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Transnational lifestyles among Russian Israelis: a follow‐up study

Global Networks

Published online on


Despite the expanding use of the transnational perspective, grounded qualitative research on everyday expressions of transnationalism has been scant. In this article, I explore the economic and social ties with former homelands among three categories of former Soviet immigrants of the 1990s in Israel, namely ethnically mixed families split by emigration; young professionals and entrepreneurs; and retirees who keep two homes – one in Israel and the other in Russia or Ukraine. To follow temporal changes in transnational lifestyles, I interviewed the same informants twice, in 2000 and 2010. The findings suggest that transnational activities reflect life‐course changes and can evolve in several possible directions. These are (1) an attrition of ties with former homelands with increasing integration in the host country; (2) a steady or ascending pace of transnational activities eventually leading to return migration; and (3) permanent low‐grade ties with former homelands and networking with co‐ethnics in other countries of the post‐Soviet diaspora. I conclude that relatively few migrants can sustain intense transnational lifestyle over many years; there are several critical life‐course points when most transnational migrants have to decide where their home is.