Creating Diversity Capital
Transnational Migrants in Montreal, Washington, and Kyiv

Blair A. Ruble


Woodrow Wilson Center Press Washington, D.C.
The Johns Hopkins University Press Baltimore

 

Contents

Tables

Acknowledgments

Part I. Introduction

1 Creating Diversity Capital: Migrants in Divided Cities

Part II. Social and Economic Transformations

2 Living in the Middle
3 Working and Studying in the Middle

Part III. Political Transformations

4 From Saint Jean-Baptiste to Saint Patrick: Montreal's Twisting Path to Intercultural Diversity
5 Regime Change in Washington
6 From Red to Orange: Kyiv's Post-Soviet Municipal Regime

Part IV. Concluding Observations

7 Diversity Capital Created

Appendix: Research Design and Methodology for the Kyiv Surveys

Notes

Index

Tables

2.1 District of Columbia Population, by Census Category, 1970-2000
2.2 Percentage of Population Identified as "Black" in Metropolitan Washington, 2000
2.3 Percentage of Population Foreign Born in Metropolitan Washington, 2000
3.1 Occupational Structure, Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (1981 boundaries), 1971, 1981, and 1991
3.2 Structure of Employment by Sector in Washington and Its Metropolitan Area, 1991 and 2001
3.3 Racial and Ethnic Group Composition of Student Population in Washington Metropolitan Area Public School Systems, 2003-4
5.1 Members of the District of Columbia Council, January 1, 1997
5.2 Members of the District of Columbia Council, January 1, 1999


Acknowledgments

Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!

-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, 1855 edition

This volume was inspired by the scholarship, life, and memory of Galina Vasil'evna Starovoitova, a member of the Russian State Duma who was murdered on the staircase leading to her Saint Petersburg apartment on the evening November 20, 1998. Galina profoundly believed in the fundamental dignity of human existence. She was as forceful a defender of individual liberty as Russia has produced, and she was a friend as well as a colleague.

Galina and I both spent the better part of the 1980s separately conducting research and writing about her home city, which was then known as Leningrad. We followed and read each other's work closely, although the realities of Soviet security paranoia kept us from meeting one another in person until the end of the decade.

Galina's book, Ethnic Groups in a Contemporary Soviet City, inspired my own research on the diverse character of Russian cities over subsequent years. Much to my good fortune, Galina came to spend a month at the Ken-nan Institute in Washington as a Woodrow Wilson Center Guest Scholar shortly after I had become the Institute's director. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to work with her.

For those who knew Galina-even if only through televised parliamentary debates-she was a force of nature. She once confided in me following an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City

that Henry Kissinger had been in the front row. She proudly added that Dr. Kissinger had called her "a real tub thumper." Walt Whitman's admonition to throw open the doors is in keeping with Galina's spirit.

For me, Galina will always be the urban specialist whose academic work inspired even as she emerged as a prominent public figure of considerable consequence in Russia. Whenever given the opportunity, she would encourage me to explore how members of ethnic communities transform the cities in which they live-for the better.

I would never have been able to contemplate-let alone write-this volume had it not been for the interest of others. I therefore would like to acknowledge the encouragement, and intellectual and research support, for this project by Kennan Institute interns Valerie J. Chittenden, Sapna Desai, Oksana Klymovych, Jarom McDonald, Janet M. Mikhlin, Mary Frances Muzzi, Cynthia Neil, Olena Nikolayenko, Luba Shara, and Oliya S. Zamaray. I also would like to express my gratitude to Kengo Akizuki, Dominique Arel, Olena Braychevska, David Biette, Caroline Brettell, Joseph Brinley, Jennifer Giglio, Howard Gillette Jr., Lisa Hanley, Stephen E. Hanson, Olena Malynovska, Heather McClure, Oleksandr Mosjyk, Oxana Shevel', Margaret Paxson, Mario Polese, Nancy Popson, Yaroslav Pylynsky, Brian Ray, Richard Stren, Joseph S. Tulchin, Diana Varat, Oleksandr Vazylenko, and Galina Volosiuk for their thoughtful comments, suggestions, and criticisms during the writing of this book. My editors with the Woodrow Wilson Center Press, Yamile Kahn and Alfred F. Imhoff, have saved this volume from my infelicitous prose on several occasions, more than earning my heartfelt gratitude.

Dominique Arel, probably the leading Quebecois Ukrainianist to be found anywhere, has been especially supportive of my efforts to write about two beloved cities that he knows as well as anyone. Dominique has encouraged when necessary, criticized when necessary, and inspired when necessary. He has proven to be a trusted colleague and close friend. The pages to follow reveal just a portion of the tremendous intellectual, professional, and personal debts that I owe him.

David Biette, my colleague who serves as director of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Canada Institute, as well as Heather McClure and her colleagues at Washington's Council of Latino Agencies were especially helpful to me during my work on the Montreal and Washington portions of the research for the book. I alone remain responsible for the (alas) inevitable miscues that somehow have made it past Dominique, David, Heather, and a brood of other beleaguered reviewers.

Although we have never met, I would like to thank La Bloggeuse Volu-bile at the Montreal City Web Log (http://w5.montreal.com/mtlweblog). Cities everywhere would be better places if every metropolitan community were so fortunate as to have such a rich informational resource sharing their news with the world at large.

I would like to pay special homage to my partners in the organization and implementation of the Kennan Kyiv Project's surveys of transnational migrants, native residents, and migration specialists living in Kyiv. Working with Olena Braichevska, Olena Malynovska, Nancy Popson, Yaroslav Pylynskyi, and Galina Volosiuk on surveys related to migrant issues in Kyiv was a distinct honor. Our collaborative research provides much of the data upon which the sections on the Ukrainian capital have been based. Further discussion of the conduct of those surveys may be found in the appendix to this volume.

These surveys were supported by the George F. Kennan Fund of the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, with the assistance of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ukraine. I am deeply grateful to the participating transnational migrant communities in the city of Kyiv, especially activists from their community associations and interpreters, as well as to the representatives of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and UNHCR for their kind assistance throughout the Kyiv portion of this work.

The Kennan surveys followed on a moment of social science serendipity that has enriched this project from the very beginning. In 1998 and 1999, Nancy Popson-then the Kennan Institute's deputy director-was spending as much time as she could visiting various neighborhood elementary schools around Kyiv to see how history was being taught in an independent Ukraine. Nancy returned to the Kennan Kyiv Project Office full of excitement following a day of visiting classrooms in Troeshchyna. She had spent the afternoon at School 247 with children from Afghanistan, Angola, Mongolia, and Vietnam.

Nancy's encounter with School 247 prompted both of us to begin to inquire about these children, only to discover a growing community of transnational migrants settling in Troeshchyna and elsewhere around the city. To our great good fortune, Nancy and I-together with Kennan Kyiv Project Director Yaroslav Pylynsky-formed a research alliance with three remarkable Ukrainian specialists on migration, Olena Braychevska, Olena Malynovska, and Galina Volosiuk.

The results of our collaboration appear on the pages about Kyiv to follow, as well as in several previously published English language works, including Nancy E. Popson and Blair A. Ruble, "Kyiv's Nontraditional Immigrants," Post-Soviet Geography and Economics 41, no. 5 (2001): 365-78; Nancy E. Popson and Blair A. Ruble, "A Test of Urban Social Sustainability: Societal Responses to Kyiv's 'Non-Traditional' Migrants," Urban Anthropology 30, no. 4 (2001): 381-409; Blair A. Ruble, "Kyiv's Troeshchyna: An Emerging International Migrant Neighborhood," Nationalities Papers 31, no. 2 (2003): 139-55; and Olena Braichevska, Halyna Volosiuk, Olena Malynovska, Yaroslav Pylynskyi, Nancy Popson, and Blair Ruble, Nontraditional Immigrants in Kyiv (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Comparative Urban Studies Project and Kennan Institute, 2004). More complete findings are to be found in a Ukrainian language volume: O. Braichevska, G. Volosiuk, O. Malynovska, la. Pylynskyi, N. Popson, and B. Ruble, Netraditsiini immigranti u Kyivi [Non-Traditional Immigrants in Kyiv] (Kyiv: Kennan Kyiv Project, 2003).

I became increasingly drawn to the example of Montreal as I tried to consider the findings emerging from our surveys in Kyiv. The choice was a natural one, given the Canadian city's intricate dance of language and politics with growing transnational migrant communities. Beyond the mere presence of migrants, Montreal proved to be an ideal foil to Kyiv because of an extensive and impressive social science literature examining the city that has appeared during the past four decades. This work frequently explored issues that are fundamental to understanding the emerging situation in the Ukrainian capital.

"Life itself," as a certain type of Soviet-era writer might put it, offered up the Washington example for my consideration. Living and working in the District of Columbia, I knew the city to be an urban community far more complex and rich in history and nuance than its superficial image as the U.S. capital might suggest. A brief portion of this text appeared as an "op-ed" article in a Washington newspaper: Blair Ruble, "From 'Chocolate City, Vanilla Suburbs' to 'Rocky Road,'" Washington Afro-American, October 16-22, 2004.

The result of these odd, somewhat chance connections appears on the pages that follow. My goal has been to use these examples as a provocation. I want to prompt my readers to think about cities and transnational migrants a little differently after finishing this book than they did when they picked it up for the first time.

If I have succeeded in this goal, I have done so only because of all the people mentioned in these inadequate acknowledgments, and many others as well. The fact that I was able to conceive of this book in the first place pays tribute to my years of friendship with Galina Starovoitova. This modest volume represents my small effort to continue her academic legacy, and to honor her memory.

Washington, D.C. June 1, 2005