Russophones in international entrepreneurship: A literature review


  • Maria Ivanova-Gongne Åbo Akademi University
  • Maria Elo University of Southern Denmark
  • Daria Klishevich Saint-Petersburg State University
  • Liubov Ermolaeva Saint-Petersburg State University


Russian-speaking, linguistic diasporas, migrant entrepreneurship, Soviet Union, international entrepreneurship


After the fall of Soviet Union several migration streams of Russian-speaking migrants to Europe have occurred. Furthermore, nowadays, migration from former Soviet Union states still remains high, with Russian-speaking people or so called Russophones being scattered across the world, in countries such as Germany, Finland, Spain, etc. Oftentimes, migrants revolve to entrepreneurship due to lack of job opportunities or other reasons. Russophone migrants frequently form a large part of the migrant entrepreneurship society where they reside. Common Russian language provides opportunities to employ a wide range social networks, not based solely on national ties, but also across nationalities that previously formed part of Soviet Union. This enables Russophone migrant entrepreneurs to be skillful in international trade. However, previous research have not considered linguistic diasporas as an important factor enabling international business. In order to fill in this gap, we aim to conduct a literature review of studies focusing on Russian-speaking migrant entrepreneurs and outline possible research implications and avenues for future research.


In order to reach our aims, we conduct a systematic literature review in eight databases of major publishing houses, namely JSTOR, Science Direct, Emerald, Palgrave, Sage, Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wiley-Blackwell. We focus on the period of 1991-2020, since it covers the time after the collapse of Soviet Union. In the scope of this literature review, we look especially at how Russian-speaking entrepreneurs come to establish their business, what are their motivations and story, what methods do they use to develop their business. We also consider the methods that have been used for such research and what types of research approaches should be used in the future. In terms of practical implications we aim to understand whether there something that distinguishes Russian-speaking immigrant entrepreneurs from other entrepreneurs (both migrant and non-migrant) and what implications do they bring both to the host and home country economy. Theoretically, the study contributes to literature on international entrepreneurship and business by outlining the main gaps in literature on Russophone migrant entrepreneurship and understanding the direction for future research efforts.





3.2 International Migrants in Business