Contemporary migrations in the ukraine

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Contemporary migrations in the ukraine

  1. 1. CONTEMPORARY MIGRATIONS IN THE UKRAINE The Ukraine has experience of migrations of people in great numbers. The firstimmigrants from the Ukraine appeared in other countries in the second half of the19th century. Among these countries were the USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina. Forexample, in the period at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century,over 200,000 people emigrated mainly from the countryside of the western regions ofthe Ukraine (Zberigayuchy ukrainsku samobutnist 1992). Scientists state thefollowing reasons for such a migrant flow to overseas countries: poverty, nationaland political discrimination (at that time the above mentioned regions belonged to theAustrian-Hungarian Empire). Countries of Central and Western Europe were seen byUkrainian emigrants as a temporary station on their way to America. In the 1920sand 1930s new places of emigration appeared - Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austriawhere those political immigrants went to who could not accept the socialist system.The phenomenon of political emigration also took place after World War II. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the appearance of new independentstates, migrations really became a problem for the new states, and especially for theUkraine. What are the causes of todays migrations? There are three main causes: 1)resettlement of population between the former Soviet republics as a result of thecollapse of the Soviet state; 2) unsatisfactory conditions (economic, political,cultural) of life under contemporary circumstances; 3) transit migrations. As to the first reason, resettlements took place before the collapse of the SovietUnion, but these migrations were seen as the moving of people within the frameworkof one and the same state, in other words, these migrations were considered asinterregional. They were classified officially as a factor of "strengthening thefriendship of the peoples of the USSR". These migrations were strongly regulatedwith the aim of building a new conglomerate, the so called "Soviet people". Today, these movements of people are between the new states. The migrants to theUkraine are: 1) Ukrainians coming back to their motherland from different parts ofthe former Soviet Union (1990: 150,800); 2) people deported during the Stalin era,among them Crimean-Tartars (in the period from 1989-1993 roughly 200,000Crimean-Tartars came to the Ukraine from Central Asia and the Cuban Region in
  2. 2. Russia mainly to the Crimean peninsula), Armenians, Bulgarians and others; 3)refugees, who came from the zones of ethnic and interstate conflicts (for example,during the conflict in the Dnester-Republic, Moldavia in 1992, more than 60,000refugees came to the Odessa region; refugees are coming from other zones too - theCaucasus, Central Asia). As to the second reason for migrations – unsatisfactory conditions of life –sociological studies in 1992-1993 show that more than 80 percent of Ukrainiansexperience a worsening of their living standards, and over 60 percent do not expectthat this will be improved in the foreseeable future. Public opinion polls (at the end of1992) indicate the following trends: 28 percent of the respondents would like to goabroad to work there for a few months, 21 percent for a few years and 13 percentwant to leave the Ukraine forever (IOM 1993). Very impressive numbers ofUkrainians wanting to work in other countries are among young people aged 30-34years. The polls of 1993 confirm the main tendencies indicated in the previous studies:12.3 percent of the respondents would like to emigrate for good, and 52.4 percentwould like to leave the Ukraine for temporary work or study (Shlepakov et alt. 1993).To understand the real picture of migration processes, one has to know the motives ofemigration: the overwhelming majority of respondents (over 70 percent) would liketo leave the Ukraine because of unsatisfactory economic conditions. Over one thirdstated that in the Ukraine they could not realize their abilities. Remarkable in thisaspect is the fact that among these people 41 percent are youths under twenty years,40 percent are students. The third emigration motive is the concern for the future oftheir children (22.1 percent). Political instability can be seen as an important reasonfor emigration as well (17 percent). Among other reasons, ethnic and religiousmotives were mentioned (14 percent) and ecological ones, connected primarily withChernobyl (5.6 percent). But only 3.7 percent of respondents indicated nationaldiscrimination as a reason for emigrating (Shlepakov et al. 1993). What are the main destination countries of potential emigrants from the Ukraine?More than 50 percent of them see the USA and Canada as desirable countries; Israelis attractive for 2.5 percent. There are people who want to go to Australia, Argentina,
  3. 3. Chile and in the recent years to Russia too. In the final case, potential migrants arefrom the Crimean peninsula and the eastern- southern regions of the Ukraine, wherethe Russian speaking population is concentrated. One group of people in the polls has drawn the special attention of the socialscientists: 6.3 percent of the respondents would like to go anywhere, no matter whatcountry (Shlepakov et alt. 1993). The interpretation of this is that this grouprepresents very resolute people who want to leave the country by any means. The figures allow us to draw one general conclusion: The Ukraine could loose alarge part of its productive labour force. To what extent were the plans to emigrate realized in the last few years? We haveto say that the intentions could not be realized to a great extent, for political andbureaucratic reasons: in 1990 the total number of migrants who left the Ukraine forgood was 90,000; in 1991 it was 70,000, and in 1992 it was 44,400. The other groupof "migrants" consists of those who go abroad for a short period: 1990: 1,839,000,1991: 2,327,000, 1992: 1,903,000 (Shlepakov et alt. 1993). There are such categoriesof "migrants" in this group as:1) business people (people going abroad on behalf of their institutions to different countries);2) individuals invited by relatives and acquaintances (different countries);3) "shopping-tourists" (Poland, Turkey, China and others);4) illegal labour force (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, to some extent Germany). Many from these last three categories, after coming to their first destinationcountry, seek the possibility to stay there for a longer period of time, or forever(especially if it is a western country) or in order to move to western countries if it is aformer socialist state. It means that frontier countries are seen by this category ofUkrainian emigrants as a temporary station in their move to the west. Transit migration now forms a very new phenomenon for the Ukraine, in mostcases illegal. The Ukraine is a transit country for migrants from Asia, Africa, Russiaand the Caucasus. There are some places where transit migrants in the Ukraine areconcentrated: Kiev, Charkov, the western border of the state with Slovakia. The maincategories of these migrants are: 1) students from Asiatic, Arabic and African
  4. 4. countries (Vietnam, China, northern regions of Africa, Senegal and others), who aftergraduating Ukrainian universities do not want to go back to their countries; 2)workers from South-Eastern Asia, who had contracts for 2-5 years in main industrialcentres of our country and after finishing their contract work stayed for a period inthe Ukraine and tried to cross the border to the west; 3) real transit migrants, forwhom the Ukraine is a country, which they cross on their way to western states.Today it is difficult to say how many migrants of such a category there are in theUkraine now, or how many people are going through this country per year. What weknow, is that last year (1993) 17,614 illegal migrants were stopped at the borders ofUkraine. At present we are starting to study this phenomenon and analyse measureswhich could stop or at least regulate the flow of transit migrants. Within this context one thing remains to be mentioned, that the Ukrainiangovernment now pays great attention to this issue. How to handle the problem oftransit migrants is a topic of discussion in the Ukrainian parliament and in the draft ofan immigration law (in preparation now). To my mind it is very important in our caseto use the experience of this problem that exists in western countries, on the onehand, and to coordinate the attempts of neighbouring countries (Ukraine, Poland,Slovakia, Hungary) to overcome this problem on the other.References 1. International Organization for Migration (IOM) (1993): Ukraine Migrant Profile Project Country File. January 1993 2. Shlepakov A.M., Malynovska O.A., Pinchuk O.M. (1993): Emigraziya naselennya Ukrainy: "sozialno-ekonomichni aspekty ta moshlyvi naslidky". – Kiev. (Shlepakov A.M., Malynovska O.A., Pinchuk O.M. (1993): The emigration of Ukraine’s population: „the social-economic aspects and possible results“. – Kiev). 3. Zberigayuchy ukrainsku samobutnist (1992): Kiev, s. 9-20. (Saving the Ukrainian originality (1992): Kiev, p. 9-20.)
  5. 5. Civil Society Relations/Partnerships: Ethno-political Management 2002by Dr.Volodymyr YEVTUKH and Ms Tatiana PYLYPENKO

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