Academic journal article European Research Studies

Interethnic Aggression and Extremism in the Rostov Region: Forming Factors in the Conditions of Social Realities of a Multiethnic Region

Academic journal article European Research Studies

Interethnic Aggression and Extremism in the Rostov Region: Forming Factors in the Conditions of Social Realities of a Multiethnic Region

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

During the periods of transformations, periodically arising in development of any society, with which essential deformations of people's living conditions and way of life, vacuum of values, ambiguity of vital prospects and inevitable aggravation of contradictions are connected, extremism becomes one of the most difficult to root out and the most dangerous characteristics of social being. Acting as an extreme form of intolerance, extremism is connected to aggression and violence as intransigence expression methods.

The supporters of extreme views seek to avoid assessing the complexity of economic, political, social, cultural, environmental, and other problems of society, try to find for themselves simplified, prompt solutions consisting in appealing to primitive instincts of crowd, feelings, beliefs and prejudices. In their destructive activity, extremists speculate on those questions which stand most sharply in mass consciousness of the population of a region or a country. In the states with multinational culture, including Russia, the appeal to ethnicity becomes one of the main ideas of manipulation from radical groups. In the situation of economic crisis, migration growth, existence of contradictory poorly controlled information stream and lack of clear national policy, the active use of the ethnic resource for stirring interethnic aggression and dissention becomes one of the main threats to the national security of the country.

This problem gains special sharpness in multiethnic regions. These include the Rostov Region, too. For historical reasons, the region as an administrative- territorial unit, as the subject of the Russian Federation, despite the numerical prevalence of the Russians--according to the last Russian population census, their share was 87% (Territorial Body of the Federal State Statistics Service for the Rostov Region, n.d.), has specifics of a multicultural region: the ethnic composition of the subject includes more than 150 ethnic groups. The results of regional social surveys show that in general by estimates of the inhabitants of the region, the tension in the sphere of interethnic interactions has slightly decreased in recent years (Volkov et al., 2016). At the same time, the relations between ethnic groups are still far from being absolutely tolerant: according to the polls, it can be said that there is some distancing of ethnic groups in the course of daily communication. Moreover, on average, about two thirds of the population of the region (Barkov et al., 2015) feel animosity with different degree of frequency to individuals of another ethnicity. All this indicates the existence of latent tension in the sphere of ethnic interaction, which in case of occurrence of crisis situations or appearance of radical opinion leaders can provoke crimes of extremist character.

The experts' opinions of this problem are also unfavorable. The results of a series of the expert interviews conducted by specialists of the Institute of Sociology and Regional Studies of the Southern Federal University show that the problems in the field of interethnic relations in the region exist and are urgent today: "In general, the interethnic relations are stable, but there is an increase in tension and polarization in moods and public opinion, and with differentiation by districts". Moreover, among the reasons for which the latent protest potential of the population of the region can be mainstreamed, as the results of interviewing show, ethnic tension takes the leading position: "Mass protest actions can be only on interethnic relations grounds. The household conflicts--fights, showdown, and intolerant behavior--can become a reason for similar disorders"; "The basic problem which captured both Rostov-on-Don and the Rostov Region is interethnic conflicts. This problem will not be resolved in the nearest future and will drag on for many years. In many respects, it acts as the only one capable to bring the youth to the streets" (Serikov, 2013a). …

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