Social Relations And Identity: The Russian Diaspora In Sofia

Benovska-Sabkova, Milena (2013) Social Relations And Identity: The Russian Diaspora In Sofia. In: Diaspora as a Resource: Comparative Studies in Strategies, Networks and Urban Space. Freiburg Studies in Social Anthropology (36). LIT Verlag, pp. 89-103. ISBN 9783643801456

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The presence of long-term cultural proximity between Russia and Bulgaria is an important stimulus for the formation and reproduction of the Russian diaspora in Bulgaria. All three layers of the Russian diaspora in Bulgaria were shaped under the influence of important political factors. The first stratum was formed under the pressure of tragic events after the October revolution, while the high level of political, economic and cultural relatedness between Bulgaria and Soviet Union was a prerequisite for the formation of the second diasporic layer. On the other side, the post-socialist growth of the Russian diaspora has been facilitated by the freedom of movement after the end of socialism. In this way, the Russians in Bulgaria are a community demonstrating the importance of political factors in the formation of diasporas.
The descendants of mixed marriages between Russians and Bulgarians quite often develop a “Bulgarian” or a dual identity. Russian formal associations and clubs, informal friendly groups and networks aim at counteracting the fading of Russian identities and at producing social cohesion inside the diasporic community. Despite its social diversity and hybridization, since its formation onwards, the Russian community in Bulgaria has developed dense networks of institutions and organizations: important indicators distinguishing diasporas from other types of dispersed communities. The network structure of the Russian diaspora in Sofia is based on a hierarchical stratification, characteristic of the historical homeland (Russia or the Soviet Union) and keeps up these social borders also within the frameworks of Bulgarian society.
The Russian diaspora in Bulgaria successfully plays the role of “a bridge” between the homeland and the host country; it has been involved in transnational networks. The Russian diasporic community in Bulgaria, however, differs from the post-Soviet diasporas in the ex-Soviet republics in the fact that so far it has not been used as tool of legitimation for Russian interference in the host country’s home policy. The changes in the policy of Russia in the wake of 2000 have been tangibly including the Russians in Bulgaria in the present-day Russian national project.

Item Type:Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords:russian diaspora, social relations, identity
Subjects:Sociology.Anthropology > Anthropology
ID Code:3903
Deposited By: Prof. Dr. Milena Benovska-Sabkova
Deposited On:16 Dec 2018 13:05
Last Modified:16 Dec 2018 13:05

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