St Petersburg University and Geneva School of Social Sciences have initiated a massive project to develop social mechanisms to work with the migrants.


Regulating migration flows in Russian and Europe is among the most urgent issues to tackle in the world. The situation was worsened by the economic crises, especially in the developing countries, a series of coup d’etat and riots in the Arab countries, and creation of an umbrella organisation Islamic State. According to the Un data on the global migration, in 2017 the number of the global migrants is 258 mln people, an increase by 49% than in 2000, with one third, 76 mln people, relating to Europe. The USA is the first country by the number of migrants (49.8 mln), Germany and Russia following closely behind (12 mln people).

St Petersburg University has a considerable research potential to study migration phenomenon and develop a problem-solving scheme. Our main concern is to develop a model of the multifunctional social centre to work with the migrants. Primarily, the project will focus on how to protect the borders from the migrants and how to regulate migration canals to Russia and Europe.

The working group comprises 33 experts from the University in sociology, social work, international relations, law, mathematics, journalism, and cross-cultural communication. The leading experts from Geneva are Théogène-Octave Gakuba and Claudio Bolzman.

A migrant is not only a person who is hungry, poor, and unhappy. Migrants are numerous and heterogeneous group of people penetrating all social groups and spheres of society. 

Director of the project, SPbU Associate Professor Aleksandr Kuteinikov

“It is a global challenge. If we can respond to it in an informed, honest and sensible way, we will consolidate peace, global well-being, overcome poverty, starvation, and crises”, — said the Director of the project, SPbU Associate Professor Aleksandr Kuteinikov, Department of Sociology of Political and Social Processes.

The project will reveal how the migrants from various regions socially differ, study the current migration wave in Europe and delve into how we are currently collaborating with the migrants. It also will study migration policy in Russia and Switzerland, mechanisms that regulate migration from Europe, Asia, and Africa. In particular, we will study our Swiss colleagues’ experience who use methods of social works based on the research outcomes and findings. It can be explained by the fact that Switzerland has been long involved in accepting and adopting migrants, allocating finance in the migration sphere, and delegating tasks between the centre, regions, communities, and non-governmental organisations.

The research is applied in nature. To use the results and outcomes, we are planning to launch a multifunctional centre that:

  • accumulates information on experience and practices of social work with the migrants in Russia, Switzerland, and other countries in Europe
  • serves as a consulting centre for experts and organisations that deal with the migration studies
  • serves as a platform for sociological and other research and courses.

The research findings and outcomes will be used by the government, organisations and companies that work with the migrants. The centre will operate with the subsidy of the Federal Targeted Programme «Research and Developments in the Priority Areas of Research and Technological Complex of Russia in 2014-2020”.