How the study came about
On the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the Manifesto of Catherine II on the invitation of foreigners to settle in Russia, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Monika Grütters allocated funds for the junior professor's rate.
They were received by the University of Osnabrück, who invited the young German scientist Yannis Panagiotidis, who defended his dissertation on the practice of receiving ethnic migrants in Israel and Germany. He worked in Osnabrück from 2014 to 2020. The result of his six years of work was the monograph “Post-Soviet Migration in Germany. Introduction ”(“ Postsowjetische Migration in Deutschland. Eine Einführung ”), published at the end of 2020 by Beltz Juventa.
The resettlement of Russian Germans and contingent refugees of Jewish nationality to Germany began 30 years ago. Why is such a full-scale study of this wave of migration coming out so many years later?
In the 1990s, when 200 thousand people came to Germany annually from the post-Soviet countries, many researchers wrote about them. At the same time, the focus of their attention was most often different groups. There were scientific works concerning the later settlers - Russian Germans. Separately from them, the migration of contingent refugees was studied (approx. Refugees from crisis regions of the world, whom Germany accepts in the framework of acts of international humanitarian aid) of Jewish nationality, who were perceived as a completely different group, although some of these people came from the same countries. A general view of post-Soviet migration that would embrace people with different origins has emerged quite recently.
Post-Soviet migrants form the largest immigrant group in Germany. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that they are in the center of public attention. For many, they have remained “Russian”. Why?
The fact that they are universally considered Russian is due, on the one hand, to the fact that when they arrived in the early 1990s, they communicated mainly in Russian. The German society mistakenly decided that since they speak this language, then they are Russian. People did not know that although Russian in the multiethnic USSR was the language of interethnic communication, Soviet citizens could identify themselves by other ethno-national characteristics. In addition, the “Russians” were quickly forgotten in the migration discourse. Back in the 1990s, immigrants, primarily late ones (ethnic Germans who moved to Germany after January 1, 1993. - Ed.), Were attributed to many problems. They were often considered criminals, unemployed and drug addicts. With the beginning of the new millennium, they disappeared from the public eye. Partly because their problems were being solved. Partly due to the lack of interest in this group. The topic of Islam began to dominate in the migration discourse. Post-Soviet migrants have become relatively invisible. This was also facilitated by the fact that these migrants rarely attracted attention by their characteristics; moreover, they, especially the later migrants, had a pronounced desire to assimilate.
For a long time, Russian Germans and Russian Jews were perceived by other immigrants as a privileged group of migrants. How did it happen?
First of all, both groups were given indefinite residence permits. Late immigrants - even German citizenship. In addition, both groups received integration assistance and a place in language courses for some time, when it was not a standard for everyone in Germany. Germany considered itself at that time not a country of immigrants, but of post-Soviet immigrants - not migrants. The later settlers were treated as repatriates. The resettlement of the Jews was perceived as a form of atonement. In the early 1990s, many refugees fleeing the war, those who sought refuge, also arrived in Germany. In addition, several million guest workers have already lived in the country for decades, who had no chance of obtaining German citizenship. Since all these processes took place simultaneously, it seemed that someone was in a privileged position.