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Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

XENOPHOBIA AND RADICALISM IN RUSSIA, 2017-18. WHAT CHANGED?

XENOPHOBIA AND RADICALISM IN RUSSIA, 2017-18. WHAT CHANGED?

In 2017 – first half of 2018, there were significant changes in Russia both in the sphere of countering xenophobia and radicalism and in the trends related to the spread of xenophobic attitudes and the dynamics of hate crimes.

Radical nationalism, xenophobia and migrant phobia remain an actual problem for Russian society. There is no doubt that one can see the tendency in recent years to reduce the number of violent hate crimes, but without a deep understanding of the causes of this process and a change in the methods of combating intolerance, this trend towards reduction can be short-lived. The main group of victims is still composed of people whom the attackers perceived as “ethnic outsiders,” and the number of attacks against ideological opponents increased.

There has been a drastic demise of right-wing movements and groups. There are several reasons for the weakening of extreme right movements and the reduction of inter-ethnic tensions. The first reason was the tightening of anti-extremist legislation and the intensification of the work of law enforcement agencies, especially on the eve of the World Cup. The second important factor is the increase in international tension, which led to the consolidation of society against a common enemy (Ukraine, the West, etc.) and was a step towards strengthening the political nation, when the population gives up internal contradictions and acquires a common goal, which, in this case, is to counter the anti-Russian policy of a hostile environment. True, it must be admitted that this factor plays a smaller role every year. In addition, a significant part of the most active nationalists were involved in conflicts outside of Russia (in Syria and Ukraine), which weakened these movements within the country.

The lack of administrative responsibility for inciting hatred among government officials also raises big questions. Some of the xenophobic and particularly anti-Semitic statements by well-known politicians (for example, the one made by the Russian State Duma’s Deputy Speaker, Peter Tolstoy, who claimed that Jews were responsible for the events of 1917), were suppressed, but were left without administrative or criminal consequences.

Discrimination at the local level of some indigenous peoples of Siberia, such as the Shors, who have been fighting for their historical lands, where they lived and buried their ancestors, with large regional coal companies, should be among the priority problems for Russian authorities.

At the same time, there is a decline in xenophobia at all levels of society. The liberalization of anti-extremist legislation is not likely to have an impact on this process in the future.

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