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Microanalysis of Acculturation among Russian immigrants and emigrants

Final Activity Report Summary - MARIE (Micro-analysis of acculturation among Russian Immigrants and Emigrants)

Recent changes in the political and economical situation in Russia greatly influenced the number and relevance of intercultural contacts in Russia. The change of foreign policy makes it easier to enter or exit Russia; both the number of emigrants from Russia and immigrants in Russia has increased substantially in the last two decades. Russian emigrants and process of acculturation of Russian-speaking migrants from the Former Soviet Union are important issues in Russia, which can be expected to gain prominence both on the public and scientific agenda. The current project was focused on the central question of acculturation in Russia and Russians abroad.

The first objective of the current project was to understand more of adaptation processes in immigrants in Russia and in Russian emigrants in France, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US). These counties were chosen because of their different immigration history. France was the first country of Russian immigration and there were three immigration waves to America. Therefore the national communities in France and the US are very well organised and provide all kind of useful information to their members. The ethnic communities in the Netherlands, Germany, and UK are less organised. We found that high level of ethnic vitality in France and America leads to better adaptation to the host country.

The second objective of the present project was to advance our knowledge of acculturation processes by looking in more detail at the integration processes than commonly done. In order to reach this objective the novel method of data collecting was used. Our participants, exchange students in Russia filled out the structured questionnaire every day for three weeks. After that we examined the relations of perceived cultural distance, personality, acculturation orientations, coping and outcomes. The diary method was used four times in a study year. These novel methods in acculturation studies gave us an opportunity to have a deep insight of process of acculturation. Our results demonstrated that sociocultural adjustment predicted psychological adjustment. More specifically, interactions with exchange and Russian students associated with higher self-esteem, less homesickness and more positive affect which increased over time. In addition, it was showed that the big perceived cultural distance leads to less adjustment. The role of perceived cultural distance with Russia was found to be a crucial in predicting outcomes. Acculturation orientations and coping strategies were salient and overruled by the role of perceived cultural distance.

The third objective refers to establishing the link between Russian and Dutch scholars. We began to accomplish this objective by writing the articles in a cooperation of Russian-Dutch scientists and submitting it in Russian local and Russian international journals. We will continue to fulfil this objective in the return phase. The following activities are planned in this phase: development of course in cross-cultural psychology, supervising students, organising workshops, seminars and congress.

The current project provided more deep knowledge of acculturation processes in Russia and Russians abroad. This research project is a step toward a better understanding of the acculturation process in Russia and Russian abroad, establishing the cross-cultural psychology in Russia and giving new ideas for the further studies in this area.