Migration in the Post-Soviet Space


RUSMPI UG is happy to announce that the results of the project "Migration in the post-Soviet Space" are available  on the RUSMPI- SoundCloud channel.  Sign up and listen free to our podcasts

What do Kyrgyzstan and Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan have in common? Until 1991 these newly independent states were the republics of the Soviet Union. During the seventy years of the Soviet Union's existence migration processes between Soviet republics were dynamic and multidirectional but still heavily restricted. The dissolution of the USSR was followed by migration to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus whilst at the same time Central Asian countries were and remain mainly migrant sending countries.


The previous dispersal  of the population in the Soviet Union combined with a political and economic asymmetry of the newly independent states caused mass migrations: ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Jews, and Crimean Tatars started to emigrate to their often imagined “historical homelands” followed by labour migrants from the margins of the former poorer newly independent states.



This contribution covers the era from 1991 to 2019. This can be divided into three periods. Each period covers different stages of statehood formation of newly independent post-Soviet states and mobility of their population. The first period - 1991-2000 – is characterised by former Soviet Union republics gaining their independence and followed by largely unregulated migrations in the post-Soviet space. The second period - 2001-2010 - is a period of strengthening statehood and enhancing the migration management. The third period – 2011-2019 – is a period of political, economic and legal turbulent changes. During these three decades, migration and mobility within, between and from the former Soviet Union countries have a significant impact on the demography, economy and socio-cultural landscape of the independent states.

Dr. Iryna Lapshyna

Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine

Dr. Sergei Abashin

European University at St. Petersburg, Russia

Dr. Olga  R. Gulina

RUSMPI UG - Institute on Migration Policy, Germany



Dr. Iryna Lapshyna, Dr. Sergei Abashin, Dr. Olga Gulina are the authors of this project. They analyse migration processes in Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Central Asia countries in 1991-2019. The visual and informative materials shall be of interest to academics, researchers, students, and the general public and especially those  who are interested in the field of post-Soviet migration.



The project was implemented under the management of RUSMPI UG - Institute of Migration Policy based in Berlin, Germany. The financial and administrative assistance was provided by Moscow office of the Boell Foundation in Russia. Additional informational support is provided by OpenDemocracy, RUSMPI UG, Boell Foundation in Russia, and Free Press