Staunton, June 1 – In the view of most people, Armenia is typically seen as more pro-Moscow in its orientation and Georgia more pro-Western, but a new survey conducted by Berlin’s Center for East European and International Research finds that the position of the new Russian diasporas of these two countries is almost exactly the opposite.
The 31-page report (cdniq.us1.myspdn.com/atsdpid1d6u5cmy4j61kro6gh/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/ZOiS_Report_2_2023.pdf) is based on 1600 interviews with Russians who left their country after February 2022 when Vladimir Putin launched his expanded invasion of Ukraine.
The study, which makes no claim to representativeness, nonetheless concludes that “one can characterize the new Russian diaspora of Armenia as more politicized, more oppositionally minded, and more anti-war than that in Georgia. Moreover, ‘the Armenian’ segment of the Russian emigration shares more progressive views” on social issues.
Not surprisingly, these results have generated a sharp debate among Russians in the two countries (idelreal.org/a/32423970.html). Most of the participants reject the sharp distinction that the German sociologists have made, arguing that the differences are small, the same isn’t representative, and the times and conditions when Russians arrived explain all the differences.
Nonetheless, the German study is an important reminder that just as was the case with regard to the first Russian emigration after 1917, the current one is sorting itself out in various ways and for various reasons in different places and should not be treated as a homogeneous whole.