforts of local actors involved in multilingual education projects.

Discussant: Anna Ter-Saakova, integration project “Odinakovo raznye”.


On February 17, 2021, Dmitry Oparin presented his research entitled "Central Asian Mullahs in Migration: Problems of Duty, Loyalty and Interethnic Relations" within the framework of the "Cross-cultural Seminar" (headed by Olga Bessmertnaya) together with the  “Migration studies” Seminar (headed by Ekaterina Demintseva and Dmitriy Oparin). 

Abstract: The presentation is devoted to the social relief and configuration of the Muslim space of Irkutsk. The research focuses on the position, relationships in a multiethnic environment, religious practices and perceptions of Central Asian mullahs - Muslims, immigrants from different countries of Central Asia, who take an active part in the religious life of the local community, conduct certain rituals, consult their fellow believers, call themselves mullahs, have a certain social capital.

They do not hold any official positions in the muftiate and the city mosque, however, they play an important role in the construction of the religious everyday life of their fellow believers, the formation of the local Muslim space.

The presentation pays special attention to the specifics of the relationship of mullahs with the imam, fellow countrymen and the heterogeneous Muslim environment in general.


On January 27, 2021 an on-line session of the regular "Migration studies" seminar at the Institute of Social Policy of the Higher School of Economics and Centre d'études franco-russe (Moscou) - The new Russian Islam: Muslim migrants in the Far North was held.

Intense internal migration flows characteristic of post-Soviet Russia have led to the emergence of Muslim communities far away from the regions where Islam is traditional preached, in the Far East and the Far North of the country. The seminar will present the results of field research of urban diversity in the case of Muslim communities in Arctic and sub-Arctic cities.


Marlene Laruelle
Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES)
Illiberalism Studies Program
Central Asia Program
Akhmet Yarlykapov, MGIMO,
Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Russian Academy of Science

Denis Sokolov
, Independent researcher



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