Polls point to fears among many of Russia's 142 million people of an uncontrolled influx of migrants eager to snatch up jobs and wildly tilt the country's demographics in favor of the newcomers.
Vyacheslav Postavnin, a former deputy director of Russia's Federal Migration Service who now heads the 21st Century Migration Fund, a Moscow-based think tank, compares it to the storied Mongol invasion of the 13th century that was followed by Islamization and the settling of former nomads in what is now southern Russia.
Bastion - Construction - Orthodox - Churches - Postavnin
"The last bastion is the quick construction of Orthodox churches," Postavnin says of ethnic Russians' mistrust of the cultural and religious implications of immigration, "because the number of adherents of Islam is growing."
Four-fifths of Russians say the Kremlin "must limit" the flow of migrants, and two-fifths believe migrants should live in "specially assigned areas," according to a survey last year by state-run pollster VTsIOM.
Russians - Feels - Irritation - Dislike - Fear
And more than one in four Russians feels "irritation, dislike, or fear" specifically toward Central Asians, according to a more recent survey by independent pollster Levada.
In its recent Revision Of World Urbanization Prospects report, the United Nations predicted that the current decline in Russia's rural population would accelerate in the coming decades, from nearly 37...
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