Life in Motion: Mobility and Identity among Russian Migrants in the South Caucasus

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Vlada Baranova
Verena Podolsky

Abstract

The South Caucasus has emerged as a prominent destination for migrants from Russia following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The essay highlights both the complex and heterogeneous nature of current migration from Russia to the South Caucasus and the challenges inherent in categorizing and grouping diverse migrant communities. Describing the identity of migrants, we focus on the actual moment of moving from Russia to Armenia or Georgia, living in these countries, and the panorama of staying, returning, or leaving for a third place. Many people from the current wave of migration are engaged in remote work, primarily in the IT sector, and have a relatively high income compared to the host community.
This trend to seek temporary residence in countries with milder climates and lower living costs, combined with remote work opportunities, is shared by lifestyle migrants, winter tourists, digital nomads, and Russians who fled in 2022. Looking at such new types of migration, researchers have criticized the privilege and inequality of this lifestyle, as well as their weak involvement in the local agenda. However, it is noteworthy that these communities of migrants are characterized by practices of mutual assistance and a commitment to ecological values, which in turn foster attention to the local environment. The essay describes volunteer practices and explores the concept of disengagement from civic life inherent in lifestyle migration or nomadism.


Text in English

Keywords

War, Identity, Migrants from Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Digital Nomads, Location Independence, Local Activism


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