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Identity and Integration Aspirations in the Regional Context: based on Studies in Moscow and Sochi


Svetlana V. Ryzhova, Candidate of Sociology leading researcher, ,
mailto: Silica2@yandex.ru
Identity and Integration Aspirations in the Regional Context: based on Studies in Moscow and Sochi.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2010. Vol. 1. No. 1. P. 443-462


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For citation:
Svetlana V. Ryzhova. Identity and Integration Aspirations in the Regional Context: based on Studies in Moscow and Sochi. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2010. Vol. 1. No. 1. P. 443-462



Abstract

The article compares the processes of developing a city, ethnic, and civic (national) identity in Moscow and in Sochi. We look at the extent to which ethnic communities rally together and determine the level of local, nationwide, and ethnic solidarity, as well as the level of social tension, as exhibited through ethnic conflicts. Furthermore, we study the factors that impact such processes. By reviewing the attitudes to migrants and analyzing the trends of building the key macro identities in the cities of Moscow and Sochi, we can track the processes of fostering integration-centric attitudes among the Russian population in the regional context. As we juxtapose the development of the city, ethnic, and national identity of people living in Moscow and Sochi, it becomes apparent how much the population is actually consolidated within specific locales, the nation, and ethnic communities, whereas as we consider how ethnic groups rally themselves, we are able to determine the degree of social tension, which is capable of escalating into ethnic conflict. Historically, the people of Sochi have always been able to adapt really well to living side by side with diverse ethnic groups. Our study has revealed that, despite the local ethnic Russian population having shrunk notably after the perestroika, the Russians living in Sochi are more open-minded towards migrants than those living in Moscow. They have a more democratic mindset and display a sense of ethnic solidarity that is on par with the attitudes among the locals belonging to other ethnicities. The comparative analysis of ethnic identity and ethnic solidarity dynamics, ethnic community spirit and attitude towards migrants shows that the inclination towards supporting integration among the residents of specific Russian cities is largely rooted in the regional context, the local history, and the city’s economic status and role in Russia’s political development. Moscow continues to experience the trend of ethnic tensions, while Sochi, so far, retains a sustainable inter-ethnic consensus. The ability to further maintain this consensus depends on the region’s future economic, ethnic, and demographic development, and especially on the city’s or Krai’s policy on regulating the job market and making resources more accessible. As of today, Sochi exhibits a very strong sense of national identity, which serves as a foundation for civic consolidation on the regional and federal level.

Keywords

identity, integration attitudes, migrant, inter-ethnic tension, Moscow, Sochi.

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