Internally Displaced Peoples from Crimea: Between Belonging and Exclusion in Mainland Ukraine

Authors: Austin Charron*, University of Kansas
Topics: Migration, Eurasia, Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: Ukraine, Crimea, Internal Displacement, Diaspora, Integration
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Washington 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Russia’s annexation and ongoing occupation of the Crimean Peninsula has resulted in the
internal displacement of tens of thousands of Crimeans to the Ukrainian mainland since 2014. In
contrast to the roughly 1.5 million IDPs from the war-torn Donbas region of eastern Ukraine,
Crimean IDPs mostly left the region voluntarily in a conscientious rejection of the Russian
occupation and out of patriotic loyalty to the Ukrainian state. In mainland Ukraine, Crimean
IDPs—especially the Crimean Tatars, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people indigenous to
Crimea—have been warmly received and generally celebrated for their deliberate choice to
remain Ukrainian, while IDPs from the Donbas frequently encounter greater suspicion and
discriminatory attitudes from their fellow citizens. However, a cumbersome bureaucracy and
misguided attempts to mitigate the IDP crisis have resulted in discriminatory state policies and
practices that uniquely affect IDPs from Crimea, limiting their voting rights and access to
banking services. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Lviv, this
paper discusses the contrasting discourses, practices, and experiences of Crimean IDPs’
belonging to and exclusion from the Ukrainian state and body politic since 2014. This topic is
couched within a broader discussion of the emerging diasporic condition of Crimean IDPs, and
the advancement of a translocal theory of diaspora that is attentive to the experiences of both
transnational and internal migration.

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