Home    Number 6, 2017

Vietnamese Immigrants with Families in Russia: The Return-or-Stay Dilemma

[Rossiiskie semeinye vietnamtsy: dilemma “vernut’sia ili ostat’sia”]

Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 08.01.2017

Accepted: 13.04.2017

About author(s)

Anna Tuzova | http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3948-7886 | anna10son@gmail.com | European University at St. Petersburg (3a Gagarinskaya Street, St. Petersburg, 191187, Russia)


Vietnamese, Russia, return migration, migrants, migration studies, transnationalism


The goal of this article is to demonstrate the variety of viewpoints concerning the return to their homeland, expressed by middle-aged Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in Russia for 20-40 years, are married and have children. The research is based on a case study that included 14 in-depth interviews with Vietnamese immigrants conducted in two phases during 2015 and 2016. The analysis of the interviews showed the presence of three common themes in thinking about the return. It may be thought of, first, as dictated by the diminished opportunities for earning a living; second, as expected when children have already obtained education in Russia; and third, as motivated by the wish to spend one’s old age in Vietnam. However, the personal decision whether to return or not, even when some of the above conditions are met, typically depends on the person’s identity. For example, a businessman may not want to lose his status as a successful person even though his children have already finished their education and he would otherwise wish to spend his golden years in Vietnam. This study implies that different identity facets may facilitate as well as impede successful reintegration back to the homeland and even the contemplation of returning.

Funding Information

This research was supported by the following institutions and grants:
Russian Science Foundation, https://doi.org/10.13039/501100006769 [grant no. 14-18-02149]


Tuzova, A.S. 2017. Rossiiskie semeinye vietnamtsy: dilemma “vernut’sia ili ostat’sia” [Vietnamese Immigrants with Families in Russia: The Return-or-Stay Dilemma]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 6: 76-92

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