631.5 Ethnic tolerance and intolerance in Russia: Current issues and trends

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 9:48 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Alla STREMOVSKAYA , Institute for Asian and Oriental Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

Alla Stremovskaya, PhD

Lomonosov Moscow State University,

Moscow, Russia

Russia is a multiethnic society. According to All-Russian census conducted in 2002, there were 192 ethnic groups in Russia. However, not all citizens are satisfied with the existence of so many ethnic groups in Russia. For example, according to a ‘Public Opinion’ Foundation Poll conducted in 2007 only 37% of respondents think that existence of many ethnic groups in Russia has more benefits for the country, 35% think it does more harm and 28% don’t know. Recently, active migration processes from Central Asia and Caucasus as well as a growing number of Muslims have been observed in Russia. On the one hand, migration helps to improve demographic situation and compensates for a lack of workforce at the job market. On the other hand, it increases greater competition for the job market, involves distribution of the local territorial resources and causes ethnic tensions. It also arouses much discussion on the forms of teaching migrants with poor Russian language competence, socio-cultural adaptation and other social problems. Concomitantly, ethnic relations of Russian people with migrants vary by the ethnicity of the groups. For example, the study of the Lithuanian minority in the Kaliningrad Region of Russia conducted by Lomonosov Moscow State University within the frames of the international FP7-SSH ENRI-East project funded by the European Commission in 2010 showed a high degree of ethnic tolerance by Lithuanians and Russians towards each other, very few cases of confrontation, active assimilation processes of the Lithuanians in that area and mutual cultural interpenetration. There is also a decline in anti-Semitism in Russia. The survey carried out by All-Russian Centre for Public Opinion Research showed that only 3% of Russian people declared themselves to be anti-Semites in 2010.