Back to Index

RUSSIA: Muslims

From Moscow, Cameron Sawyer writes: "Concerning Muslims in Russia -- Russia is an old-fashioned place with old-fashioned ethnic prejudice, readily expressed (none of your political correctness here), but there is practically no prejudice against Muslims on the basis of their religion. Russia is very different from Western Europe in this -- Russia is a highly diverse multiethnic society. Descent from the Tatar princes was one of the most prestigious bloodlines for the old Russian aristocracy (Vladimir Nabokov's great noble family has Tatar and German roots, and the name is Tatar). More evident is prejudice on the basis of color -- Caucasians are slightly swarthy and are regarded with mistrust by many Russians, and there are a number of rude names for them. But Caucasians can be of any religion, and in fact are predominantly Christian -- The Armenians and Georgians are Christians.

There are probably a million or more Muslims in Moscow (Tatars, Dagestanis, Bashkyrians, Ingush, as well as Chechens, who are not the largest group), and I have not heard anyone say that "there is no place for them". They occupy many high positions in government and society".

RH: When will the Orthodox get over their prejudice against Catholics? Has anti-Semitism disappeared?

Ronald Hilton - 2/23/03