This text was prepared in the framework of an online campaign #reshaping1989, which is part of the project “Reshaping the Image of Democratic Revolutions 1989: European contemporary Perspectives and forgotten Lessons from the Past”.
Author: United Societies of Balkan.
During the 1980s and early 1990s, Greece was an economically developed country with huge wages and socio-political stability. Thus, and thanks to its geographical location which allows easy access to the neighbouring countries by land and sea, Greece became the most attractive country in the region for migration.
The fall of the Berlin wall, alongside with the collapse of the communist regimes and the dissolution of the Soviet Union during 1991, brought a huge influx of migrants into the country. This influx became even bigger, when in April 1992, the Greek borders opened to the Northern Epirotes of Albania, which led to a massive increase in the number of migrants (150,000 Albanians were accepted in Greece in 1993). The economic and political transformation of the countries of the Iron Curtain, led to an increase of migrants from Bulgaria and Romania as well.
A large number of migrants from the Soviet Union arrived in Greece in the 1990s. Most of them were Greek, from Pontus, who during the formation of the modern Turkish country left their ancestral lands and fled to regions of Soviet Union, mainly in central Asia. They declared their ethnic origin in Greek, and thus, acquired the Greek citizenship. These citizens, since they didn’t know the Greek language well, couldn’t join high working environments, even though they had a high level of education. Thus, they mainly worked as unskilled workers in factories, agriculture, etc.