Ethnicity Studies 2012

Kristina Šliavaitė. Foreword. Ethnic minorities and new immigrants in the context of EU enlargement: social challenges and future perspectives.

The article in Lithuanian.

Vita Petrušauskaitė, Vilana Pilinkaitė Sotirovič Russians in Lithuania: development of an ethnic group and challenges of social integration 2001-2011

This article provides an overview of data about the characteristics of Russian adaptation over the last decade based on research conducted in 2001–2011. Politically, the goals of minority integration in Lithuania seek to ensure equal opportunity and guarantee the upkeep of ethnic identity. However, due to the lack of attention given to integration policines and newly emerging social challenges, marginalization and assimilation are becoming more evident in the adaptation tendencies of the Russian ethnic group. Due to the decrease of the number of Russians in Lithuania and the reorganization of the network of educational institutions, the importance of schools with instruction in Russian as a social institution enabling the reproduction of ethnicity has been diminishing. With regards to education reforms, as well as other important spheres of state life, processes of Russian adaptation are not sufficiently monitored – there is no data concerning the participation of non-Lithuanian children and their academic achievements in Lithuanian schools, the participation of ethnic groups in the labour market, or their access to health care and other social services. A suspension of ethnic identity in the political field signals that non-Lithuanian identities tend to be perceived as obstacles for political participation and reflect the existing tensions between different ethnic identities in Lithuania‘s society.

The article in Lithuanian.

Andrius Marcinkevičius Constructing ethnic groups in the censuses of the Soviet Union: image of Russians in Lithuania

The article analyzes changes in the ethnic composition of Soviet Lithuania in connection with national politics of the Soviet Union. Hence, factors that have significantly influenced the construction of ethnic groups in the Soviet Union, especially population censuses, are one of the main objects of the article. The author seeks to answer to whether theethnic structure of Soviet Lithuania reflected real possibilities of identity expression or the image of society desired by the Soviet government. Much attention is given to the legitimization of status in censuses of titular ethnic groups of the Soviet republics such as Russians and other ethnic groups. The author interpreted censuses of the Soviet period not only as an important source of information about the ethnic or social composition of society, but also as a political construct, which reflected the interests of governmental institutions. Consequently, this article gives special attention to the expectations of governmental institutions analyzes the criterions that caused the construction of ethnic categories in censuses. It is concluded that data concerning the ethnic composition of Soviet Lithuania does not reflect a variety of ethnic identity expression, but rather, only the borders of ethnic identification that were recognized by the totalitarian regime. In addition, aspects of the construction of ethnic groups in national politics of the Soviet Union also caused the wide spread of stereotypic image of Russians in Lithuania (for example. as migrants or occupants and so on). It is often not taken into account that Russians in Soviet Lithuania were a heterogeneous group consisting of members with different identities (Old Believers, descendents of colonists from the Russian Empire, White emigres) who were in part also subject to Soviet repressions and deportations.

The article in Lithuanian.

Monika Frėjutė-Rakauskienė Lithuanian press and public opinion polls about the Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian ethnic groups and new immigrants

The article is based on qualitative research concerning the Lithuanian press (2011 September – 2012 February), which seeks to reveal the context of discussions in the press about new immigrants and ethnic minorities (Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians). The article deals with issues of inter-ethnic relations: the prevailing problems and themes in the press, the principle actors, and causes of the problems (presented arguments explaining the causes of the problems). Thus, the research shows what, how and which groups‘ opinions and outlooks about these groups are constructed in the Lithuanian press. The results of this research are compared with the results of earlier Lithuanian press research (2005 January – 2007 June). Likewise, this article presents the results of a public opinion poll from 2012 regarding attitudes towards the groups being researched in order to compare whether they reflect the images constructed in the Lithuanian press about Ukranians, Russians, Belarusians, and new immigrant groups.

The article in Lithuanian.

Kristina Šliavaitė Ethnic minorities in labour market: the importance of language, citizenship ans social networks (the case of Visaginas)

This paper focuses on some aspects of social and economic integraton of ethnic minorities (Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians) in Visaginas. Specifically, it looks at what strategies are employed in adapting to the changing socio-economic situation and narrowing spectrum of job possibilities after the closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant. The paper is based on data of qualitative research which was conducted in Visaginas in the framework of the research project „Social Challenges for Ethnic Minorities and New Immigrant Groups in Lithuania after Joining the EU“ at the end of 2011 – first half of 2012. The research was funded by a grant (No. MIP-029/2011) from the Research Council of Lithuania. The main data comes from qualitative in-depth interviews with representatives of different generations of the most prevalent ethnic groups (Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians) in Visaginas. Interviews with experts and some related statistical data are used as background material. The key issues defined by the informants as the most important for successful participation in the job market are: the knowledge of the state language (Lithuanian), citizenship, and social networks. One‘s ethnic background, i.e. Lithuanian roots, were perceived by part of the informants as guaranteeing better possibilities in the job market. This can be interpreted as revealing certain feelings of insecurity among the ethnic minorities. The author suggests that the closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant could promote processes of social integration for those residents of Visaginas who plan to spend their future lives in Lithuania.

The article in Lithuanian.

Monika Frėjutė-Rakauskienė, Kristina Šliavaitė Russians, Poles and Belarusians in Lithuania: interplay of local, regional and European identities

The paper is based on qualitative data collected in Lithuania in the framework of the international research project ENRI-East (European, National and Regional Identities: Nations Between the States Along the New Eastern Borders of the European Union) in 2008-2011. Qualitative in-depth biographical interviews were conducted with the representatives of different generations of Russian, Belarusian and Polish groups in Lithuania. The authors discuss such questions as: how do the informants perceive Europe and the EU? Do they identify with Europe or with some other regions? What are their connections with their historical homeland and current country of residence? A comparative analysis of these issues between three ethnic groups and three generations is presented. The authors argue that the identities built with Europe and the EU, the historical homeland and country of residence, or locality coexist and overlap, and that aspects of ethnicity and generation shape their configurations.

The article in Lithuanian.

Karolis Žibas Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians: from immigrants to future citizens

The article develops the field of immigration research. With the help of qualitative research methods, the experiences of new immigrant groups – Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians – are analysed. Experiences are disclosed through different aspects: individual and collective immigration experiences (strategies), participation in the labour market, formation of migration networks, attitudes towards acquisition of Lithuanian citizenship and permanent residence in Lithuania. The article seeks to look at the specific features of immigration of Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians by disclosing how different migration determinants at the macro, mezo and micro levels are shaping migration motives, particularities of economic activities, trends of social networking, and attitudes towards acquisition of Lithuanian citizenship. A detailed analysis of the structure of immigration in Lithuania is carried out, and the newest statistical data on immigration trends is presented (statistical data is illustrated by the results of qualitative research concerning individual and collective migration motives). On the one hand, attitudes of immigrants and different types of social ties between immigrants and the majority society are analysed; on the other hand, the abovementioned results are illustrated by structural factors of immigration (immigration and migrantų integration policies).

The article in Lithuanian.

Rasa Erentaitė, Vilana Pilinkaitė Sotirovič The gender perspective in migration: analysis of third-country nationals in Lithuania

Migration studies often benefit from inclusion of the gender perspective. Nevertheless, migration experiences of men and women are still not equally well represented in research on migration processes, policies, and migrant integration. Therefore, this study aims to 1) discuss the potential of the gender perspective in studies on migration and migration-related phenomena, and 2) describe and analyze the situation of third-country
nationals in Lithuania from the gender perspective. Two empirical methods are employed in this study – both an analysis of official registry data on migration, and interviews with experts. The study shows that gender is an important category for explaining both immigration flows from the third countries, as well as migrant integration in Lithuania. Men dominate the economic migration paths, while women are mostly excluded from economic
migration to Lithuania due to the interaction of various factors. Economic migration paths, dominated by men, provide more legal protection for the incoming migrants, while family reunification paths taken by women make them dependent upon their families and social networks. The study also shows that possibilities of integration for each migrant group are best described by analyzing the intersections of gender, country of origin, ethnicity, language, religion, migration paths and openness of migrant communities.

The article in Lithuanian.

Simona Zavratnik Images of immigrants in Slovenia: insights from public opinion research

The article deals with the Slovene public’s perception of the issues of migration, integration of immigrants, and multiculturalism. It is empirically based on the research survey “Migration, integration, and multiculturalism – empirical data collection” which was performed in 2007. The first topic of the article addresses the public’s general attitudes to migration and migrants: migrants as a threat and/or an economic corrective of the labour market. The data shows support for two negatively toned statements, which imply that immigrants are a factor of unfair competition for the domestic population and a burden for the taxpayers. The second theme concerns positioning Slovenia in contemporary migration trends. Here, the public opinion favours segmented admission of immigrants, based on both geographical origin and socio-economic background. The public opinion also brings forth two conflicting statements: a more restrictive asylum and migration policy is required versus Slovenia should work towards a tolerant and multicultural society. The third topic deals with integration policies and thus with the internal social borders between immigrants and the majority population. The respondents considered the following factors as the most important for successful integration in Slovene society: knowledge of the language, adequate education and employment; skin colour and the Catholic religion were considered less important factors.

The article in English.