Georgian restaurants in Saint-Petersburg: challenges of deportability
Evgenia Zakharova (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography/European University at St. Petersburg)
Paper short abstract:
The presentation will deal with the strategies that "ethnic" Georgian restaurants in Saint-Petersburg and labor migrants from Georgia who are employed by them use to adapt to deportability and with the regimes of migrants' social in/exclusion.
Paper long abstract:
In legal terms labor migration from Georgia to Russia represents a special case among post-Soviet republics. In contrast to the CIS citizens who make the majority of labor migrants to Russia Georgian migrants need employment-based immigrant visas which until recently were actually almost impossible to obtain. Despite the mass deportation of Georgian citizens from Russia in 2006 and Russo-Georgian war in 2008 the extant social ties, certain competency in Russian and perceived cultural closeness still makes Russia an attractive destination for Georgian labor migrants. The love for Georgian cuisine in Russia dates back to the Soviet era and has been recently reinforced by tourist re-exploration of Georgia by Russian holidaymakers, which resulted in fast multiplication of Georgian "ethnic" cafes and restaurants in Russian cities. The lack of locally based professionals caused both the small employers and the owners of network restaurants to import labor from Georgia. These invited employees cross Russian border and stay illegally. Since public catering is highly regulated and inspected sphere in Russia the functioning of Georgian restaurant business is challenging. Russia's counterterrorist and migration control efforts result in routine street checks by the police, and it is mostly "southerners" who become subject to them. For this reason in public space Georgian labor migrants are constantly under the threat of deportation. The presentation will deal with the strategies that Georgian restaurants in Saint-Petersburg and labor migrants from Georgia who are employed by them use to adapt to deportability and with the regimes of migrants' social in/exclusion.Download the full paper
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