This paper examines the spatial implications of entrepreneurial activities undertaken in Greece by Greek businessmen from the Former Soviet Union (FSU). It demonstrates how, by interfacing between major economic trends taking place in the FSU and the Greek economy, these businessmen overshadowed their local peers in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki. They also took the place, in particular economic sectors in Northern Greece, of historically dominant business interests originating from the capital, Athens. The paper argues that these developments were partly the unintended consequence of the Greek government’s decision, in the early 1990s, to channel ethnic Greek migration from the FSU to one of Greece’s most underdeveloped northern regions, Thrace. In due course, many of these Greek FSU migrants left Thrace and gravitated to Thessaloniki, Northern Greece’s largest city where they were joined by others who emigrated in following years. This concentration of Greeks from the FSU both spawned and attracted Greek FSU entrepreneurship in Thessaloniki, and its surrounding region, involving tourist and capital flows from the FSU. The paper concludes with a set of policy recommendations aimed at systematising the ability of the Greek FSU community to intermediate between the FSU economic space and the Greek economy in Thessaloniki, through the educational system at the secondary and higher education levels.
Diaspora and entrepreneurship, Greeks from the Former Soviet Union, Thessaloniki, spatial hierarchies.