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SPP 397

Author: James L. Gibson and Marc Morjé Howard
Description: Throughout Russian history Jews have often been blamed when turmoil has arisen. It is surprising that Russian politics in the 1990s focused so little on Jews as a source of the political and economic crises afflicting the country. In this paper, we investigate anti-Jewish attitudes over time and cross-sectionally in Russia, carefully scrutinizing the hypothesis that perceptions of economic, social, and political upheaval activate latent authoritarianism as anti-Semitism. We find little if any support for the hypothesis and therefore argue that scapegoat theory, as currently constituted, is too simplistic to be useful. Russian Jews were not widely victimized in the 1990s because anti-Semitic beliefs were not widespread enough to be mobilized successfully in electoral politics.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland