Ethnic Identity and Psychological Well-Being of Russians in Post-Soviet Space: The Role of Diaspora



The article analyzes the role of different forms of diaspora activity as a mediator of the relationship between ethnic identity and psychological well-being of Russians in Kyrgyzstan and Estonia (N = 609). The results of structural equation modeling showed that ethnic identity salience is significantly positively associated with the involvement in all types of Russian diaspora activities both in Kyrgyzstan and in Estonia. Russians’ participation in all types of diaspora activity is significantly higher in Kyrgyzstan than in Estonia. Participation in different types of diaspora activity mediates the relationship of ethnic identity and psychological well-being: in Kyrgyzstan — participation in public actions and activity aimed at preservation of collective historical memory; in Estonia — activity aimed at maintenance of Russian language and culture. The results can serve as the basis for practical recommendations for supporting the Russian diaspora in the post-Soviet space.

General Information

Keywords: ethnic identity, diaspora activity, psychological well-being, Russians, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The reported study was funded by Russian Science Foundation (RCF), project number 20-18-00268

Received: 16.08.2021


For citation: Lebedeva N.M. Ethnic Identity and Psychological Well-Being of Russians in Post-Soviet Space: The Role of Diaspora. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2021. Vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 16–24. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2021170402.


  1. Vsemirnyi congress sootechestvennikov, prozhivayushchikh za rubezhom [World Congress of Compatriots Living Abroad]. Available at: vsemirnyy-kongress/kongress/ (Accessed 27.03.2021). (In Russ.).
  2. Epifantsev S.V. Obshchestvennye organizatsii russkikh na territorii Kyrgyzskoi Respubliki: usloviya funktsionirovaniya, opisanie I sravnitel’nyi analiz [Public organizations of Russians on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic: conditions of functioning, description and comparative analysis]. Vestnik KRSU, 2011. Vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 68—74. (In Russ.).
  3. Lebedeva N.M., Tatarko A.N. Strategii mezhkul’turnogo vzaimodeystviya migrantov I prinimayushchego naseleniya Rossii [Strategies for intercultural interaction between migrants and the host population of Russia]. Moscow: Publ. RUDN, 2009. 420 p. (In Russ.).
  4. Letnyakov D.E. Rol’ russkogoyazyka v postsovetskoy Tsentral’noy Azii [The role of the Russian language in post-Soviet Central Asia]. Politiya, 2015. Vol. 4, no. 79. Available at: https:// (Accessed 02.02.2021). (In Russ.).
  5. Militarev A. O soderzhanii termina «diaspora» (k razrabotkedefinitsii) [About the content of the term “diaspora” (to the development of the definition)]. Diaspory [Diasporas], 1999. Vol. 1, p. 24. (In Russ.).
  6. Molodov O. Russkii yazyk kak instrument ispol’zovaniya «myagkoi sily» v stranakh Tsentral’noi Azii [Russian language as a tool for the use of “soft power” in the countries of Central Asia]. DiskursPi [ DiscoursePi], 2017. Vol. 14, no.1, pp. 93—100. (In Russ.).
  7. Natsional’nyi sostav naseleniya. Natsional’nyi statisticheskii komitet Kyrgyzskoi Respubliki [National composition of the population. National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic]. Available at: opendata/category/312/ (Accessed: 21.06.2021). (In Russ.).
  8. Popkov V.A. «Klassicheskie» diaspory: k voprosu o definitsii termina [“Classical” diasporas: on the question of the definition of the term]. Diaspory [Diasporas], 2002. Vol. 1, pp. 6—22. (In Russ.).
  9. Russkaya diaspora Estonii: sostoyanie i perspektivy. Itogovyi analiticheskii doklad [Russian diaspora in Estonia: state and prospects. Final analyticalreport]. Moscow, 2011, 39 p. (In Russ.).
  10. Skol’korusskikh v mire [How many Russians are there in the world]. Available at: (Accessed 20.03.2021).
  11. Skrinnik V. Rossiya i zarubezhnye sootechestvenniki [Russia and foreign compatriots]. Bishkek: Publ. KRSU, 2008. 432 p. (In Russ.).
  12. Spisok organizatsii Soyuza ob”edinenii rossiiskikh sootechestvennikov Estonii SORSE [List of organizations of the Union of Associations of Russian Compatriots of Estonia SORSE]. Available at: (Accessed 11.03.2021). (In Russ.).
  13. Shipilov A.V. Organizatsii rossiiskikh sootechestvennikov v Kyrgyzstane (regional’nyiaspekt) [Organizations of Russian compatriots in Kyrgyzstan (regional aspect)]. Sovremennay anauka: aktual’nye problem teorii I praktiki. Seriya: gumanitarnye nauki [ Modern science: topical problems of theory and practice. Series: Humanities], 2017, no. 9, pp. 33—36. (In Russ.).
  14. Bilewicz M., Wojcik A. Does identification predict community involvement? Exploring consequences of social identification among the Jewish minority in Poland. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 2010. Vol. 20 (1), pp. 72—79. DOI:10.1002/casp.1012
  15. Cheskin A. Identity and Integration of Russian Speakers in the Baltic States: A Framework for Analysis. Ethnopolitics, 2015. Vol. 14 (1), pp. 72—93. DOI:10.1080/174 49057.2014.933051
  16. Costigan C.L., Koryzma C.M., Hua J.M., Chance L.J. Ethnic Identity, Achievement, and Psychological Adjustment: Examining Risk and Resilience Among Youth From Immigrant Chinese Families in Canada. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 2010. Vol. 16 (2), pp. 264—273. DOI:10.1037/a001727
  17. Dimitrova R., Vijver F. J. R. van de, Taušová J., Chasiotis A., Bender M., Buzea C., Uka F., Tair E. Ethnic, Familial, and Religious Identity of Roma Adolescents in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Kosovo, and Romania in Relation to Their Level of Well-Being. Child Development, 2017. Vol. 88 (3), pp. 693—709. DOI:10.1111/cdev.12786
  18. Eesti Hariduse Infosüsteem. Koolid. Available at: https://; jsessionid=c0a8c8ca30d8d51b95600edc4dcfa3cdef6a5ce8e4ce. e3ySaN8Ob38Le3mSchaOcheRbO (Accessed 23.04.2021).
  19. Eesti ühiskonna integratsiooni monitooring 2017. Available at: EIM2017.pdf (Accessed 18.04.2021).
  20. Estonian Statistical Office. Rl0424: Rahvastik kodakondsuse, rahvuse, soo, vanuserühma ja maakonna järgi, 31. Detsember 2011. Estonian Statistical Office. Available at: rahvastiku-demograafilised-ja-etno-kultuurilised-naitajad__ kodakondsus/RL0424 (Accessed 27.04.2021).
  21. Estonian Statistical Office. RV0222U: Population by sex, ethnic nationality and county, 1 January, administrative division as at 01.01.2018. Estonian Statistical Office. Available at: aspx?DataSetCode=RV0222U (Accessed 16.06.2021).
  22. Kallas K. Claiming the diaspora: Russia’s compatriot policy and its reception by Estonian-Russian population. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe, 2016. Vol. 15 (3), p. 1.
  23. Keeleseadus. Available at: akt/13122536 (Accessed 18.03.2021).
  24. Kolstø P. Beyond Russia, becoming local: Trajectories of adaption to the fall of the Soviet Union among ethnic Russians in the former Soviet Republics. Journal ofEurasian Studies, 2011. Vol. 2 (2), pp. 153—163. DOI:10.1016/j. euras.2011.03.006
  25. Kus L., Ward C., Liu J. Interethnic Factors as Predictors of the Subjective Well-Being of Minority Individuals in a  Context of Recent Societal Changes. PoliticalPsychology. 2014. Vol. 35 (5), pp. 703—719. DOI:10.1111/pops.12038
  26. Martinez Damia S., Marzana D., Alfieri S., Pozzi M., Marta E., Martinez M. L. Psychological and Structural Barriers to Immigrant Community Participation: The Experience of Peruvians in Santiago de Chile. American Journal of Community Psychology, 2020, p. 1—14. DOI: 10.1002/ajcp.12472
  27. Simon B., Stürmer S., Steffens K. Helping Individuals or Group Members? The Role of Individual and Collective Identification in AIDS Volunteerism. Personalityand Social Psychology Bulletin, 2000. Vol. 26 (4), pp. 497—506. DOI:10.1177/0146167200266008
  28. Smith T. B., Silva L. Ethnic identity and personal well-being of people of color: A meta-analysis. Journal ofCounselingPsychology, 2011. Vol. 58 (1), pp. 42—60. DOI:10.1037/a0021528
  29. Tajfel H., Turner J. C. The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behavior. In S. Worchel, W. G. Austin (eds.) Psychology of Intergroup Relation. Chicago: Hall Publishers, 1986. pp. 7—24.
  30. Umaña-Taylor A. J., Diversi M., Fine M.A. Ethnic Identity and Self-Esteem of Latino Adolescents: Distinctions Among The Latino Populations. Journal ofAdolescent Research, 2002. Vol. 17 (3), pp. 303—327. DOI:10.1177/0743558402173005
  31. Vihalemm T. Keelepraktikad, kollektiivne identiteet ja mälu. In: Eesti ühiskonna integratsiooni monitooring 2011. Kultuuriministeerium, 2011, pp. 113—156.

Information About the Authors

Nadezhda M. Lebedeva, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Director of the Center for Socio-Cultural Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Employee of the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 523
Previous month: 18
Current month: 0


Total: 278
Previous month: 10
Current month: 0