A new article by Anni Kangas has been published in the journal Poliittinen talous. The article is entitled “Post-Soviet cruel optimism: On the social reproduction of Central Asian labor power” (“Jälkineuvostoliittolaista julmaa optimismia: Keskiaasialaisen siirtolaistyövoiman uusintamisesta”).
The article examines the social reproduction of migrant labor in the context of the post-Soviet political economy. For years, Russia has been one of the largest immigrant-receiving countries in the world. The economies of Central Asian countries, on the other hand, have been dependent on remittances from Russia. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, one of the world’s busiest migration routes ran between Central Asia and Russia’s big cities. The article asks what kinds of practices of social reproduction have sustained this movement, at the same time reproducing the globally and regionally differentiated labor force. The data consists of solicited journal entries by migrant workers with Central Asian backgrounds working in St. Petersburg or Moscow. The analysis shows how the accumulation of wealth is enabled by racializing, gendering, and exploiting the labor of migrants. The promise of a better life associated with emigration turns into a form of post-Soviet cruel optimism.
Kangas, A. (2022). Jälkineuvostoliittolaista julmaa optimismia: Keskiaasialaisen siirtolaistyövoiman uusintamisesta. Poliittinen Talous, 10(1), 109–139. https://doi.org/10.51810/pt.112250