The Baltic Region

2021 Vol. 13 №2

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Media images of the Kaliningrad region in the structure of migration attitudes of millennials and the reform generation



This article explores the role of a regional media image on migration attitudes. Attention is drawn to the Kaliningrad region, a Russian exclave whose population growth is solely due to migration. The study aims to determine how the media images of Kaliningrad affect the decision to move. The research draws on Radaev’s concept of generations. It uses 2014—2018 regional and national publications about the Kaliningrad region (N=1913) and semi-structured interviews with informants (N=44). The research methods are publication analysis and in-depth interviews processed using the Atals.ti software. The five images identified are a region of international cooperation, a military outpost, an economically attractive area, a territory of developing infrastructure, and a tourist destination. The most substantial intergenerational differences concern the media images of a military outpost and an economically attractive area. Members of the reform generation are more likely than millennials to see a military threat and consider the security aspect when moving. Millennials showed greater awareness of what constitutes the image of an economically attractive region. It is concluded that differences between millennials and the reform generation in evaluating the significance of the region’s media images depend crucially on the migration motives. For millennials, the priority is employment and career growth, whilst for the reform generation, it is finding a comfortable place to live in old age.