Monday, April 8, 2024

Kremlin Media Provoke Xenophobia and Can Tamp It Down as Well, Demographer Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 5 – Many fear that the upsurge of anti-immigrant xenophobia after the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack is so large that Moscow will be unable to prevent anti-immigrant attitudes from spreading to all non-Russians and that many of the Central Asians now working in the Russian Federation will flee to their homelands.

            But both concerns are overblown, the Important Stories portal says. On the one hand, the Central Asians need the work they have in Russia and have little choice but to remain there (

            And on the other, as Moscow demographer Aleksandr Grepachevsky points out, the amount of xenophobia Russians display is largely determined by the messages the Moscow media sends out. After the terrorist attack, the Kremlin-linked media provoked xenophobia by its coverage.

            However, if the media change their reporting, Russians will “on the whole forget about the terrorist attack, and xenophobia will return to just about the same level if was prior to that event,” albeit with some changes in some places possible but not sufficient to drive large numbers of Central Asian immigrant workers home.

            That conclusion, the demographer continues, is justified by surveys conducted by the Levada Center which show that media messages about migrants have been the most important factor driving both increases in xenophobia and decreases in such attitudes among Russians over the past two decades.

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