This paper examines the development of economic practices within diasporic networks of Greeks from the former Soviet Union (FSU). It focuses on the period after 1990 when more than 150,000 ethnic Greeks from the FSU migrated to Greece, and mainly on migrants that settled in Thessaloniki and its suburbs. It argues that diasporic networks played a crucial role not only in survival strategies of the newcomers via solidarity but also in the development of both small and large-scale economic activities. Local labour markets, entrepreneurship and capital accumulation of Greeks from the FSU are socially embedded and conditioned by the structure of diasporic networks and by the interaction of the latter with economic agents in the country of origin. Based mainly on life-story narratives, this paper traces the development of economic networks since the arrival of the first migrants in early 90s to the gradual emergence of transnational economic activities and big businesses owned by some prominent Greek-Russian businessmen. Though not linear, these activities seem to rely on mutations of both transnational economic and diasporic networks, and have been legitimated by community work ethics.


Former Soviet Union diasporas, Greek diaspora, transnational networks, diasporic economy, embeddedness