Post-Soviet migrants and their 'external' and 'internal' mobilisation

Lecture and discussion | 9 April 2019 | 6:30-8:30 pm

With Igor Eidman (journalist), Jannis Panagiotidis (Osnabrück University), Tatiana Golova (ZOiS), Chair: Robert Kindler (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Picture from the documentary 'Uncle Putin, We Follow You' (2019).

There are more than three million migrants from the post-Soviet space and their offspring living in Germany, the majority of them Russian German resettlers and their families. The independent television production Uncle Putin, We Follow You (2019) by director Artem Demenok and sociologist Igor Eidman (in collaboration with journalist Boris Reitschuster) turns the spotlight on the largest group of voters with a migration background, focusing especially on the influence of Russia’s pro-government media. At this event at ZOiS, Igor Eidman will show excerpts from the film, followed by a discussion with experts. What kind of political attitudes predominate among ethnic Germans from Russia, and what is behind the shift to the right that can be observed, not least from their voting behaviour? Jannis Panagiotidis will present the findings of his new study on voting at the local level. Tatiana Golova, whose research focuses on social media networks, will show that post-Soviet migrants are not only targeted by external political actors, be it in the national or transnational context, but actively create their own communication structures as well.

What can be done to deal with this attempted and actual mobilisation, both external and internal, without stigmatising an entire social group? And why are liberal voices rarely heard in the post-Soviet community?


Igor Eidman is a Russian sociologist and journalist. He has lived in Germany since 2011 and writes for various German media. His latest book is Das System Putin: Wohin steuert das neue russische Reich? [Putin's System: Where is the new “Russian empire” heading?]

Jannis Panagiotidis is a historian and Junior Professor of Russian German Migration and Integration at Osnabrück University’s Institute of Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS).

Tatiana Golova is a researcher at ZOiS. Her sociological research interests include post-Soviet migrants in Germany and transnational public spheres on social media.

Robert Kindler is a research associate at Humboldt University in Berlin and academic coordinator of the BMBF-funded Landscapes of Persecution research group.