Migration to the homeland: reflections on settlement, migration and mobility in the experience of the post-Soviet Greek migrants in Greece and Cyprus
Paper short abstract:
The aim of this paper is to reflect on different patterns of settlement, migration and mobility in the experience of the post-Soviet Greek migrants in Greece and Cyprus.
Paper long abstract:
Since the late 1980s, Greece has received approximately 200 000 ethnic Greeks (Pontic and Mariupol Greeks) from the former Soviet Union. In parallel, some 20 000 have settled in Cyprus. Until 2000, in official Greek government rhetoric, the migrants were called "repatriates" who had "repatriated" to their homeland. In both countries, they constituted "privileged return migrants" who were entitled to Greek citizenship through a facilitated procedure. In the 1990s, also other measures were foreseen to facilitate their integration into the Greek and Cypriot societies. In reality, the reasons for migration varied and have been explained by a wide range of factors having to do with identity, security, economic and educational issues. In Greece, the migrants faced all sorts of difficulties, e.g., deskilling, exploitation and hostility from the local population. In the end, the disillusion was reciprocal as both the locals and the newcomers were disappointed by one another. Over the years, it seems that most migrants have adapted to their new environment. Some migrants have returned to their old home countries, some others have adopted transnational circulatory migration patterns with frequent travel between the old and the new home countries, or other places. The aim of this paper is to reflect on different patterns of settlement, migration and mobility in the experience of the post-Soviet Greek migrants in Greece and Cyprus. How is commuting or relocation experienced and explained by migrants and perceived by others, considering the migrants' age, gender, legal and social status.
The inequalities of (im)mobility