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Xenophobia and Radicalism in Russia, 2015

Xenophobia and Radicalism in Russia, 2015

The situation with hate crime in Russia remains twofold.

On the one hand, Russia has a sufficiently developed legislation protecting minority rights, combatting xenophobia, etc. Public officials on all levels are actively speaking against xenophobia. The new Federal Agency on Nationalities Affairs is designed to focus on ensuring interethnic harmony in the country. The government continuously provides grants to relevant NPOs. In 2015, a significant decrease in hate crime was observed. This trend is most likely caused by two factors – activity of the law enforcement and the focus of local nationalists on the conflict in Ukraine.

On the other hand, there are some issues in law enforcement practices, specifically discrimination of minorities – immigrants, members of “sects” and LGBT. Russians society has formed a very negative perception of these three minority groups, facilitated by media portrayal. As a result, majority of the population, including those who have never met an LGBT, for example, are firmly against same-sex marriage and are convinced that homosexuality and paedophilia are the same. Members of “non-traditional” religions, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, face similar problems. Large quantities of migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus increased the level of anti-Muslim sentiments and the perception of migrants as terrorists and criminals, as well as people who take jobs away from local people and force low wages on the labour market. Discrimination of migrants is noticeable in employment, housing, healthcare and education. All of this is reflected in the behaviour of law enforcement officers, who are often reluctant to assist aforementioned minorities.

In 2015, a new trend of discrimination emerged, particularly related to Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, where titular languages are forced on ethnic basis at the cost of Russian language studies. At the same time, training of local minority languages teachers for preschool and school education is being gradually curtailed.

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