Friday, 14 May 2010

Russians labeled “intolerant” by new survey

Regardless of your creed or colour, it seems likely that you're going to end up annoying your neighbour at some point.

A recent study has found Russians are still hugely intolerant when it comes to dealing with the people next door.

And while it's hardly surprising that few people would be happy living next door to drug addicts, alcoholics or emotionally unstable people, there are some surprises elsewhere on the list compiled by market researchers Bashkirova and Partners.

Religion seems to be a particular taboo: 31 per cent of respondents said they didn't want Muslim neighbours, 25 per cent weren't keen on Jews and even Christians incurred the wrath of 11 per cent.

And despite Russia's proud claims to be a multinational federation of hundreds of ethnic groupings, there's not a lot of enthusiasm to have them living on your block.

Gypsies (62 per cent), immigrants and foreign workers (46 per cent) and people of a different nationality (25 per cent) all got the thumbs down from significant numbers of the 2,000 people who took part in the survey in seven different regions.

Experts think that it is the fear of the new that scares the people of living with representatives of different nationalities.

"It is a difficult process of mastering anything new, particularly people of other cultures; a cultural shock of the receiving side. It is not a total xenophobia or ethno-phobia, but a transitional period," Igor Kuznetsov, a senior researcher in the Centre for Interethnic Relations of RAN Sociology Institute, told The Moscow News.

And the head of the agency which carried out the research said Russians proved unwilling to deal with anything out of the ordinary.

"Our people turned out to be intolerant and not ready to carry hardships and domestic difficulties connected to any neighbourhood," commented Elena Bashkirova, the head of the agency.

It's not just nationality and faith which can upset the neighbours. Ex-convicts, homosexuals, HIV patients, political extremists on all sides and even families with lots of kids made it on to the hitlist.

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