Social differences in attitudes toward migration in Russia and Western countries

Social differences in attitudes toward migration in Russia and Western countries

Klupt M.A.

Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Professor, St. Petersburg State University of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia

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Klupt M.A. Social differences in attitudes toward migration in Russia and Western countries. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2018. No 1. P. 112-120


The paper examines the circular causation among immigration, attitudes toward it and politics. Immigration problem is considered through the lenses of social groups’ interests. Indices of attitudes toward immigration are interpreted as empirical referents of such interests’ perception. Comparative analysis, based on the national opinion polls, shows that the differences in prevalence of negative attitudes towards immigration among various social, educational and age groups are less pronounced in Russia than in Western countries. In Russia, unlike the West, more educated groups are more anxious by immigration than less educated ones. Negative attitudes towards immigration are equally prevalent among Russian youth and elderly; this differs Russia from Western countries where the attitudes of the youth are more positive than those of the elderly. In contrast to Western countries, in Russia, as opinion polls show, the negative attitudes toward migration are more prevalent in megalopolises. In present-day Russia, immigration problem, unlike Western countries, is moved to the background of political agenda by other burning topics. Both “the liberals” and “the Eurasians” in Russian elite are not interested, although for different reasons, for dramatizing immigration controversies. Non-elite groups, despite wide prevalence of negative attitude towards immigration, appreciate, as opinion polls show, the contribution of labour migrants to certain economic activities. Socio-political networking is vital to reconcile conflicting immigration-related interests.

immigration; immigration policy; cross-country comparative analysis


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