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Migration and Everyday life of (post-) Soviet diaspora nationalities

Konferenz des Forschungsverbundes "Ambivalenzen des Sowjetischen"


First conference of the research network "Ambivalences of the Soviet: Diaspora Nationalities between Collective Experiences of Discrimination and Individual Normalization, 1953-2023"

Soviet diaspora nationalities, including Russian Germans and Soviet Jews, are often considered as collectives constituted by the common experience of repression and discrimination. As individuals, however, they followed personal paths towards normalization of their existence in the years after Stalin's death and became a part of the culturally and nationally diverse Soviet society. For them, complex affiliations and loyalties negotiated between family, neighborhood, their own ethnic group, broader Soviet society, and the so-called external homelands were characteristic and became particularly visible in the period of perestroika and glasnost. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, many became further confronted with questions about their own belonging, which often resulted in their emigration to places like Germany, to which they allegedly belonged. Attempting to make new places their home, they, however, continue experiencing conflicting relationships and identifications, complicated further through broader societal processes that largely marginalize and homogenize them as “others”, as non-belonging “Russians” with a seemingly common Soviet “baggage”.

The research network "Ambivalences of the Soviet: Diaspora Nationalities between Collective Experiences of Discrimination and Individual Normalization, 1953-2023” (funded by the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony and the VW Foundation within the framework of the Niedersächsisches Vorab) departs from a narrative that tells the history of Russian Germans, Soviet Jews, and other Soviet diaspora nationalities in very narrow terms – as a mere story of discrimination and repression, dissent and resistance. Rather, we seek to explore people’s complex everyday experiences, practices and discourses of “normalization” and “Sovietization” in the late Soviet period as well as their long-term influence beyond temporal and spatial confines of the Soviet Union. At the conference, taking place in Lüneburg on 3-5 February 2022, we seek to discuss related topics of life in the late Soviet Union, everyday life in the rural and urban Soviet peripheries, themes ofrepression and “normalization”, intergenerational and transnational multiple affiliations, migration as well as the current situation of those who remained in the Soviet successor states. We welcome contributions especially from young scholars working in the above-mentioned fields and ready to critically reflect on container terms such as “identity”, “ethnic group” or “diaspora”. A focus on Russian Germans and/or Soviet Jews is desired, but we are also interested in contributions on other nationalities, comparative approaches, etc.


(Citation from the CfA, for full text of the CfA see here)


Please find the programme here.

Veranstalter und Kontakt

The conference is organized by the Volkswagen-Foundation-funded research network "Ambivalenzen des Sowjetischen/Ambivalences of the Soviet". For more information on the network and its activities see its webpage and blog.