Geographia Polonica (2006) vol. 79, iss. 2

From Migration to Segregation in the Former Closed City

Michael Gentile

Geographia Polonica (2006) vol. 79, iss. 2, pp. 23-46 | Full text

Based on the case of the military-industrial city of Ust’-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan,this paper explores (a) Soviet and post-Soviet era migration into former closed cities, and (b) thepresent housing situation of migrant groups living in them, paying particular attention to theirethnic background. The study is based on a survey carried out by the author and the regionalstatistical authority in January 2001. The principal findings suggest that there has been a clearincrease in migrants from the oblast’s rural areas to the regional capital, which is attributableto the regional urbanisation pressure which had been created during the city’s period of ‘closure’,and that the origin of these migrants has shifted in favour of areas with larger Kazakh populations.Also, contradicting the Soviet goals, and resulting from structural factors re-enforced bythe closed city regime, the ethnic housing gap is greatest among those who arrived during theSoviet period.

Keywords: Closed cities, Kazakhstan, migration, ethnicity, housing, residential

Michael Gentile, Stockholm School of Economics Box 6501, SE-11383 Stockholm, Sweden