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Marshrutkas - Fluid mobilities for cities in transformation: Spatial dynamics of marshrutkas in Central Asia and the Caucasus



The Russian public transport system has been going through rough transformation processes during the last decades. Because of the ensuing economic crisis that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, the budget resources of most local administrations were so low that the municipalities had to shut down most of the public transport offers.

Since the early Nineties the marshrutka-market has constituted an interesting and ever changing private transport sector in almost all Russian cities and regions, a hybrid labour sector between formal and informal economy and a largely independent acting social network hard to control for the local municipalities. The recent attempt to consolidate the marshrutka market led to the deterioration of the working conditions of marshrutka drivers. Since then the emergence of ‘ethnicized economy’-structures within the private transport sector can be encountered.

Thus, the described fragile network of the actors involved constitutes the focal point of the research. The examination of the daily urban mobility reveals an implicitly and explicitly encoded complex venue of interactions which needs to be deconstructed. The social arena marshrutka, brings the abovementioned topics of work and migration together and makes the investigation from an inductive research perspective worthwhile.



  • Nazarbayev University - School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Astana / Kazakhstan

Contact: Prof. Dr. Alima Bissenova,

  • American University of Central Asia, Department of Anthropology, Bishkek / Kyrgyzstan

Contact: Dr. Emil Nasritdinov

  • Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University- Department of Human Geography, Tbilisi / Georgia

Contact: Prof. Dr. Joseph Salukvadze

  • Khujand State University- Department of Ethnology and Archaeology, Khujand / Tadjikistan
  • Goethe-University Frankfurt a.M.- Department of Human Geography, Frankfurt am Main / Germany

Contact: Prof. Dr. Peter Lindner

  • Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena - Department of Philosophy, Jena / Germany

Contact: PD Dr. Florian Mühlfried

  • Humboldt-University of Berlin - Department of Asian and African Studies, Berlin / Germany

Contact: Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Baldauf

  • Technical University of Berlin - Center for Technology and Society, Berlin / Germany

Contact: Prof. Dr. Hans-Liudger Dienel

  • University of Leipzig Department of Regional Geography, Leipzig / Germany

Contact: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Lentz

  • Leibniz Insitute for Regional Geography, Leipzig/ Germany

Contact: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Lentz


Referents and collaborators

Tonio Weicker - 


Funding Agency / Programme

The research programm is funded by the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography and the Volkswagen-Stiftung.




Duration10-2015 – 10-2018


Website: Link


Further Information 


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