Prior to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, thousands of students and tens of thousands of contract workers from Vietnam arrived in socialist ‘fraternal’ countries. A number of them established social and economic relations with locals, compatriots, and migrants from various socialist states in the Cold War period, although they had been discouraged by Vietnamese authorities in creating close personal ties with ‘foreigners’ in general. However, cross border connections became even more important after 1989, as diasporic Vietnamese started to intensify social and economic relations with relatives and business partners in and outside Europe. Based on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in Berlin, Warsaw, Prague and Hà Nội this paper suggests that transnational ties after the fall of the Berlin Wall are characterized by multi-polar (rather than bi-polar) links, thereby taking into account recent critics on methodological nationalism and challenging the two-nation approach which is still at the heart of most studies of Vietnamese diasporas.
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