Monday, October 30, 2023

Putin Regime having Problems Shifting from Exploitation of Migrantophobia to Ingratiating Itself with Migrants, Polozova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 28 – The Putin regime has exploited xenophobic attitudes among Russians about immigrants to keep itself in power, but now that the number of migrants has fallen and Moscow has become more dependent on those who remain, Russian officials are seeking to ingratiate themselves with the immigrants without losing the support of indigenous Russians.

            That is no easy task, Novaya Gazeta commentator Anna Polozova says, especially as official exploitation of migrantophobia has worked so well. But now, the Kremlin has made a sharp turn away from that because it desperately needs to prevent more immigrants from leaving and wants to use them in various ways, including as soldiers in Putin’s war in Ukraine (

            Whenever a government makes such a shift from a longstanding policy to its opposite, officials face problems because many had become accustomed to the old message and lack credibility both among the immigrants and also among the indigenous population when they try to deliver a new message, the commentator says.

            Some like Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin have been relatively skillful in making this sharp turn; but others, like Kaluga Oblast Governor Vladislav Shapsha, have not; and their fumbling and scrambling has shown just how difficult it is for any official, no matter how much support he or she may enjoy from the top, to make such a sharp turn without losing face.


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