“It’s My Luggage that I Can’t Drop”: Russian Women Negotiating Transnational Lives in the Changing Norwegian Borderland
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This article-based thesis presents the lived experiences of seven Russian women, inhabitants of the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes, in a changing context six months after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. A thematic analysis was conducted of the data from semi-structured interviews. The analytical approach draws on feminist scholarship on migration studies and border studies using the concept of borders on physical and symbolic levels; and the terms “transnational ways of being” and “transnational ways of belonging”. The findings are organized in three main themes: cross-border mobility as an enabler of life projects; the changing meaning of the border after the start of the war; and changing feelings about their Russian identities. I argue that the participants experience their transnational identities and undertake transnational practices depending on various sorts of borders constructed at the intersection of geopolitics, social relations, and everyday practicalities.