My research explores the migration of the Russian-speaking population from the Soviet republics to the Northern Caucasus since the late-Soviet period. I focus on the heterogeneous circumstances relevant to this migration, which included not only the fraught “return” of millions of ethnic Russians to their titular nation, but also the movement of other displaced people to Russia.
By focusing on the Northern Caucasus, I analyze how influxes of inter-ethnic migration, which also included the arrival of many ethnic Russians who showed more affinity to their Soviet rather than ethnic or local affiliations, have affected social dynamics in the region. I investigate not only how regional policies attempted to institutionalize responses to these in-migrants, but also how “groupness”— as a relational and contextual process—transformed at the local level as a result. More explicitly, I consider to what extent—and how—influxes of various migrants contested and contributed to a space that changed dramatically over time.