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This week's editor

Manuel Serrano

Manuel Serrano is Junior Editor at DemocraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Ukraine’s displaced people: status unknown


Why are refugees in Ukraine second-class citizens? Русский


Georgia: the exiles’ election

Twenty five years after the separatist wars that shook Georgia, 265,000 displaced people still struggle to make ends meet — and their voices heard. 

An unlikely home

Abkhazia may not be the first port of call for Syrian refugees, but historical ties link this unrecognised state on the Black Sea coast to the epicentre of conflict. Русский

A refugee family’s ordeal in Russia

The Russian authorities’ attitude to refugees fleeing ISIS falls short of the compassion these people deserve.


Refugees or repatriates? Syrian Armenians return to Armenia


Armenians have lived in Syria for centuries. Following the outbreak of war, many have been seeking refuge in Armenia. на русском языке

Migrant voices onstage in London

This month, London hosts a series of documentary performances on migration in eastern Europe.


‘The convention on refugees: rescind it or carry it out’


Who receives refugee status or temporary asylum in Russia – and how.


Warped mirror: how Russian media covers Europe’s refugee crisis

Zhilin crop.jpgFor all of its sniping and sensation, Russian media’s coverage of refugees in Europe hit too close to home. на русском языке


Ukrainian refugees in Russia receive a mixed welcome

Many people took refuge in Russia after fleeing eastern Ukraine last summer. Their experiences are far from uniform. Русский


The Circassians come home

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Long exiled from their homeland, Circassians are now seeking refuge in the Caucasus following conflict in their adopted home, Syria. Adjusting to life in Russia has not been easy. Русский

Re-drawing the map of migration patterns

Migration trends picture - Dbachmann- wiki.pngThe Ukrainian crisis has triggered a redirection of migration patterns in the post-Soviet space, affecting both host countries and suppliers alike.

Making work easier for Kazakhstan’s migrant workers

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Astana has introduced a new patent system for its guest workers, the ‘gastarbaitery.’ But does the new system work for Kazakhstan’s guest workers?

How Russia is coping with its Ukrainian refugees

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Russia has almost the same number of Ukrainian refugees, as Ukraine has internally displaced persons. But what are the authorities doing? на русском языке


Ukraine is struggling to cope with a flood of internal refugees

Ukraine is faced with a flood of IDPs (internally displaced persons). But what are the authorities doing? на русском языке


Georgia and migration: a policy trap

Europe's politics of migration control are being exported to Georgia with potentially dangerous results, says Gavin Slade.

From protests to pogroms

As the level of inter-ethnic violence reaches disturbing proportions, Emil Pain asks if Russia’s protest moment has turned nasty. 


Russia, land of slaves

Last month, a number of slave migrant workers were discovered in the cellar of a Moscow store. It was, alas, just one example of a much a wider practice exploiting vulnerable groups across the country. In a special oDRussia investigation, Grigory Tumanov reports on the worrying prevalence of modern-day enslavement within Russia.

Kyrgyz migrant workers: does national pride mean violence against women?

Videos recently widely circulating on social networks in both Russia and the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan show Kyrgyz men working in Russia brutally attacking their female compatriots for the ‘crime’ of associating with men of other nationalities. Gulzat Botoeva looks at how these scenes reflect not only problems of national identity but wider issues around migrant labour in Russia

Getting by as a gastarbeiter in Kazakhstan

The stream of migrants from Central Asia seeking work in Russia is considerable, but racism and the migration laws there make them vulnerable to intimidation and exploitation. Many prefer to stay within their cultural and religious framework by working in Kazakhstan. Life there isn’t easy either, says Bhavna Dave.

Work permits: creating a documented self in Russia

The life of a migrant worker is never easy. The upheavals of the past 20 years in the former USSR have resulted in waves of Central Asians going to Russia to find work. To judge by their tales, the bureaucracy is finding it very hard to cope. Medina Aitieva spent some time with migrants in Siberia.

The quest for home

Inter-communal conflict in Kyrgyzstan flared up in 2010. Since then ethnic Uzbeks, the largest racial minority, have been on the move. Sometimes they travel to Russia; sometimes back again. It's always difficult to know where to call home, says Abdujalil Abdurasulov.

“Nelegaly”: work and shelter in migrant Moscow

Ten days ago, an “underground town” of migrant workers was discovered below a military factory in Moscow. The discovery played into popular anxieties about migrants and was heavily spun by the national media. For Madeleine Reeves, however, it highlighted the daily struggle migrants face to stay “legal”, and survive.

Gastarbeiters in kino: Russia's invisible class gets its big break

At the recent Kinotavr film festival — "Russia's Cannes" — the main competition featured no less than three films dealing with the hitherto ignored plights of Russia’s migrant workers. For various reasons, all three films fell short of painting a realistic picture of the situation. But their production is just the start: many more Russian gastarbeiter movies are just around the corner.

Why are Kyrgyzstan’s slum dwellers so angry?

If you want to understand what has motivated the uprising of Kyrgyzstan’s poor, you need look no further than the package of neo-liberal economic reforms imposed on the country by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organisation, comments Balihar Sanghera

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