After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the political and social transformation in Eastern Europe was characterised by extensive geographical mobility and migration. The emergence of new nation states in the post-Soviet space after the dissolution of the USSR led to large migratory movements between the former union republics. The Yugoslav wars in the early 1990s turned millions of people into war refugees. In many countries, structural change in rural areas led to a massive migration of worker to the cities. At the same time, large transnational labour migration from Eastern to Western Europe has been observed since the 1990s, with massive consequences on both the countries of origin and the host countries. After being affected primarily as transit countries for refugees from the Middle East and Central Asia during the so-called "refugee crisis" in 2015, the countries of Eastern Europe took in most of the Ukrainian war refugees in 2022 following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. However, the war in Ukraine is also present in Western European states, not least in the form of several million war refugees.
The international conference, jointly organised by the Center for Governance and Culture in Europe (GCE) at the Universities of St. Gallen, the academic initiative Ukrainian Research in Switzerland (URIS) at the University of Basel and the Center for Eastern European Studies (CEEC) at the Univeristy of Zurich, is dedicated to the causes, forms and social and political consequences of geographical mobility and migration in Eastern Europe. We focus on the states and societies of the post-socialist and post-Soviet space and the years 1989/1991 to the present, although issues with a broader historical scope are also considered. The conference brings together scholars from different academic disciplines (political science, sociology, history, anthropology, cultural studies) as well as from Eastern and Western Europe. Established researchers participate as well as PhD students and postdocs. The aim is to engage in a truly interdisciplinary and international dialogue on geographical mobility and migration as part of social and political transformation in the eastern part of the European continent.