Alexey Bessudnov (2016) – Ethnic Hierarchy and Public Attitudes towards Immigrants in Russia
Explanations of anti-immigrant attitudes in Europe have been centred around the labour market competition and group threat theories. The article tests these theories with the data from Russia and finds some support for the group threat theory. Attitudes towards several immigrant ethnic groups are analysed separately. While Russians generally accept Ukrainians and Moldovans as their potential neighbours, they are more hostile to immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia. This ethnic hierarchy is shared by all large ethnic groups populating Russia. The analysis of regional-level covariates of anti-immigrant sentiment shows that higher concentration of immigrants is associated with more negative attitudes towards most immigrant groups, except Ukrainians. Poorer regions are more xenophobic. The predictive power of statistical models explaining anti-immigrant prejudice is considerably lower in Russia compared with Western European countries. The article discusses to what extent standard explanations of anti-immigrant attitudes in Europe can be applied in Russia.
Interesting paper on attitudes towards immigrants in Russia. Big sample (n=24,500).
It is written from very neoliberalism.txt perspective (e.g. Ctrl-F on “xeno-” yields 37 matches; “prejudice” yields 17 matches), but data is data.
1. Russian regions by “xenophobia.”
Richer regions tend to be more anti-immigrant than poorer regions.
2. Attitudes by socioeconomic, ethnic, religious status. (Positive numbers denote higher “xenophobia” relative to the reference group).
So basically Russians and indigenous Turkic and Finno-Ugric minorities are all similarly “xenophobic”; North Caucasians are more welcoming (if not, one suspects, with respect to their own territories); while heavily immigrant peoples (Central Asians, South Caucasians) and the Mercurians (Jews – and not that these are religious Jews; I suspect the secular Jews would be even more pro-immigrant) are very welcoming. Where have we seen this pattern before?
Almost no difference between age groups or the sexes; the big cities are substantially more based than the countryside, an inversion of the usual pattern in Western Europe and the United States (probably explainable by the core Russian countryside being 99% Slavic); manual workers are slightly more based than students; recent migrants are more welcoming than natives; and the poorly educated (whom Trump loves) are more based than the highly educated.
3. Attitudes by ethnicity, towards immigrants from specific regions.
Here we see that although “xenophobia” differs across ethnic groups – with Slavs and indigenous Turkic and Finno-Ugrics more xenophobic, immigrant groups from the South Caucasus and Central Asia being less xenophobic – there is a common hierarchy, with Slavic immigrants (Ukraine, Moldova) universally being more welcome than immigrants from Central Asia and especially the North Caucasus, even by other Muslim ethnicities.
The phenomenon of inter-group consensus on ethnic hierarchy is well known in social psychology and was reported previously for Russia by Hagendoorn et al. (1998). Hagendoorn et al. noted that it was also found in other countries and that ‘a common element in these hierarchies is that North Europeans are placed at the top, in the middle are Southern and Eastern Europeans, while Asians and Africans generally occupy positions at the lower end of the scale‘. The survey instrument in our study does not include questions about attitudes to North and Western Europeans, but the relative positions of other groups confirm Hagendoorn et al.’s conclusions. Hagendoorn (1995) explains this consensus by status considerations: ethnic groups that are perceived as having lower status do not want to further endanger it by association with other groups with lower status.
Anyhow, what I’m going with this is that as in so many other spheres of life, the patterns of social processes in Russia are in fact very similar to those in the West.