But if Russians have become more ethnically conscious over this period, the foundation stresses, they have less supportive of discrimination on ethnic lines. The share saying ethnic Russians should have special rights has fallen from 31 to 23 percent, those saying everyone should have equal rights rose from 63 to 71 percent, and those saying Russia benefits from multi-nationality was up from 44 to 50 percent.
Those favoring restrictions on immigration from some countries meanwhile fell from 63 to 45 percent, while those opposing any restrictions on immigration rose from 27 to 43 percent.
Russian media are playing these results up as an indication that Russians are becoming more tolerant. That is possible, but it is also possible that these results as so often the case reflect Russians’ saying what the authorities want them to say – and right now promoting the idea that Russians are ethnically tolerant fits with the Kremlin’s program.