Contemporary Refugees in Ukraine: Causes of Displacement, Strategies of Resettlement, and Problems of Adaptation

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Authors: Oksana Mikheieva (author and head of the project), Ukrainian Catholic University, Sociology Prgramme, and Victoria Sereda (co-author) Ukrainian Catholic University, Sociology Prgramme

Date of publication: 2014

Language: English

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This report presented the results of an original study carried out in October-December 2014 in Ukraine. Recent political events in Ukraine associated with the occupation and annexation of the Crimean peninsula, the actual, if undeclared Russian Ukrainian war on part of the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, stimulated a massive migration of the population and actualized the problem of internally displaced persons. The study focuses on the causes of displacement, strategies of resettlement, problems of adaptation of displaced persons and is based on seventy in-depth interviews (24 in-depth interviews of displaced persons from the territory of the Crimean peninsula; 46 in-depth interviews of displaced persons from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions). The research encompasses respondents who had the opportunity to choose their direction of migration (that is, those who migrated from Crimea in March-April
and from Donbas in May-June 2014). Residents of the occupied territories, who were evacuated later in the fall and winter of 2014-2015 were not included in our sample. The sampling technique was the snowball method with no more than two steps in one branch.

In general, the process of relocation is not accompanied by social or ethnic conflicts, but does lead to social isolation of displaced persons. All displaced persons noted a deterioration in their own (and their family’s) socio-economic status. Most of the displaced persons (independently of age) had limited contacts with people in the new city and most of them did not want to communicate with another displaced person
(often due to fears that among them may be persons with a different outlook). The majority of displaced persons demonstrated a kind of exhaustion from the topic, unwillingness to talk about it, and irritation due to the lack of understanding of what was happening (especially older people from the East of Ukraine).

Keywords: internally displaced persons, Crimea, Donbas, resettlement, adaptation.

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