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Centre of Migration Research

Zuzanna Brunarska, Wiktor Soral. 2022.

Does Origin Matter? Ethnic Group Position and Attitudes Toward Immigrants: The Case of Russia


Nationalities Papers



This article analyzes the relationship between the relative position of an ethnic group, as measured by its majority/minority status at a subnational level, and attitudes of its members toward immigrants of different origins. Based on the Russian case, it addresses the question whether the effects of in-group majority status within a region on attitudes toward the general category of immigrants hold regardless of out-group origin and, if not, what may drive this variation. Using data from the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of the Higher School of Economics and Bayesian hierarchical structural equation modeling, the study demonstrates that the relative position of an ethnic in-group is of varying importance as a predictor of attitudes toward migrant groups of European versus non-European origin in Russia. A group’s majority status within a region proved to play a role in predicting attitudes toward migrants originating from the “south” (encompassing North and South Caucasus; Central Asia; and China, Vietnam, and Korea) but not toward migrants coming from the “west” (Ukraine and Moldova). We draw on arguments related to the source and the level of threat induced by the out-groups, ethnic hierarchies, and group cues to explain this pattern of results.


attitudes toward immigrants, group position, majority status, origin, Russia