Wednesday, April 17, 2024

‘Replacement’ Conspiracy Thinking Spreads in Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 13 – The right-wing notion that elites are promoting the replacement of the indigenous population of various countries with immigrants of a radically different social and cultural background, an idea that some call “replacement theory,” has arrived in Russia where it has become part of the debate on restricting the role of migrant workers there.

            Like in the West, those who promote this idea say that the immigrants, with their higher birthrates, will soon form a large enough fraction of the population to dominate the indigenous population. And some of the more extreme advocatess of this view suggest that such “replacement” is a form of genocide.

            Oleg Pakholkov, a former Duma deputy, argues, according to commentator Yury Muhin, that “Russians are dying out. Not Russia but Russians. Russia isn’t going anywhere, but on the territory of the former USSR, they will be replaced by Asians and Caucasian, possibly even Chinese” (

            “In my native village of Potapov,” Pakholkov says, “which was built to fee the capital of atomic energy, Vologodonsk, today in the first grade of schools, there is only one Russian girl. All the rest are not members of the titular peoples of Russia: they are Turks with Russian passports.”

            Such attitudes and the readiness of Russian politicians to promote them in the wake of the terrorist attack on Moscow’s Crocus City Hall venue do not bode well for the future of inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in the Russian Federation. But they may serve as yet another bridge between Putinist Russia and rightwing groups in the West. 

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