Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Racism Flourishing in Moscow Rental Market, Realtors Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 3 – Most people who rent out apartments in the Russian capital do not put in their advertisements that they won’t consider people who are non-Slavs, own pets, or have children, the Lenta news agency reports. But prejudice against all three and especially against non-Slavs is flourishing, making it hard if not impossible for such people to find housing there.

            In an article entitled “Only Slavs,” the news agency asks rhetorically “What do Chinese, students, children and animals have in common?” And it provides the “correct” answer: “all of them are candidates for being excluded from the rental market” in Moscow today (

                Open, that is advertised, discrimination against those with children or pets rose from 15 percent in 2014 to 50 percent the following year, although opposition to such people has eased as the real estate market has softened over the last two years, analysts tell the agency.  But ethnic discrimination has remained at 50 percent or above throughout the period.

            “When renting an apartment to residents of the near abroad,” Mariya Zhukov of the Miel-Arenda realty company says, “owners sometimes are concerned that after a certain time, those they have rented it to will bring into it their entire family, including close and distant relatives and friends.”  Owners also often discriminate against single men, fearing they are gay.

            Those who are members of groups likely to face discrimination can sometimes avoid it, realtors say, if they use the services of realtors rather than seeking to rent directly. That is of course self-serving, but realtors say that owners are more inclined to trust those who go to the trouble of finding a realtor than those who are not.

            And the realtors suggest that the problem of such discrimination may ease not so much because owners have become more tolerant or open but because in Moscow and many other Russian cities, there are more apartments on offer in many price ranges than there are potential renters.

            In short, those owners who choose to continue to discriminate may find themselves without the rental incomes they had hoped for. 

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