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Other Migrants and Migrants´ Others: Cultural citizenship and migration from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to the Czech Republic Radka Klvaňová Masaryk University.

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Presentation on theme: "Other Migrants and Migrants´ Others: Cultural citizenship and migration from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to the Czech Republic Radka Klvaňová Masaryk University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Other Migrants and Migrants´ Others: Cultural citizenship and migration from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine to the Czech Republic Radka Klvaňová Masaryk University

2 Politics of belonging/citizenship Migration and nation-building in CEE Cultural citizenship (Ong) Binary discourse of civil society (Alexander) Im/migration from BL, RU, UA to CR – proximity vs. distance to Czech „core group“ Data from narrative interviews with 30 migrants (Phd project)

3 Migrants as the Other „Russianness“, „Russians“ – Undemocratic order: authoritarian, crime, violence – threatening the newly established democratic order in CR – Cultural trauma of „1968“ – Czech national narrative

4 Migrants as the Other „...and in the beginning when we arrived here, my son didn´t understand at all why he, and all of us were blamed for - you know neither my grandfather nor my father were here either in ´45 or ´68! How are we, normal people, guilty of it, I don’t understand. And how can someone upbraid my boy for - now my son tells them: ´I am Ukrainian! Soviet Union, well, you are angry for the 68 th year but at that time there were the NATO on the one side and members of the Warsaw Treaty on the other side, so they all were in. And I don’t know who held the rule, and even if Russia ruled, I am from the Ukraine. And we were under the Russians for a long time, for many centuries, only now we are the state of Ukraine...´ (Vira)

5 Migrants as the Other „Ukrainians“, „migrants“ – Class position – low skilled labour – Migrants as competitors on labour market vs. migrants as victims of exploitation

6 Migrants as the was really such a period of frustration after frustration. You gradually go down and down and you start to be so desperate and you lose the faith and don´t believe that any foreigner could achieve something in a honest way without all that acquaintances or money (...) and it seems to me that in these ten years here I have worked in many places with various people and everywhere they were satisfied with me. I never disappoint, I try at my best, regardless of being ill, I can´t disappoint and I do well and if I don´t know something I say that I will learn it... But if they tell you "we are going to call you", then it is clear. I already know that there will be nothing and it is like that, nobody has ever called me. (...) And I don´t like that many girlfriends of mine who search for a job - they (employers) don´t want to employ people. Only for brigáda. As that owner of the restaurant said: "I want just Ukrainian women". He takes them just like an un- skilled labour, like servants, we are like an inferior race, I don´t like it! (Irina)

7 Migrants´ Others „Slavic migrants“, Ukrainians, Belarussians, Russians as a reference category – Cultural proximity - ethnicized – Assimilable – Cultural proximity vs. othering of „non-Slavic“ migrants – Openess, active participation in society

8 Migrants´ Others "Well it is maybe a bit off (the interview theme) but the descendants of these people (immigrants) they will either be Czechs or not. And it is perhaps a bit of a phenomenon but it is true that the immigrants from Belarus, Ukraine - there is a higher probability that we will gradually assimilate. Maybe not us but the next generation probably will. They will feel that they are more Czech than - especially when they have been born here and went to kindergarten here. But when non-Slavic people come, for example from Chechnya, these nations are like the Jews, they are used to the fact that life has not been very nice to them so they live very close to each other, in kind of communities. And there, assimilation goes very slowly. Maybe the next generation will be more Chechen than Czech. (...) I know one Chechen family, I don´t know if they are refugees or just immigrants because this Chechen is a businessman and his wife just sits home. My wife met her in a maternal hospital. And there, the woman is just a maternity. Her task is to give birth almost every year (...) and the life style is such that the wife is in fact a servant. Mr. Chechen gets up of the bed in the morning and she must be there immediately to hold his shirt, it is really rough (...) And now when there will be such an education, they of course prefer boys in the family to be born and when this boy will marry a Czech woman, it will be a catastrophe. So they will look for a Chechen woman in the state of origin. And there will be a new Chechen family and it will be a never ending story before someone will again break it………….

9 Migrants´ Others But it is not like this with the Belarusians or Ukrainians. Even though it differs from the Polish or the Czechs or the Slovaks, it is very close. It is just like across a thin wall. A glass one. Thus, I think that maybe - I often hear or read that there are many Ukrainian workers without documents, some of them brought their families without documents here, maybe it is quite alarming. But maybe if the government preferred - you know there is something about the existence of the Roman, Slavic, Germanic in Europe, it still exists and will exist. For example, France would not have such problems if - when there were these big fires - if such a huge community of Moroccans or Algerians or from Libya did not immigrate there. It is not xenophobic, but it is true that the mentality is not easily compatible. It can be in movies but in reality it is not good. Therefore maybe there would have been less illegal immigrants here. They would actively participate in the life. They would not feel unwanted here.„ (Alexej)

10 Migrants´ Others "I noticed that among ours, I mean Ukrainians, Russians and Belarusians, we don´t form these closed communities. We try to communicate with the locals and there is friendship and understanding. But I noticed that for example Armenians, they tend to communicate only among themselves." (Elena)

11 Conclusions Criteria of belonging to the Czech nation negotiated thru cultural representations of migrants It reveals and is part of the nation building processes in CEE

12 Thank you for your attention! E-mail:

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