Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

Select your language

14 February 2024


Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have absorbed hundreds of thousands of migrants who left Russia in the two years since its invasion of Ukraine. These Russians, who call themselves “relokanty”, have transformed national economies and urban spaces. Inflows of talent and capital have also delivered societal challenges. These range from increased inflation to renewed memories of the negative impacts of Russian and Soviet colonization, as well as fears that these relokanty might constitute a new vehicle for Russian influence.

As the war appears to have reached a stalemate in 2024, these Russian migrants must consider short- and long-term strategies for residence. They share knowledge on current relationships with host societies, costs, economic opportunities and political stability as they “shop” for homes. Georgians, Armenians, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz have not yet openly protested Russian migrants, but their welcome is wearing thin as economic growth decelerates and inflation and other indicators that affect daily life worsen. Each government must consider the risks of the issue of Russian migrants  becoming e politicized in these young national states. Especially if Russia chooses to intervene regionally, these migrants could become a destabilizing element.


Jeff Sahadeo, Professor at the Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Carleton University | This publication was produced in the framework of the Prague Process, financed by the European Union through the Migration Partnership Facility. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the author and in no way represent the views of the European Union.