Growing xenophobia may spur inter-ethnic tensions – Public Chamber experts

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – December 20, 2013) A draft report of the Russian Public Chamber, “On the Status of Russia’s Civil Society”, affirms a growth of aggressive xenophobia in the country.

“Aggressive xenophobia is a serious challenge to contemporary Russia. Xenophobia reached its peak in 2013, according to a survey of the Levada Center, which said that 70-80 percent of the Russian population was xenophobic one way or another. This is the top indicator in many years of research and it is not even. Xenophobia peaked in October after the Moscow election and the Biryulyovo incident. It has the highest degree in Moscow because of the highest concentration of migrants,” the draft indicated.

The draft pointed to the appearance of certain public problems that might spur inter-ethnic tensions.

“Society has numerous objective problems, which may spur inter-ethnic tensions any moment, such as corruption, a low level of professional culture and ethics of civil servants, politicization of the ethnic cultural factor, nationalist organizations and ideologies, and negative ethnic stereotypes that have taken root in the public mentality,” the draft continued.

It also named the shortcomings of the Law “On the Deterrence of Extremism.”

“The Law “On the Deterrence of Extremism” misses the mark. On some occasions it applies to opposition politicians and journalists. Meanwhile, the national factor is frequently used by politicians who are instigating a growth of extremist crimes,” the draft stressed.