Too close or too far: Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities of the “Near Diasporas” from a Country of Origin Perspective
This paper is based on the evidence from the representative national survey and two follow-up focus groups conducted in Ukraine during the summer-autumn of 2015. It analyses the relationship between stayers and migrants by measuring perceived social distances to diaspora and other migration-based groups on the private, professional, public and civic levels. The findings reveal that accepting diaspora as „neighbours‟ and „co-workers‟ would be the most comfortable options for a majority of respondents, yet possibilities for public and civil participation might be limited by the reluctance of local social institutions to accept new actors, as well as, by lack of role-holder‟s motivation on the diaspora‟s part. The data confirm that neighbouring countries remain the main route for Ukrainian outward migration and that overwhelmingly these flows are from Ukraine to Europe whereas Russia is decreasing as a destination country. As the economic downturn and lack of employment opportunities in the „cross-border countries‟ might lead to return movement in the future, there is a need for growing engagement of the Near diaspora in development programmes at home.