Posted on August 15, 2005

Racist Sentiments Grow in Russia — Survey

MosNews, Aug. 15

The number of people with racist views in Russia has increased by more than 20 million, a respected daily reported Monday citing the results of a survey carried out by the All-Russian Public Opinion Center (VTsIOM).

The survey revealed that the number of people with these views had gone up from 11% to 16% within a year, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported. The Levada Analytical Center said its research showed that 58% of Russians supported the idea of a “Russia for Russians.”

However, the paper said experts were not inclined to exaggerate xenophobic sentiments in the country. According to the VTsIOM survey, 45% of respondents said their ethnic affiliation was more important to them than their citizenship.

41 percent said inter-ethnic tensions had been growing recently, but only 17% said the same about tolerance.

The Levada Center said 25% of Russians would back a ban on non-ethnic Russians occupying senior civil service posts. Nearly 30% said they would approve of moving Caucasus and Chinese people from the territories that historically belonged to Russia. Another 31% of Russians suggested, “the number of non-ethnic Russians living in Russian cities should be limited.”

The paper said that in parallel with growing racist sentiments a reverse trend was taking shape too. The number of those who said Russia was a multi-ethnic country whose citizens should not be discriminated against on ethnic grounds increased from 49% to 53% in a year.

Vladimir Zharikhin, the deputy director of the Institute of the CIS countries, said: “Eighty-eight percent of Russians are ethnic Russians. Therefore, when only half of them say that Russia should be only for Russians, it testifies to a serious internationalist trend among our people.” According to him, “the complete failure of the migration service has an extremely negative effect on the situation.”