Lauren Woodard

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Massachusetts, Amherst, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9255

Approve Date

April 8, 2016

Project Title

Woodard, Lauren, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA - To aid research on 'The Politics of Return: Resettlement, Development, and Nostalgia in Post-Soviet Russia,' supervised by Dr. Julie Hemment

LAUREN WOODARD, then a graduate student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, received funding in April 2016 to aid research on ‘The Politics of Return: Resettlement, Development, and Nostalgia in Post-Soviet Russia,’ supervised by Dr. Julie Hemment. This dissertation examines the tensions in Russia’s migration policies between exclusion and inclusion against a global backdrop of rising nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiments in Europe and the US. While recent scholarship on migration has highlighted how governments have sought to restrict population movement, this project examines the politics of migration from another perspective. Through Russia’s Resettlement of Compatriots Program, state officials seek to attract, rather than repel, immigrants by expanding citizenship to include those who broadly identify themselves as aligned with Russia’s interests. Mobilized by state discourses of homeland, ethnic Russians and Russian speakers are ‘returning’ to Russia through this program that promises financial assistance and a Russian passport. Based on 11 months of fieldwork in Moscow and Vladivostok, this project takes the resettlement program as an entry point for examining notions of race in debates about migration and citizenship in Russia. Who is included and who is excluded in conceptions of Russian citizenship? And how do these predeterminations of citizenship play out in everyday interactions between Russians and immigrants? By examining Russian migration policies and how they are lived, the study investigates the uneasy relationship between national narratives built on multiculturalism and the national security and anti-immigrant rhetoric of this moment.