Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Political Economy of Russian Migration Politics

Version 1 : Received: 17 September 2016 / Approved: 18 September 2016 / Online: 18 September 2016 (09:45:52 CEST)

How to cite: Malakhov, V.; Simon, M. The Political Economy of Russian Migration Politics. Preprints 2016, 2016090058. Malakhov, V.; Simon, M. The Political Economy of Russian Migration Politics. Preprints 2016, 2016090058.


The authors argue that despite significant numbers of foreign workers present in the Russian labor market Russia remains unattractive for highly skilled foreign workers. The economic crisis the country has faced since 2014 has resulted in a further outflow of foreign nationals from OECD countries. So Russia has to look for employees among newcomers from the former Soviet states, the majority of whom come from Central Asia. Russian politics with regard to immigration is characterized by the collision between “geopolitical” and domestic policy rationales. On one hand, seeking to maximize its influence in the post-Soviet space Russia provides preferential conditions of employment for citizens of partner countries in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union. On the other hand, the Kremlin is afraid to liberalize its approach to immigration and the integration of immigrants through fear of losing popularity among the electorate. The second substantial feature of Russian immigration politics is an extreme level of securitization of migration issues. The government considers these issues primarily through a policing lens. One cannot claim that the Russian state does not take any steps to liberalize “migratory regulation”; however, the effect of these measures is being vastly reduced by new restrictions. In addition, liberally designed laws do not bring the expected results due to the corrupt practices that pervade the whole of migration regulation.


labor migration; migration policy; Russia; Post-Soviet space; governmentality; labor legalization


Business, Economics and Management, Economics

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