Citizenship and Labour Migration in Georgia

Teona Mataradze
Current Project Caucasian Boundaries and Citizenship from Below

This project is devoted to the investigation, documentation, and analysis of citizenship and labour migration in Georgia from a social anthropological perspective. During the 1990s the Georgian Republic experienced an economic depression, which resulted in part from the collapse of trade relations with the other Soviet republics and in part from the inadequate domestic and foreign policy of the newly elected leaders. This process has severely affected the agriculture and industry of the country. Furthermore, the ethnic conflicts in the early 1990s resulted in the closure of the borders to the north and made the export of agricultural products to Russia and other post-Soviet republics impossible. Members of collective farms became private owners, at least formally. But people had no means of using their new private property, either because it was difficult to become businessmen, farmers and shareholders in a short period of time or because they did not have sufficient technical, financial and material resources to commit themselves to production. There was a high risk of failure due to the lack of information about the market economy and prices. Some people were able to exploit their resources; others rented, sold or just left them behind and tried to find new ways of earning a living. Because there were few economic opportunities, the most common practice was migration either out of the country or to the capital for petty trading.

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Source: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

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