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

Xenophobic Rhetoric

Xenophobic Rhetoric Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Vladimir Zhirinovsky

In 2014-15, a number of xenophobic statements by the authorities about the allegedly excessively high level of migrant crime were noted. In this case, they usually do not give comparative data from which one could understand what the real proportion of the so-called migrant crime is compared to the total amount of crimes. They “forget” to mention that the percentages they refer to the crimes disclosed (although the disclosure is far from 100%), confuse together minor offenses and serious crimes, confuse the concepts of “non-resident”, “newcomers” and “migrants”. Such statements were made by the Minister of the Interior V. Kolokoltsev (January 24, 2014), his deputy I.Zubov (February 4), the head of the main department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moscow A. Yakunin (February 26, November 11 and 12, December 15), acting Head of the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for St. Petersburg A. Klaus (January 15 and 29), the head of the SSUSK in Moscow V. Yakovenko (January 29), the Prosecutor of the Moscow Region A. Zakharov ( 6 February), Prosecutor of the Tver Region V. Rosinsky (7 February).

State Duma deputy from the Communist Party Nikolai Kolomeytsev in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta published on April 3, spoke against the abolition of quotas for migrants, stating that they allegedly compete with the “indigenous” population in the labour market, and the abolition of quotas is lobbied by the “construction mafia”.

On April 24, 2014, it was reported that State Duma Deputy (MP) Mikhail Starshinov requested information about how much funds is allocated from the Russian budget to provide healthcare and education for migrant workers and members of their families. Deputy himself believes that too much money is spent on servicing this group of people.

On May 16, speaking at an economic forum in Novosibirsk, Vice Prime Minister Olga Golodets said that according to some experts, Russia has more immigrants than the market requires and most of them work outside of the law. Among measures to regulate the situation she proposed checking for migrants’ qualifications before allowing them access to employment.

On June 30, presidential envoy in the Southern Federal District, Vladimir Ustinov, said that tensions in the region are “due to high levels of migration, destructive activities of foreign and Russian non-commercial organisations and certain religious communities”. Ustinov added that migration often leads to “ousting of the native people from traditional areas of economic activities, which leads to a dramatic change in the ethnic and religious composition of the population”. He reported that there is an “area of compact settlement of migrants, with a serious potential for domestic and interethnic conflicts”.

On August 14, President Putin met with representatives of parliamentary factions in Yalta, where State Duma Deputy (MP) from Just Russia party spoke with sharp migrantophobic statements. MP Goryacheva claimed that immigrants supposedly monopolised the construction industry, retail industry and service industry. “You won’t year Russian speech at farmer’s markets,” she said.

On October 8, Russian Deputy Prosecutor General, Viktor Grin, said that the determining factor of extremist sentiments in Russia is the increased immigration from the southern regions in Russia to more economically developed and stable regions. He added that the main cause of ethnic conflicts is immigrants’ neglect of local customs and traditions.

Speaking at a “business lunch” in the Russian Newspaper (“Rossiyskaya Gazeta”, published on April 21), Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin repeated his allegations that immigrants are overloading Moscow’s infrastructure, since they do not pay taxes. (Mr Mayor did not mention that this is the responsibility of their employers).

On December 5, Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin appeared at a celebratory concert in Luzhniki dedicated to the day of police. He said that the number of crimes in the capital committed by migrants has decreased by 14%, adding that in many respects this was facilitated by deportations of migrants On February 17, in an interview with “Komsomolskaya Pravda” newspaper Mayor of Arzamas M. Buzin accused foreigners of “coming here and exploiting everything that the city created over the centuries” and of “tactlessness and unwillingness to live by the rules of the ‘hosts’”. It was also revealed that Mayor ordered to close all catering establishments that do not serve Russian dishes, explaining that “national cafes attract the unemployed elements that irritate citizens, those slackers in SUVs”.

On a “Sunday Night” (“Voskresny Vecher”) TV programme, broadcasted on January 22, 2014, member of the State Duma and leader of the “Rodina” party A. Zhuravlev stated that “only Russians are being tried on Article 282”. Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Institute of Demographics, Migration and Regional Development Yuri Krupnov, talking about the clashes in the city of Pugachev, accused foreigners of “trying to establish their own customs, promoting their own political initiatives”.

On April 2, Newspaper “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” published an article by K. Rodionov, entitled “Features of the Visa Regime”, where he demagogically stated that the legalisation of immigrants will only “reinforce the migratory pressure on the major cities the country”, which could “trigger a full-scale social catastrophe”. Rodionov also suggested to introduce an amendment to the Administrative Code of the country that would provide a punishment for holding religious rituals in public in a form of a 10-15 day imprisonment.

On April 16, nationalist demographics scientist I. Beloborodov told Novye Izvestiya that Russia contains 16-18 million migrants, of which 8 million are legal. He claimed that these levels of migration are detrimental to the country He later said that the journalist did not reproduce his words accurately.

On May 17, Free Press published an interview with a senior lecturer at the Centre of Social Anthropology, Mikhail Drambyan, who said that migrantophobic sentiments are “objectively formed”, because migrants “evoke aggression”.

Former Deputy Director of the Federal Migration Service and president of the Migration 21st Century Foundation, Vyacheslav Postavnin, painted an apocalyptic picture about the “invasion of migrants”, which he compared to the Tatar-Mongolian invasion”. He also claimed that xenophobia is an objective feeling.

Head of the National Strategy Institute Mikhail Remizov was interviewed by Independent Gazette (“Nezavisimaya Gazeta”) in an article published on July 31. Remizov claimed that the growth of immigrants from Central Asia will lead to a “sharp increase of conflicts in the society”, because immigrants supposedly have excessive demands. He also alluded to high crime rate in immigrant circles.

On December 18, "Argumenti i Fakti" magazin published an article by G. Zotov, entitled “Our legion. What can Russia do with millions of immigrant?” The article claimed that Russia may become similar to France, which is supposedly “overwhelmed” by migrants.

There have been a number of homophobic statements from senior officials. Vice Prime Minister Rogozin tweeted on February 3, 2014: “Politicians who want to legalise same-sex marriage and promote homosexuality hate their people and don’t want it to reproduce.”

On May 12, 2014, it was reported that member of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly V. Milonov – author of a homophobic law against “propaganda of homosexuality” – asked Minister of Culture V. Medinsky to prohibit any public appearances by Conchita Wurst (a transsexual winner of Eurovision from Denmark) in Russia. “Any public appearance of this creature will be an insult to all people of Russia,” Milonov wrote.

On May 14, 2014, after Wurst’s victory in Eurovision, Milonov said on Echo St. Petersburg radio that Russia must stop showing off and say “yes, we can have women in skirts and men with beards, but not both in one.” He added that Conchita Wurst is a gesture of the European media towards the “homo-lobby” and is a true “homo-fascism”, when they consider it normal to forcibly impose their values on others.

On August 30, Minister of Development of the Far East Alexandr Galushka held a speech at V-ROX festival in Vladivostok. Minister claimed that development and promotion of homosexuality is what caused the collapse of the Roman Empire, despite its considerable developments in science and technology.

On September 2, 2014, acting Prime Minister of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov said that LGBT citizens “will never be allowed to hold their events in Crimea”. He added, “If these people take to the streets, police and defence units will act swiftly. In three minutes they will explain what sexual orientation they should have.”

Xenophobic statements against certain religious groups have also been common during the monitored period. After the outbreak of measles in Zheleznogorsk (Kursk Oblast) in January, media actively spread the allegations that the affected Baptists “refuse to be vaccinated and treated because of their religious beliefs” and therefore contribute to the spread of infection. Leader of LDPR (Liberal Democrat Party of Russia) Vladimir Zhirinovsky urged to “forcibly Baptist children or take their children away”. Baptists themselves were subjected to harassment, while doctors refused to examine them in the clinics Leader of North Ossetia Taimuraz Mamsurov was interviewed by newspaper Kommersant on July 28, where he said that “sects” are more dangerous than radical Islamists, alluding towards Jehovah’s Witnesses. Mamsurov stated, “They convince people – do not go to hospital, do not give blood, do not do transfusion, do not treat children, do not serve in the army… And they are more numerous than our Orthodox and Muslims altogether, even though we are an Orthodox republic and Muslims have lived here for centuries”.

Media coverage of an incident in Penza, where a woman murdered her granddaughter with an axe, laid claims that grandmother’s mental state was related to her regular visits to a local religious organisation “Word of Life”. IA Tema Penza was the first to publish this version, which was then picked up by Baltinfo and NewsRU.com and VPenze.ru. After protests of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians Tema Penza removed direct mentions of World of Life church, replacing it with the term “Orthodox Sect”.

On May 22, 2015, Leader of LDPR Zhirinovsky said that national republics are seeking to teach Russian children their regional languages in order to “oust Russians from national regions”. He added that it is difficult for a child to learn a language “that ends after 50 kilometres”.

On January 23, 2017, Vice Speaker of the State Duma Peter Tolstoy, commenting on the protests surrounding the transfer of St. Isaac's Cathedral to the ROC, said the following: "Observing the protests around the transfer of St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, I cannot help but notice an amazing paradox: people who are grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who ruined our temples, having jumped out there... from behind the sedentary line with a Nagan in the seventeenth, today their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, working in various other very respectable places - in radio stations, in legislative assemblies - continue the work of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers."

On May 6, 2019, in the blog of the nationalist newspaper Zavtra titled "Occupation," President V. Putin's advisor Sergey Glazyev stated the possibility of: "a mass relocation to the "cleansed" lands of Southeast Ukraine from the Russian population of those tired of the permanent war in the Middle East of the inhabitants of the Promised Land. It is possible that the article (which Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Glazyev's "personal opinion") and the scandal that followed were the reason for Glazyev's removal from his advisors in August 2019.

In May 2021, in an interview with RIA Novosti, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia Alexander Boroda criticized the xenophobic statements of LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky and State Duma deputy Vyacheslav Lysakov, noting that statements of politicians in public space, including posts on social networks, must meet basic ethical criteria. Earlier, Zhirinovsky gave a speech at a scholarly conference titled "Victory in the Great Patriotic War as a Historical Event in the Life of the Jewish People," accusing Jews of inciting anti-Semitism. Going through the names of famous businessmen and journalists, he primarily pointed to their nationality. Deputy Lysakov in his telegraph channel unflatteringly referred to the singer Manija, who is an ethnic Tajik and represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest, also focusing on her nationality.,/p>

"Such statements in the 21st century seem unthinkable and unacceptable: Mr. Zhirinovsky accuses Jews of being the cause of anti-Semitism, and he constantly resorts to unfounded speculation about the Russian people. (...) Such statements are not just xenophobic invectives; with their help, the deputies broadcast an invented image of the negative, hostile reality of Russian society," said Boroda.

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