What Can Migration Policymakers Learn From Legal Frameworks on National Minorities? National Minorities and Migration in Armenia and Belarus



The dissolution of the USSR resulted in massive depopulation of the republics and unprecedented migration flows, including national minorities. Citizens of a once indivisible country were suddenly divided into “those of our kind” (natives) and “outsiders” (national minorities/ immigrants). The latter were often not guaranteed citizenship and were denied basic rights. Many national minorities became forced migrants and refugees, leaving neighbouring states because of discrimination or fearing violence. This article focuses primarily on the interconnection of minority and migration issues, two topics which are often discussed separately. It investigates the interrelation between migration and the minority regimes adopted by Armenia and Belarus, and the extent to which certain policies and rights for national minorities can be meaningfully extended to new migrant minorities. It also asks what lessons can be learnt from the treatment of national minorities as far as future migration legislation is concerned.

Policy Implications

  • Migrants' participation policy is always based on implicit political models of participation that should always be made explicit and examined before implementation.
  • There is always a plurality of political preferences, for different models of participation in the migrant population, that should be explored and accommodated.
  • The number of associations in existence should not be used as an indicator of a strong civil society as much as it is at present.