Integration of Ethnic German repatriates from former USSR: fast track assimilation or hybrid identity?

Authors: Bernhard Koeppen*, Universitaet Koblenz-Landau
Topics: Population Geography, Cultural Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: Population Geography, Integration, Assimilation, Ethnicity, Repatriates, Germany
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom A, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Repatriates - so called Spätaussiedler - from republics of the former Soviet Union are one of the most important groups of immigrants in the Federal Republic of Germany. They have been granted German citizenship based on ethnicity, thus German policy supposed fast and smooth assimilation. Albeit Spätaussiedler experienced advantages for structural and social integration into German society compared to immigrants of non-German descent, the initially deemed prospects on ultra-fast assimilation were exaggerative, despite rather smooth integration. As a survey and interviews on ethnic self-identification, cultural habits and linguistic behaviour of Spätaussiedler reveal, currently a hybrid "Russian-German" identity has emerged amongst many re-patriates. As questions of integration and assimilation are vividly discussed (and disputed) in contemporary German society, these findings on a specific group of immigrants can contribute to knowledge on integration in Germany, where exaggerated expectations in this behalf tend to exist in politics and parts of society.

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