Article Information


Natalya Kosmarskaya (E-mail:

Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Kosmarskaya N.P. (2018) “Korruptsiya”, “tolpy” i “lezginka”: regional'naya spetsifika otnosheniya rossiyan k migrantam (na primere Moskvy i Krasnodara) [“Corruption”, “Crowds”, and “Lezginka”: Regional Specifics of Attitudes towards Migrants in Present-Day Russia (The Case-Study of Moscow and Krasnodar)]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 21(2): 187–213 (in Russian).

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Abstract. In Russia, a place of destination for millions of labour migrants from the former Soviet republics, a highly topical issue of anti-migrant sentiments among the host population has been mainly addressed by researchers via large-scale surveys picturing all Russia with averaged tones. The goal of this paper is to highlight explanatory potential of alternative, qualitative research methods (semi-structured interviewing) for revealing roots and manifestations of regional specifics of xenophobia, taking Moscow and Krasnodar as the case-studies. These two cities, though being largely different in terms of size, historical-demographic background, level of economic welfare and economic activity, share a common feature crucial for the research issue under study: both of them have been for many decades recipients of large amounts of people arriving for a permanent residence or as labour migrants from various parts of Russia and from the “near abroad”.

The notion of a “contextual factor” as a determinant of popular attitudes towards migrants is introduced in the paper. What is meant by “context” is that the theme of migrants (migration) arises, is interpreted and understood by respondents in connection with some other, more general topics which throw light on specifics of the “situation around migrants” in a concrete city — specifics usually elusive for large-scale surveys. As interviewing of ordinary people in the two cities testifies, the story (in relation to popular perception of migrants) in Krasnodar is the one about ethnicity and (non)acceptance, by the local residents, of cultural traits of the people whom they call «newcomers». In Moscow, in contrast, the story is about socio-political situation in the city/country.

The paper seeks to respond to the following questions. 1) What are major concerns of the residents of Moscow and Krasnodar associated with migrants and/or provoked by the presence of numerous migrants in the city? 2) Are there any stable segments of host population inclined to hold a more positive stance towards migrants and, conversely, to display larger intolerance? 3) Do “locals” react differently to migrants of different ethno-cultural backgrounds and social status, and why? 4) What might be the impact of cultural stereotypes transmitted by the media, on popular attitudes towards migrants?

Keywords: perception of migrants, Russia, ethno-cultural “others”, labour migrants, roots and manifestations of migrantophobia, contextual factors, regional specifics, methods of research



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