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Anti-Immigrant Attitudes in the Socio-Political Life of a Siberian City: The Example of Irkutsk

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Although the great majority of Siberians are themselves ‘immigrants’ from central Russia and other Slav regions, the post-Soviet period has seen the re-emergence of previously latent anti- immigrant attitudes even among contemporary Siberians. The article examines the case of Irkutsk and explains why it is that hostility is now directed against the Caucasian nationalities and against the Chinese. One factor is the historical dislike of ‘trading minorities’ by peoples with an egalitarian, labour-oriented ethos; another is the way the new immigrants play into local stereotypes of the ‘stranger’; a third is the exploitation of rising nationalism by local politicians in their electoral strategies. The article concludes that self-protective strategies, especially by the Chinese, often prevent integration. Anti-immigrant attitudes are likely to remain, even


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