“We fear that the wave (of intolerance) towards migrants may also spread to Muslims. Who will stop this wave then?” asked Krganov during a discussion forum on nationalism organized by the Russian news channel Russia Today.
“The language of hostility has unexpectedly returned to our lives. We really thought we got over it in the first decade (of this century) and started having normal conversations with each other and reporting on inter-national relations. And it’s not,” said Margarita Ljange, an expert on international relations, relations between religions and migration.
“The social discussion is changing, the situation is intensifying, and migration is really meaningfully associated with Islam,” Yevgeny Varshaver, head of migration and ethnicity research at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Kommersant.
Recently, nationalist rhetoric has mainly been heard from the parliamentary benches. State Duma deputies also proposed a number of restrictions on foreign migrants and Russian citizens – former migrants who have acquired citizenship in recent years.
Quotas for children in schools, no guns
In August, the pro-Kremlin parliamentary party Just Russia proposed legislatively limiting the number of migrant children in Russian schools, their share should not exceed ten percent.
Valerij Fadejev, head of the Presidential Council for Human Rights, also supported the initiative. Another member of this Kremlin body, Kirill Kabanov, has repeatedly made it clear that it is necessary to fight hard with “ethnic enclaves”.
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In September, Just Russia came up with a proposal that people who acquired Russian citizenship less than five years ago should not be allowed to apply for a firearms license and a hunting rifle permit as civilians. Rossiiskaja gazeta reported about it.
The head of the public organization “Right to Arms” Vyacheslav Vaneyev immediately stated that the restriction should not apply to former migrants with a Russian passport “who ethnically identify with the original peoples on the territory of Russia.”
However, according to his judgment, the ban should be extended to 15 to 25 years for people coming from Central Asian countries.
“It’s been a long time since prominent people, leaders of public opinion, parliamentarians and public officials expressed themselves in such a way about individual nations and international relations.
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We have done a lot to get rid of such language and learn to express ourselves culturally.
When it is not possible to re-educate some people, we should think about more punishment (for similar statements)”, said Vladimir Zorin, the head of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation for National, Religious Relations and Migration.
It started with an anti-Ukrainian wave
Also according to political scientist Mikhail Vinogradov, Russian public officials are trying to push the boundaries of anti-migration rhetoric. “Taboos are falling, starting with the anti-Ukrainian wave and ending with the absence of a clear response to the anti-Semitic marches in Dagestan”.
However, according to him, this also includes the attempt to distance himself from the case of the Russian youth Nikita Zhuravlyov, accused of burning the Koran, who was brutally beaten in custody by the 15-year-old son of the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
The video of the beating outraged a large part of the Russian public, but the Kremlin refused to comment on it, Kommersant reported.
The situation is all the more delicate for Russia, because it cannot do without migrants in the future, because it lacks the workforce. Ninety-five percent of labor migrants in Russia come from the countries of the former Soviet Union, but their capacity is running out.
Entrepreneurs’ Rights Commissioner Boris Titov asked President Vladimir Putin at the end of September to allow a greater influx of migrants from countries with which Russia has visa relations.
It should be mainly about Bangladeshis and Indians, who mostly follow Islam and Hinduism respectively.