Borders, Securities, and Irregularities: Immigrant ‘others’ along the ‘Arctic route’

Theme 2. Connectivity
Session Name 2.8 Border securitization and connectivity in the Arctic
Datetime Sep 06, 2018 02:00 PM - 02:15 PM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter
Author(s) Joni Virkkunen (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
Abstract text

Russia is one of the largest immigrant receiving countries in the world. The recent years’ economic recession, changes in labour market and immigration policies, and an increase in anti-foreign sentiments have all had direct impacts on immigrant lives in Russia. These have been reflected not only in how immigrants find employment and housing in the country but also the way they perceive Russia as a country of work and residence. The paper analyses the ways that different aspects of securities and irregularities intersect along the so-called ‘Arctic route’ migration from Russia to the European Union in 2015-2016. Within the context of increasing everyday difficulties at the edge or beyond of legality, the already existing migratory structures such as international and local smuggling schemes along the ‘Arctic route’, as well as the ‘open’ character of the three northernmost border crossing points to Finland and Norway, materialized to a historically large-scale asylum migration across the Northern borders. The paper discusses the ways that different borders and irregularities were intersected and responded during the Arctic route episode. I argue that exclusion and the irregular status of many third-country immigrants in Russian cities, corruption and the poor performance of Russian authorities (especially the Police) and the deteriorating geopolitical situation in Europe, combined with global migratory processes, were directly reflected in the borders of the Arctic. These also expose the different (in)securities that various actors such as the immigrants and the state at the time operated.

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