Monday, August 27, 2018

Russian Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism Up Significantly over Last Year, Levada Poll Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 27 – Over the last year, Levada Center polls show, xenophobia and anti-Semitism have increased dramatically, with a third of Russians now saying they do not want to see Roma in Russia, only a few less saying they do not want to see Chinese there, and 12 percent saying the same thing about Jews.

All these numbers are up substantially from a year ago, from 17 percent, 15 percent and four percent respectively. Moreover, one in every six now say that they do not want to see any nations in Russia “except Russians,” and the share backing “Russia for the Russians” has nearly doubled from 10 percent to 19 percent (

Hostility to ethnic Ukrainians, people from the Caucasus and gastarbeiters from the former Soviet republics also rose, in some cases to new highs, the poll found.  Forty percent favor discriminating against minorities in hiring and rents; and the share supporting restrictions on immigration rose from 58 percent to 67 percent now.

The Levada Center sociologists suggested that the numbers this year reflect “a redirection of the anger of Russians about ‘the Other’” as a result of dissatisfaction with the pension reform and “the worsening of consumer and social attitudes.” And they pointed out that many of the groups Russians are most angry about are few in number.

One comment on the report about these results in Novaya gazeta helps put these numbers in context (  Maria Kruglyakova said that she hadn’t noticed any increase in xenophobia because she hadn’t seen any decline.

She continued: “Nationalism and xenophobia is something that NEVER gives rise in Russia to ANYTHING good.  But [tragically] hatred and intolerance are the only thing on the basis of which the unification of people in Russia occurs. “However cynical this sounds, hatred and xenophobia to one group in Russia weakens only with the growth in hatred toward another.”

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