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"Abroad I was Greek and in Greece I am a Foreigner": Pontic Greeks from Former Soviet Union in Greece

From: Journal of Modern Greek Studies
Volume 30, Number 1, May 2012
pp. 103-127 | 10.1353/mgs.2012.0010

Abstract

Abstract:

Pontic Greeks have been migrating from the former Soviet Union to Greece at least since the 1960s and into the 1990s. The more recent migrants (mid-1980s onwards) differ from those who migrated earlier (in the 1960s and 1970s) in their cause of migration and in their socio-economic background while in the Soviet Union. These differences had a significant effect on the expectations and aspirations of the two groups (older and newer migrants) once they were in Greece. An equally significant effect was that of the difference in definition of national identity for these migrants between their place of origin and the place of their destination. For, while their Greek identity in the Soviet Union was defined in their official documentation and necessitated little obvious manifestation of cultural, linguistic, or religious signs and practices, this same identity was insufficient to qualify them as members of their host society, even though the Greek State had officially bestowed such a qualification upon them. Such continuing divergence of definitions of identity impedes their integration in the host society.