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Browsing by Subject "Ukraine"

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  • Moisala, Matti (2023)
    Migration, which can be characterized as a temporal or permanent movement of individuals or groups of people from one geographic location to another, is old as humanity itself. As a part of polyethnic states and as a polyethnic state itself, Ukrainians have had strong connections across the borders and migration has been an integral part of life and in present-day Europe, Ukrainians form one of the largest migrant groups around Europe. The main type of migration changed from economic migration to forced migration when the Russian Federation launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine on 24th of February 2022 which caused a massive influx of migrants to European countries. In this master’s thesis, I studied the effect of existing social networks on refugees’ destination choices, and the aim was to examine how the migration of Ukrainians to Europe after the outbreak of full-scale war is linked to the existing Ukrainian minority population in Europe and to the spatial distribution of Ukrainian social interactions with European countries. In addition to this, the aim was also to evaluate the use of novel big data sources, such as Twitter and Meta, and assess how they can provide new insights into studying migration. The first part of the analysis explored the strength of the relationship between existing Ukrainian minorities in EU countries and social connectedness. The second part of the analysis explored further the strength of the relationship over time between the number of refugees in the EU, social connectedness, and distance from Ukraine, and also the spatial distribution of Ukrainian refugees within the EU area. Third, the strength of the relationship was explored over time between social connectedness and the number of Ukrainian Twitter users in Europe. Last, Twitter data was analyzed to get insights into the Twitter use of Ukrainians and how the change in language use is connected to the refugee movement. Results show that high social connectedness values between Ukraine and other European countries are the result of an existing Ukrainian minority in countries. When analyzing the relationship between the refugee movement in 2022 and social connectedness, results suggest that the migration movement is connected to the existing social networks which can be demonstrated by the social connectedness index. The social connectedness index proves to predict quite accurately the mobility of Ukrainians. User information from Twitter data didn’t perform that well in analyses at least on the country level. However, on the regional level, the relationship between Twitter users and the social connectedness index yielded some better results with a moderate relationship in some months. Insights about overall Twitter usage also showed patterns of increased Twitter activity of Ukrainians in the EU and decreased Twitter activity in Ukraine after the invasion. However, in addition to the location of the users and overall activity, language use analyzed from Twitter data also provided insights about linguistic change from Russian to Ukrainian and the use of Ukrainian, Russian, and English in European countries. However, language use analysis didn’t provide significant support for assessing the dependencies between the number of refugees and language use. This thesis explored further the capabilities of the use of the social connectedness index in migration studies and also showed some of the weaknesses of social media-based big data in mobility-related studies.