Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Employers in Capitals Discriminate Against Non-Russians; Those in Middle Volga Cities Don’t

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 11 – In Moscow and St. Petersburg, companies routinely discriminate against potential employees from Central Asia and the Caucasus, while in Ufa and Kazan, companies treat them equally, according to a new study by scholars from the University of Exeter and Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.

            Aleksey Besssudnov and Andrey Shcherbak reached these conclusions on the basis of an experiment in which they sent fictional resumes with obviously Slavic and equally obviously non-Slavic names and measured the percentage of applicants who received invitations for interviews (

                The investigators sent in applications to more than 9,000 advertised vacancies in the name of representatives of 14 ethnic groups.  Moscow and Petersburg companies invited 41 percent of the applicants with Russian names for an interview and only a slightly lower share of Ukrainians, Jews and Germans (40 percent, 39 percent and 37 percent respectively.)

            But companies in the capital responded to applicants with Caucasian and Central Asian names in a far different and less positive ways. Nominal Georgians were invited in 26 percent of all cases, Armenians, 27 percent, Chechens, Azerbaijanis, Tajiks and Uzbeks, 28 percent, and Tatars, 29 percent.

                Given that the only differences among the resumes were the names of the candidates, this pattern suggests, the two scholars say, that “in Moscow and Petersburg, employers discriminate against representatives of ethnic groups from the southern countries and regions of Russia,” but not against Jews or Ukrainians.

            For groups from the south, they continue, employers in the capital discriminate more against men than from women, Bessudnov and Shcherbak say.  Men, they say, are more often viewed as threatening.

            The situation in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, and Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan, is very different. There, “all ethnic groups received about 40 percent” positive responses. And the authors did not find any “statistically significant differences” in how employers treated people of different ethnic groups.

            “It is possible,” the scholars say, “that the absence of discrimination in Kazan and Ufa is connected with the fact that in these cities there is an ethnically mixed population and urban residents are accustomed to interacting with representatives of other ethnoses.”  But of course, Moscow and St. Petersburg are ethnically mixed as well.

            The explanation may lie, the two suggest, in the fact that “ethnic minorities in the capitals of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan are not viewed as a threat to the culture of the indigenous population” while minorities in the two capitals quite often are.

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