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25 Sep, 2020 17:26

Russia has no xenophobia problem, Kremlin says, as poll shows 73% of Russians want restrictions on labor migrants

Russia has no xenophobia problem, Kremlin says, as poll shows 73% of Russians want restrictions on labor migrants

Russia has no issues with xenophobia, the Kremlin insisted on Friday. The statement came in response to a new study which discovered that 19 percent of citizens support the concept of “Russia for Russians.”

Speaking to the press, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, said the government doesn’t “encounter any problems” regarding the hatred of foreigners.

According to the Levada Center survey, the percentage of Russians believing the country should just be for ethnic Russians has fluctuated over the last 18 years. At its lowest point in July 2017, 10 percent of people held that opinion. Last summer, that number was 23 percent. Nowadays, the proportion of Russians sharing that view sits at 19 percent, with just 29 percent believing that the slogan “Russia for Russians” is “real fascism.”

Of those questioned, 73 percent said  Russian authorities need to restrict the inflow of labor migrants, the highest figure since July 2017. 

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The survey’s respondents were also asked how they view other specific nationalities, asking whether they’d be happy to let them into the country for living and working, and even if they’d be okay with them as a family member. According to the results, 28 percent of Russians would not allow black people into the country, 26 percent would not accept Central Asians (Tajiks, Uzbeks), and 22 percent would not admit the Chinese. The most rejected ethnic group was gypsies, with 44 percent saying they should not be allowed into Russia.

Out of all groups considered by pollsters, Jews are by far the most accepted, with the vast majority of respondents giving a positive answer.

Curiously, 26 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t let Chechens come into Russia, despite Chechnya being part of the country.

The survey also asked about Russians’ relationship with Ukrainians, commonly seen as ‘brotherly nations’. Despite the shared history, language, culture, and religion, only 11 percent of Russians said they’d be happy to see a Ukrainian as part of their family, with 19 percent believing they should not even be allowed across the border.

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Named for its founder, the late Yuri Levada, the Levada Center polling company has been accused of liberal and Western bias. In September 2016, the Russian Ministry of Justice ordered that the company be included on the register of foreign agents working within the country, after the company admitted to receiving foreign funding.

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