Hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz labour migrants seek opportunities in Russia where they fall target to retaliation of vigilante citizens who find offence in the presence of alien labourers in their homeland. Vigilantism also takes place within this migrant ‘community’ where male Kyrgyz labour migrants engage in retaliation on female migrants over perceived offences such as dating non-Kyrgyz men. On several occasions between 2011 and 2016 videos featuring honour beating of female labour migrants by fellow countrymen shook the internet. The selected case illustrates vulnerabilities experienced by migrants due to xenophobia and hostility of the host state, as well as additional layers of vulnerabilities linked to gendered biases that ‘travel’ across borders along with compatriots in migration. The study argues that offline structures, norms, biases, violence, and stigma not only reincarnate online, where they culminate in vigilante acts, but consequently, they re-enter the offline discourse and go through further normalization and justification.

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Keywords digital divides, digital vigilantism, layers of vulnerabilities, labour migrants
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Journal Media and Communication
Note This article is part of the issue “Refugee Crises Disclosed: Intersections between Media, Communication and Forced Migration Processes”, edited by Vasiliki Tsagkroni (Leiden University, The Netherlands) and Amanda Alencar (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands).
Gabdulhakov, R. (2019). In the Bullseye of Vigilantes: Mediated Vulnerabilities of Kyrgyz Labour Migrants in Russia. Media and Communication, 7(2), 230–241. doi:10.17645/mac.v7i2.1927