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“Performance of Illegality” Toward Migrants Living with HIV in Russia: From Social Exclusion to Deportation

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Informality, Labour Mobility and Precariousness

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Abstract

In this article, I try to analyze the place of undocumented migrants in the society and national economy of modern Russia. Based on life stories of migrants living with HIV in Russia I try to reflect on their vulnerabilities and routine practices of the state to control and maintain an untransparent and ostentatious migration policy toward undocumented migrants. What is the rationale behind this “performance of illegality” the government seems to be producing? I reflect on these questions in relation to migrants’ access to social entitlements and the biopolitics of the state in state management of migration on the example of the state policy of the Russian Federation toward international migrants living with HIV—a mobile population residing in a constructed limbo and a legal uncertainty. By exploring the lived experiences of this population in I am trying to think of a rationale behind the status quo of the Russian migration policy.

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Acknowledgements

I would like to express my gratitude to Moscow-based Shagi Foundation for providing me with access to their case database of undocumented migrants with HIV who have been their clients. I also thank my supervisors, Ekaterina Demintseva from the Higher School of Economics, and Anna Bredström from Linköping University for productive discussions and thorough feedback provided to the draft of this article.

Funding

This article is the product of a research project implemented as part of the Basic Research Programme at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE).

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Kashnitsky, D. (2022). “Performance of Illegality” Toward Migrants Living with HIV in Russia: From Social Exclusion to Deportation. In: Polese, A. (eds) Informality, Labour Mobility and Precariousness. International Political Economy Series. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-82499-0_5

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