Explaining Increases in Xenophobia in Post-Communist Russia

30 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2009

Date Written: August 18, 2009


Since 2000, Russia has witnessed a stunning increase in xenophobic voting and violence. Unlike manifestations in Western Europe, Russian xenophobia is significantly more likely to end in fatal encounters or large-scale infringements of domestic liberties. Russia is home to half the world’s skinheads, averages several dozen fatal attacks on ethnic minorities yearly, and has seen local ordinances and pogroms intended to reverse the access of immigrants to Russian markets.

Our paper collects data on three dimensions of Russian xenophobia: votes for xenophobic parties, legislation restricting immigrant minorities, and explicitly xenophobic crimes. We then test three competing explanations for the increase in xenophobic outcomes since 2000. We find that increases in xenophobia are driven primarily by increases in inter- and intra-national migration, due a combination of a more attractive Russian economy combined with political instability in the Caucuses. We reject two alternate explanations: that xenophobia is driven by high or increasing levels of economic instability or inequality, or that xenophobia is driven by increases in nationalist sentiment utilized by the Putin regime to consolidate power, though we cannot rule out that Russia’s weak rule of law and indifferent civic culture play a role in facilitating violence.

Keywords: Private pension schemes, Lump sum conversion, Government guaranteed income streams

JEL Classification: G23, G30, G32

Suggested Citation

Gay, Roger, Explaining Increases in Xenophobia in Post-Communist Russia (August 18, 2009). 22nd Australasian Finance and Banking Conference 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1457387 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1457387

Roger Gay (Contact Author)

Monash University ( email )

Building 11E
Clayton, Victoria 3800

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