African Entrepreneurs in Moscow: How They Did It Their Way
The article will discuss the variety of African migrants’ pathways toward social recognition and success in a Russian megacity by describing and analyzing the experiences of the Ethiopian owners of two establishments in Moscow: a lavish downtown restaurant, and a small café on an international university campus on the city’s outskirts. These cases display various points of both similarity and divergence, but are here regarded as examples of successful African entrepreneurship, each in its own way, contrasting with the usual representation of Africans as passive victims in the receiving society. As background for the analysis we provide information on the changes that have occurred since the breakup of the USSR, and which have impacted on the migrants’ social composition, on their strategies of integration, and on the modes P. 206. of their acceptance by the new sociocultural milieu. The research is based mainly on in-depth and semi-structured interviews with the two establishment owners, their employees, and guests conducted in May to June 2012. It reveals the factors that have promoted their successful establishment in the Russian capital as well as their own perceptions of the position of migrants within it.