Saturday, April 27, 2024

Secret Poll Results on Russian Attitudes toward Migrants have Kremlin Worried, ‘Verstka' Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 22 – After the Crocus City Hall terrorists attack, the Kremlin ordered VTsIOM to conduct a secret poll of Russian attitudes toward migrants. It showed a sharp decline in positive attitudes toward immigrants and a sharp increase in negative ones, a shift the Kremlin hopes will be short-lived lest it using migrants to deal with Russia’s labor shortage impossible.

            That is the conclusion of a Kremlin source who on the basis of anonymity shared the results of the poll and discussed concerns in the Russian leadership about its findings with journalists from the Verstka media outlet (

            According to this source, Verstka says, Russian attitudes toward immigrants shifted from an even split in positive and negative ones to a situation in which those who oppose migrant workers and want them limited or expelled outnumbered those who don’t and aren’t focused on restricting their presence in Russia because of the country’s economic needs.

            Those results, in the wake of the terrorist attack, are consistent with the trends polls conducted by more independent agencies have reported. But precisely because this survey was ordered by the Kremlin itself, it is likely to have greater impact on the thinking of Russian leaders.

            Many Russian outlets and politicians have been calling for tighter controls over migration and even expelling some of those already there, policies that if they were to be adopted in toto would have the direst consequences for the Russian economy given worker shortages in a variety of key industries.

            The Kremlin has little choice but to try to show that it takes popular attitudes on this issue seriously; but it has to hope, the source says, that such demands will cool and the regime will be able to continue to attract and use migrants, something that will become ever more important given demographic trends and the need for manpower for Putin’s war in Ukraine.


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