In this study, the ethnic self-perception of Greeks from Russia and Georgia (alternatively known as Pontic Greeks) is examined in the socio-political context of Cyprus. I analyze the concept of mother tongue and the potential (symbolic) role it plays within the multilingual community of Pontic Greeks in Cyprus. The study demonstrates that the majority of Pontic Greeks both from Russia and Georgia ethnically self-identify as ‘Greeks’ while speaking different languages. Language plays a vital role in ethnic self-identification of some Pontic Greeks, while for others the link between language and ethnicity appears to be insignificant. Interestingly, the ‘Greekness’ of some Pontic Greeks is questioned by the local population, which appears to be sensitive to the language-ethnicity link.
This paper is based on a study which compares repatriation policies of Germany, Russia and Kazakhstan The choice of cases is based on a “most similar case design.” The Russian case results in unsuccessful and unsustainable repatriation, the German case exhibits a change from sustainable repatriation to a slow termination of the program, while the case of Kazakhstan is one of sustainable and relatively successful repatriation. The main argument of the paper is that in order for a repatriation program to be sustainable, the program must contain both a practical component and an ideological component. If a repatriation program lacks ideological backing which permeates other aspects of political life in a state, the repatriation program grinds to a halt. If a repatriation program has ideological backing, but is rendered impractical and does not meet the economic, demographic and labor market needs of a state, then the further development of the program stops. The findings of this study merit further reflection on issues of changing national identities, on the transnational essence of migration pathways, and on the “post-Soviet condition” which has set the stage for all of the aforementioned processes and transformations.
Over the last fifteen years, the ethnic make-up of Moscow’s mosques has undergone significant change, while the number of practising Muslims has grown several tens of times. These quantitative changes are connected with both the internal migration of people from the North Caucasian republics (a migration that had already begun in the early 1990s) and the external migration of natives of Central Asian states, primarily Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kirgizia (a mass migration dating from the 2000s). This paper is dedicated to two phenomena of contemporary Moscow Muslim life – the loud zikr (dhikr) of the Kunta Haji wird of the Qadiri tariqah, practised by Chechens and Ingush; and the religious practices of the Central Asian “uninstitutionalised” mullahs. Both spiritual practices are popular and have great significance for a considerable proportion of Moscow Muslims, including for those who do not directly participate in them. What both practices have in common is also found in their marginal nature with regard both to institutionalised Moscow Islam and to the Wahhabist trend which is now gathering steam here. This is an attempt to identify some specific features of contemporary Moscow Islam through the analysis of certain practices.