Multiculturalism and Immigration In Post-Soviet Russia
This paper addresses issues concerning multiculturalism in post-Soviet Russia. These include: the ethnic composition of Russia; the ethnic composition of its immigrant population; and the mutual adaptation of immigrants and members of the larger (host) society. Russia is one of the most multicultural societies in the world, with large populations of 194 different cultural origins. Russia is also second in the world in terms of its immigrant population, with most coming from the Central Asian States (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan) and China. This paper describes the current cultural and immigrant diversity in Russia, and provides an empirical examination of the social and psychological issues that immigrants and the larger society must face. The research example focuses on Moscow as a highly multicultural metropolis and the most attractive destination for immigrant workers. The paper presents the findings of an empirical study based on the “Mutual Intercultural Relations in Plural Societies” project (Berry (2006) that examines. the reciprocal acculturation and intercultural relations between immigrants and members of the larger society (N=1075). The study examines the relevance of three hypotheses for improving intercultural relations: the multiculturalism hypothesis; the integration hypothesis; and contact hypothesis (Berry, 2012) which are all derived from the Canadian multiculturalism policy. Data processing was carried out using structural equation modeling (SEM) with the data of migrants and the host population analyzed separately and then compared with each other. The results showed that the combined measures of security, perceived discrimination, and acculturation strategies and expectations all have a significant impact on immigrants and the host society members’ perceptions of life satisfaction, ethnic tolerance and their mutual attitudes. The results support all three hypotheses in both groups (immigrants and host society). The authors concluded that the efforts to improve relations between the host society and immigrants should be directed at enhancing the host society’s basic sense of security and developing programs that increase multicultural attitudes, ethno-cultural competence and tolerance among the host society as well as among immigrants. These improvements may be achieved using intercultural communication training, which promotes better adaptation and helps improve intercultural relations.