Posts tagged Immigration

Akinai’s Thoughts about Immigration in USSR

Akinai wrote about her thoughts on an article she read on immigration in the USSR.
Lewis, G.E. (1971). Migration and language in the USSR. International Migration Review, 5(2), 147-179.


The main issue the article is discussing about migration in the USSR. And according to the Lewis (1971), there were some deportations by which Baltic Republics affected. For instance, Lithuania in 1948, Latvia in 1949-1951 and Estonia in 1949 saw the deportation of what has been estimated at over a half-million people (Lewis, 1971, p.152). Also some nationalities like Volga Germans, Caucasians, Tatars, Chechens and Ingush moved to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic, as a result approximately over a million of people were moved.

Also the article provides us with such fact that between 1946 and 1962, 88 thousand peasant Ukrainian families were migrated. There was a significant movement within Russia between 1897 and 1926 involving migration over 11 millions. The European North region had 5.5 million in-migrants, and 8.6 million out-immigrants (Lewis, 1971, p.155). The official estimate of migration into the Central Asia was 1.7 million of people, during 1926-1939 years. Migration led to increase in birth rate and total increase in population.

The lecture I had listened is about U.S. immigration from particular continents for the years 1820 to 1995, as well as from individual countries for 1995 year. So the lecturer told that U.S. is the nation of the immigrant, and only the Native Americans are true Americans, even ancestors like Indians were also immigrants. Also there’s some terms like “melting point”, which means that all cultures came together and mixed, intermarried until everyone became the same-Americans; or stew, when they never lose true ethnic identity.

In this lecture basically are all years and numbers of people who immigrated. For example, from the all countries during the 1820-1995 years total number of people who immigrated was 60602091, how can you imagine the number like that. But in the 1995 the number was decreased, only 720461 immigrants there were.

The biggest amount of immigrants was during 1820-1995 from the Europe, which was 59, 8% out of all immigrants. But the percentage declined in the 1995 till 17, 8%. The smallest amount of immigrants through the history was from the Oceania which is only 0, 36%. Also the Asian immigrants were on the third place, after the Americans themselves, and the amount of the Asian immigrants was 7732596 people.


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Three More Examples of Student “Breakthroughs” About USSR Immigration

More examples, besides yesterday’s blog, show what my Kazakh students are capable of doing in following my assignment concerning immigration in the former Soviet Union.  They had to search for one scholarly journal article on the research databases and give feedback about it writing how it compared with American immigration (1820-1995).  I am very proud of my students, the ones who are “getting it.” The third example shows good data but I am not clear what her source is because her in-text citation may have been a quote from a quote.  Other students, however, still do not know what I am asking of them concerning APA formatting style. This all takes time (sigh).


Example #1 – M.T


 According to Lewis (1971) Soviet Union once was the largest country in the world and according to the 1959 census there were 109 nationalities living there. In the period of 1926 to 1939 due to the extreme famine and depletion of the cattle stock the number of Ukrainians decreased for more than 3 millions and number of Kazakhs decreased by more than 900,000 people, however the population of other nationalities did increased. Not only migration affected the fast growing minor nationalities in the Soviet Union factors such as high birth rate contributed to the overall increase too. There were two types of migration in the Soviet Union: retaliatory and strategic. Sometimes even the whole ethnic groups were pushed to the resettlement. Over the period of 1946-1962 88,000 of Ukrainian peasant families were resettled. Armenians scientists and students, which created total of 32% of the population, migrated to the RSFSR. In Siberia between 1959 and 1963 the number of people who left it exceeded number of in-migrants by 25000.

As we can see from these examples migration is not always driven by the desire for better life, like it is in the example of United States. In the Soviet Union migration didn’t took into consideration people’s will to move or to stay. Soviet Union’s migration is also different because its’ borders were closed, it was very hard to get in and out of this country, therefore the number of immigrants was negligible and the migration was happening among the Socialist republics. While changes in the immigration trend bring change to the U.S. population.


Lewis, E. G. (1971) Migration and language in the U.S.S.R.. International Migration Review 5(2), 147-179.


Example #2 – by R.A.

An article written by Kulischer (1944) is focused on demographic changes in population of Soviet Union and the streams of migratory movement, which is mainly internal migration. In the period of 1926-1939 there was increase of urban population as a result of migration from rural areas. This urbanization caused a small population growth in rural areas, whereas in industrial regions there was an upward trend. After German invasion, the total number of people evacuated from occupied zones was about 12,000,000. Since the evacuation was made mainly from industrial area, refugees were sent directly to urban regions, where their labor could be used. Such movements to cities and towns caused overcrowding in population, and therefore difficulties with housing. Change in ethnicity of local population is also the result of massive movement. So, in comparison with U.S, immigration in Soviet Union had another trend. I mean in U.S we see immigrants coming from various countries and even continents. However, in Soviet Union there was another picture of immigration. The main source for immigration in Soviet Union was evacuation from occupied areas during the war to other less dangerous parts of a country.


Kulischer, E. M. (1944). Recent Migration in the Soviet Union. American Sociological Review, 9(3), 223-228.

Example #3 – K.S.

         In compare with America, Kazakhstan have different periods of migration.  In our country like in other post-Soviet countries, we can divide it in to 3 parts.  Before Soviet Union, during Soviet Union and after our countries became independent.  During Soviet power, Kazakhstan was the place where government move people of many nationalities:  Germans, Turks, Poles, Chechens, Jewish, Korean, Tatars and others.  However after independent many of them migrated…As we can see since 1991 til 1999 (year of census) our country leave 1,852,250 of peple among them was 1,123,960 Slavic, 428,710 Germans, 42,368 Tatars and other.  Immigration reached its peak in 1994 when more than 480,000 people left the country.  However, also many Kazakhs were returned from Mongolia, Iran, Turkey and China.

         Today population of Kazakhstan is about 15 mln people.  At the present our migration or purposes why people migrate to our country became more similar to America’s.  Kazakhstan is the country with well developing economy; as a result attractions of our labour market is much higher then in other CIS countries.  It also happens because in our country we don’t have enough labour force.  Among migrants we can single out three major nationalities: Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Tajiks.  Wages in these countries are very low, especially in compare with Kazakhstan.  People came to our country for different periods of time and most of immigrants work in three main industries:  construction, convenience services and agriculture.

         I think we are all people and we always want a better life.  As we talk in Russian “There is good where we are not.”  Level of development of America and Kazakhstan is different, but better then in other countries.  People always will migrate to these countries.



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Three Examples of Students’ “Breakthroughs” about USSR Immigration

The following are three “breakthroughs” with my Kazakh students after they looked up relevant information about immigration in the research databases at our university’s library.  I made the assignment applicable to our situation here in Kazakhstan as it related to immigration during the period of the former Soviet Union and the subsequent collapse.  


Example #1 by Z.S.

I found this article by Zardykhan (2004) very interesting and somehow relevant to the theme of Immigration. It tells about Kazakhstan starting from eighteenth century, Soviet time and modern Kazakhstan. Article puts the question of Nation Building during the USSR and its influence to post soviet Kazakhstan. It compares it to the US immigration article, the US became a “melting pot” during 1820 and 1995 due to immigrants that came and eventually created a new nation. In our case , largest immigration event happened to Kazakhstan during Stalin’s time and his policy  of not letting countries of Central Asia to get their independence. He decided to solve this issue by migrating other ethnicities in first place Slavs who were in Kazakhstan to explore “Virgin Lands”.


The article states that:  “Between 1931 and 1940, some 509,000 people migrated to Kazakhstan from other regions of the USSR through labor recruitment alone”. Before that several ethnic groups and nationalities were deported to Kazakhstan such as Germans, Koreans from the Far East and Poles.  Also, as it is stated in the article, many ‘undesirable’ people were deported to Kazakhstan, those who were accused of different crimes or wrongdoings. This way the number of Kazakhs during that time both shrinked in size and also in the percentage of whole country population. By 1970s there were 42% of Russians (majority), 32.6% Kazakhs, that’s how we see that Soviet demographic policy aimed to destroy the ethnic composition of Kazakhstan and how migration was strong and forceful. In the end, we also might consider Kazkahstan “a melting pot” but the one which was made artificially.


Zardykhan, Zharmukhamed (2004). Russians in Kazakhstan and demographic change: Imperial legacy and the Kazakh way of nation building. Asian Ethnicity, 5.


Example #2 by M.K.

The issue of migration is very important for Kazakhstan these days. Since the population of our country is not very big and we need to improve this, we need people coming into the country and not leaving it. That’s why I wanted to find out more about migration during Soviet Union times and compare it to post Soviet statistics of migration.

The author (White, 2007) was researching the main reasons of Russians leaving the country or migrating within it. But in both of these cases, people very often return to their homes, because they have failed to succeed in a new job, city, or country. Also, besides from comparing the migration in Russia and post-Soviet countries, the article tells about migration patterns in Europe and whole world.

I personally think that you definitely have to be brave in order to leave your hometown searching for better life. It takes a lot of courage to leave all the places, things and people that you have known for many-many years and move to another city, or even country. Because who knows, maybe you won’t find your place there, and how hard it is to come back realizing that your dream has failed. But on the other hand, if you succeed and stay at the place you moved to, you feel so happy about yourself and proud of all the work you have done while achieving your goal.

So, to sum up I want to say that overall, it’s probably worth risking – to move and try to change your life, because if you try your best and work hard, you should succeed. But even if not, maybe this is not where you are supposed to be. You should never give up and keep trying.

White, A. (2007). Internal migration trends in Soviet and post-Soviet European Russia. Europe-Asia Studies, 59(6), 887-911.

Example #3 by VK

The main idea of the article by White (2007) is to compare migration in the Russia during Soviet and post-Soviet periods. Author tries to find out the reason why people migrated and what period was the peak of migration.

 Actually, migration in Soviet Union was ignored and old-fashioned migration from villages to cities was quite normal. I have heard a lot about migration after the Soviet Union collapsed. A huge amount of people were returning home or migrating in order to find the best place to live. The author writes: “…some types of Soviet migrant still have their contemporary counterparts—middle-aged professional people moving from provincial towns and cities in search of more rewarding jobs, or young people moving to the city from villages and small towns for education or staying on there after graduation or military service.” But after being disappointed they returned back or migrated somewhere else. There is even one proverb: “It is always good in the place where there are no us”. Even my grand grandparents migrated from one place to another in order to find something better.

According to the article there are several types of migration “permanent, return, and temporary or occasional”. Anne White explores the management of migration and finds some ways to measure migration. However it is still impossible to say the exact figure of people who migrated during Soviet and post-Soviet periods, but it is obvious that immigration was “popular”.

Nowadays migration is normal phenomenon. It is widespread all over the world! I have just been to the USA and I met a lot of people who moved from ex-Soviet republics to America. All of them had their own reason to move, but I have heard about some cases when people were made to immigrate.

As for me I don’t want to move anywhere as I love my homeland, but….who knows? =)

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