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Accepted Paper:

“Volunteers and all people of good will:” Transferring the model of Ukrainian volunteer organisation to Finland  
Emma Rimpiläinen (Uppsala University)

Paper short abstract:

Thousands of Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion are arriving to Finland, where they are greeted by a volunteer movement coordinated by the Ukrainian diaspora. How are Ukrainian volunteering practices transferred to the Finnish context, and what impact will this self-organisation have?

Paper long abstract:

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year, two social phenomena have intensified massively in Ukraine. One is the mobility of people fleeing war; while the war in Ukraine’s Donbas region had already created almost two million internally displaced people since 2014, the recent full-scale invasion has uprooted at least five times as many people, with a large share of them now fleeing abroad. Further, a vibrant volunteer movement existed in Ukraine especially since the Euromaidan Revolution, often responding to the needs of the army, internally displaced people, and other groups of vulnerable citizens much faster than the state. Since February 2022, this volunteer movement has expanded further and almost every Ukrainian has become a volunteer in some capacity or other.

This paper examines the confluence of these phenomena, that is, the arrival of displaced Ukrainians and the Ukrainian volunteer movement in Finland. The Association of Ukrainians has rapidly responded to the needs of their compatriots arriving to Finland by creating volunteer structures analogous to the ones emerging in Ukraine. The question is how the flexible culture of volunteer organisation, geared towards fixing problems immediately, fares in the Finnish context, where welfare provisioning usually comes from the state rather than volunteer organisations, and where a strong normative expectation of doing things by the book can lead to a degree of inflexibility. What impact will the Ukrainian volunteer movement have on Finnish refugee organisations, work culture, or principles of immigration reception? What tensions will emerge?

Panel P130
Mobile Ideas of the Common(s). Forced Migrants’ transforming desired futures of political communalities. [AnthroMob]
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -