Kateryna BURKUSH

Academic Year:
2020/2021

Research Program:
PoM Pontica Magna

Affiliation:
Independent scholar

Country:
Ukraine

Research project: Seasonal Migration and the Making of the Soviet Borderlands (1956–1985)

This project aims to investigate the role of seasonal migration in shaping the social life of Western Ukrainian borderlands during the late Soviet period. By using hitherto unexplored archival sources and oral interviews with veteran seasonal workers from the region of Transcarpathia, I challenge the widely shared idea that seasonal migration from the Western Ukrainian borderlands is a result of post-Soviet transformations. To the contrary, I show that seasonal migrants carved the space for their (often illegal) economic activities within Soviet society, which was explicitly hostile to them. Furthermore, over the post-Stalin decades labor migration had an increasingly strong impact on the borderlands’ demographic, economic and social landscapes. This legacy shaped cultural predispositions for labor migration for the next generations, while economic factors of post-socialist period reinforced them.