Beyond Nations and Nationalities: Discussing the Variety of Migrants’ Identifications in Russian Social Media


This article examines how transnational labor migrants to Russia from the five former Soviet Union countries – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – identify themselves in social media. The authors combine Rogers Brubaker's theory of identifications with Randall Collins' interaction ritual theory to study migrants' online interactions in the largest Russian social media ( They observed online interactions in 23 groups. The article illuminates how normative and policy contexts affect the Russian Federation's migration processes through a detailed discussion of migrants' everyday online interactions. Results reveal common and country-specific identifications of migrants in their online interactions. Migrants from Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan employ identifications connected to diasporic connections. Migrants from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in their identifications refer to low-skilled labor migration to Russia as a fact, a subject for assessment, and as a unifying category. For these countries, the present and the future of the nation is discussed in the framework of evaluation of mass immigration to Russia.

Author Biographies

Natalia D. Tregubova, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Natalia D. Tregubova (Ph.D. in Sociology) is an Assistant Professor at the Chair of Comparative Sociology, Faculty of Sociology, St. Petersburg State University, Russia. Her research interests lie primarily in theories of human interaction, artificial sociality, comparative historical sociology and sociology of everyday life. Natalia’s most recent publications in peer-reviewed journals are: “Transnational Migrants in the Internet: Theoretical Foundations for Studying Transnationalism Online” (2020); “Division of Labor, Cooperation, and New Types of Expertise in the Age of Artificial Sociality: The Case of IT-companies in Russia and Belarus” (2020); “Artificial Intelligence, On-line Culture, Artificial Sociality: Definition of the Term” (co-author: A. V. Rezaev, 2019); “Are Sociologists Ready for ‘Artificial Sociality’? Current Issues and Future Prospects for Studying Artificial Intelligence in the Social Sciences” (co-author: A. V. Rezaev, 2018).

Maxim L. Nee, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Maxim L. Nee (M.A. in Sociology) is a Researcher at the International Research Laboratory “Transnationalism and Migration Processes: Comparative and Institutional Analysis”, St. Petersburg State University, Russia. Maxim’s research interests embrace transnational migration, ethnographic methods in sociological research, ethnomethodology and membership categorization analysis and sociology of higher education. His recent publications in peer-reviewed journals include: “Latent Student Discontent under Academic Capitalism: A Comparative Analysis of Ideal Types of Students in Natural and Social Sciences Departments” (co-author: A. V. Rezaev, 2020); “Transnationalism Online: Exploring Migration Processes With Large Data Sets” (co-authors: V. S. Starikov and A. I. Ivanova, 2018); “Interactional Lenses for Contemporary Migration Studies: The Case of the “Cosmopolitan Sociability” Concept” (co-author: P. P. Lisitsyn); “Ethnic identifications and transnational practices of Russian Koreans in St. Petersburg” (2017).


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How to Cite
Tregubova, N., & Nee, M. (2020). Beyond Nations and Nationalities: Discussing the Variety of Migrants’ Identifications in Russian Social Media. Changing Societies & Personalities, 4(3), 323–349. doi:10.15826/csp.2020.4.3.104