Post-Soviet Transnational Urban Communities
This dissertation is devoted to the study of the transformation of urban local identity in the context of migration processes after the collapse of the USSR. 1. It offers a comparative history of the development of St Petersburg (Russia), Odessa (Ukraine) and Baku (Azerbaijan) as socio-cultural spaces, within which urban communities were created and urban habitus was designed. The most important period in their history is connected with Europeanisation of the Russian Empire. This history
... This history largely determines the specificity of the cities' urban habitus, respectively. 2. Research is focused on the urban communities of Petersburgers, Odessites, and Bakuvians, which are presently experiencing mass emigration and an influx of population from other cities or rural areas. These communities remaining in their hometowns have lost some influence and status, but in the context of this loss, and due to the rapid development of digital communications, members of these urban communities have also created transnational networks. The city clubs established in St. Petersburg, Odessa and Baku in 1990-1991 have played a special role in creating such networks. Specifics of the communities and their urban habitus have been studied in parallel with the research concerning urban club activities. 3. Social networking practices of members of these urban communities are studied, with focus on immigrants in Germany, and Berlin in particular. Club creation practices allow migrants to symbolically reconstruct familiar living conditions and define the specifics of their integration into the host community (in Germany). Such research makes it possible to describe the internal diversity of the group defined as Russian-speaking Jews, and contributes to discussion about integration policy principles.