This award was funded through the Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National Security, Conflict, and Cooperation competition, a joint venture between NSF and the Department of Defense.
This project examines how international migration affects human security and patterns of international influence. International migration affects the ability to enforce international human rights, alters national cultural composition, tests the limits of social and political tolerance, and binds national economies. It also creates complex economic, social, and political linkages between states that have an important influence on geopolitical considerations. These analyses focus on migration within Eurasia, where documentation is currently inadequate. Migration in the region is rarely included in debates over migration theory despite its large population and significance for U.S. foreign policy. Focusing on the Russian Federation, the investigators explore how migration generates conflict and alters national power. Russia's emergence as the core destination country within the Eurasian migration system, coupled with its increasing tendency towards authoritarian rule, challenges assumptions concerning the importance of liberal political orientations in destination states, and may pose a strategic challenge to U.S. interests within the region. This three-stage project seeks to improve understanding of the movement of population within the Eurasian migration system and its implication for Russian influence in the region. First, the research team examines population movement within the system over the past twenty years, documenting the size and composition of registered migration and developing estimates of unregistered migration. Second, the investigators focus on the challenges of migrant incorporation, conducting ethno-surveys within three sites of high international in-migration within the Russian Federation. The research team supplements these ethno-surveys with national case studies of an alternative migrant destination (Ukraine), and four countries known for sending labor migrants to the Russian Federation (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia and Vietnam), highlighting how remittances and labor out migration are incorporated into national development strategies. In the third stage, the investigators turn to the assessment of human and international security concerns, incorporating insights from regions that send migrants to the Russian Federation on the relationship between migration, remittance reliance, and Russian political influence. The findings will add to current debates concerning globalization, development, and migration while clarifying the implications of Russia's migration state status on international stability and influence across a region central to U.S. security goals.