Inflation of hatred

"If you are Tajik, I will not go with you." After the terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall near Moscow, a wave of hatred towards Tajiks swept over Russia. As the Russian émigré publication "Meduza" noted, "Citizens of Tajikistan faced personal hatred and aggression in Russia": security forces have stepped up checks among people with an "eastern" appearance, taxi passengers refuse to go if the driver is Tajik, and leaders of the Tajik diaspora recommend their fellow citizens not to leave their houses in the evenings.

Meanwhile, the Russian state leadership is clearly unhappy with this course of events. Why? Maybe because it is fundamentally against xenophobia? But the entire foreign policy of Russia is now built on xenophobia: the topic of the threat from the West and Ukraine does not disappear from the air of state TV channels.

Rather, the Kremlin sees the problem in that xenophobia and hatred (feelings that, like "high-precision weapons", should target specific countries and groups at the Kremlin's behest) have suddenly gone out of control.

Until recently, it was "all right": hatred was focused on Ukrainians (aka "Nazis"), Biden, Scholz, Macron, etc., "foreign agents" and banned "extremist" organizations (like the Anti-Corruption Foundation and the LGBT International Public Movement). All of them in one or another way were associated with the West and its "corrupting influence".

The spontaneous opening of the "second front" of hatred, aimed at migrants from Central Asia, undermines the authorities’ ability to direct this hatred in the right direction. In addition, in such a case, the motivational power of hatred generally decreases: this feeling turns from a powerful emotion capable of shaping public sentiment and social behaviour into the "background". If it is constantly present in the social atmosphere, one gets used to it, and in a situation where "everyone hates everyone", it is very difficult to direct this feeling against someone specifically, even more so, to encourage "necessary" actions of masses of people (or support for actions taken by the state).

Exactly this makes the Russian propaganda to emphasize the "guilt of the West and Ukraine" in the terrorist attack in Crocus City Hall: FSB director Bortnikov said that "the United States, Britain and Ukraine are behind the terrorist attack, although the customer has not yet been established" (which means "to be behind a terrorist attack, without being its customer" remains unclear). According to the Bloomberg news agency citing sources close to the Kremlin, Putin was present at discussions where officials agreed that Kyiv was not connected to the terrorist attack, but this did not affect his desire to "rally Russians around the war with Ukraine".

Meanwhile, the well-known ideologist of the "Russian world" Dugin is trying to break the propaganda strategy of the Kremlin, adding the "Zionist footprint":

"In search of the customer, and therefore the object of Putin's promised retribution for the monstrous terror attack in Crocus, one should not discard any hypotheses a priori. For example, the revenge of the Zionists for the Russian position on Gaza, and accordingly, the footprint of the Mossad that really has close contacts with ISIS, banned in the Russian Federation. In due time, the Israelis managed to make a secret deal with ISIS in Syria and financed the Islamists against Assad. Vilayat Khorasan has contact with them."

At the same time, Dugin not only blames the state of Israel but also calls to fight against (as he writes) "representatives of the small people in the Russian elites":

"The Russian big people, united, can take down illegitimate crooks, liars, and thugs of the small people who declared themselves the "elite." "If a very rich person in Russia is non-Russian, this imposes additional obligations on him. He must become a Russian, behave like a Russian, and by all means demonstrate his sincere patriotism in words and deeds. In this way, the Russian domestication of his huge wealth will occur. Otherwise, the very case of a very rich and even non-Russian person will be a direct provocation of an inter-ethnic conflict. These new rules will come into force gradually and imperceptibly, as always with our Ruler. Not yet, not yet, but now you see, that's exactly how it is, and no one noticed when it happened. And then, blame yourself. A very rich man must be highly interested in our Victory, in the state becaming stronger, and the people improving their wellbeing. Then it will be proven that his wealth is given by God. And if not, then, probably, by the devil. Here, another conversation begins."

But, as the Russian sociologist and publicist Igor Eidman points out, given that Dugin has long been providing "ideological support" for the Russian billionaire and sponsor of the "Russian world" Malofeev, "this is like calling upon the authorities to redistribute property from Jewish oligarchs such as Fridman, Aven, Abramovich, Vekselberg, etc., who position themselves as friends of Israel, to orthodox anti-Semitic oligarchs, first of all, Malafeev himself. Plague on both their houses."

Against this background, the recent statement of Patriarch Kirill that "Russian nationalism does not exist in nature, one shouldn’t be afraid of it" looks quite strange.

Mykhailo Mischenko

Deputy Director, Sociological Service

Born in 1962 in Kyiv

Education: Taras Shevchenko Kyiv State University, Faculty of Philosophy (1984). Ph. D in Philosophy


1984 – 1990 — Sociology Department at the Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

1990 – 1998 — Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

1998 – 2003 — Ukrainian Institute of Social Research

February – September 2003 — Kyiv International Institute of Sociology

Since October 2003 — Deputy Director, Razumkov Centre Sociological Service

(044) 201-11-94