Is there increase in discrimination or intolerance towards ethnic Russians since the beginning of the military conflict in Ukraine? I am particularly interested in the data on Eastern Europe (former USSR and former Soviet satellites), where, for historical reasons, the dislike of "Russians" might go back decades or even centuries.

Clarification: I am asking about the discrimination based on ethnicity/language/cultural background, i.e., not associated with the Russian citizenship or the position on the conflict in Ukraine.

Background: Perhaps it is worth mentioning that the number of ethnic Russians not living in Russia is estimated to be 20-30 millions (about fifth of the total number of Russians in the world.) The question is mainly about this group (not about whether measures applied to Russian citizens or Russia supporters are qualified as Russophobia.)

More background
The following article outlines what might constitute discrimination: Following Ukraine Invasion, Russian-American Workers Are Being Harassed

"If the employer does wish to make a more forceful denunciation, the employer should limit it to denouncing the decision of Vladimir Putin to attack a sovereign nation—as opposed to using language like 'Russians attacking'—and indicate that the employer supports all those fighting and protesting the invasion," she added.

"It is one thing to condemn the Russian government or Putin. It is another thing to make disparaging comments about the Russians as a people," said Jonathan Segal, an attorney with Duane Morris in Philadelphia and New York City. "The former is appropriate and acceptable. The latter is unacceptable and harassing," even if it isn't severe and pervasive enough to be unlawful harassment.

  • Since there is no entity keeping track of who the ethnic Russians are, there is no possible way to answer this question as it is asked. You may want to rephrase this as being about citizens of the Russian Federation, but I suspect that is not what you are interested in. In fact, based on the "clarification" section of the question, I am almost certain of it.
    – wrod
    Aug 18 at 14:22
  • Given that the poor drivers of trucks with Russian plates that transported goods between Russia and EU found their trucks damaged in Poland overnight … Wires cut, hoses cut, tyres cut … The answer is, basically, yes, for everything of yours that has "RU" attached to it, whether it's your passport, your car, your truck, or your language, regardless of what you think about Ukraine. Sep 22 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


Yes, basically. To exemplify with Poland, as reported in April:

Over fifty cases of discrimination were reported to the Center for Monitoring Racist and Xenophobic Behavior in Warsaw, its head Konrad Dulkowski told Kafkadesk. This marks a drastic increase compared to the pre-war period, and is likely to be much higher in reality considering all the unreported cases.

(Personally, I would have been amazed if this didn't happen, judging from past wars. Such data/events are not restricted to Eastern Europe; they've also been reported in Germany, Israel, or Canada for instance.)

I suppose (reading another answer) a point of contention may be whether a sign like "we don't serve Russians" (in a shop--mentioned in that piece) or whether someone running Russian language lessons getting "murderers" yelled at them (for Bucha) can be easily ascribed to ethnicity vs citizenship discrimination. I think human rights organizations (NGOs or state-run) just don't find desirable to try to further sub-classify incidents based on such finer-grained criteria. So, it may not be exactly possible to answer the question as asked with "hard stats".

Also/aside, there's some variation in how various EU countries treat nationality in harassment/discrimination laws (p. 75).

several Member States have included nationality as an expressly protected ground in national anti-discrimination law, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and the United Kingdom.

(Also Ireland and Sweden, apparently.) As noted there, in some [other] EU countries, nationality based discrimination is only more narrowly prohibited e.g. for workers, but not necessarily for customers. So I suspect that would also affect at least how the official statistics on such issues are gathered. Poland, specifically, seems to fall in that latter category, as far as its laws go. The Center mentioned in the earlier quote is actually an NGO, not a Polish gov't org.


Citizens of Russian Federation, drivers whose cars bear Russian license plates, companies seated in Russia and similar face increasing disregard and official sanctions. This is because citizens are seen as responsible for the actions of the democratically elected government, with the war being run under they name and representing they interests. The opinion is mounting that citizens of Russian Federation support Putin and invasion (source) so they are responsible (source). Among other things, people attempting anti-war postings get actively reported by ordinary people who see them. As it is said here, “You cannot abstain from this war. If you want to abstain, don’t complain that you are being kicked out."

This is very different from the Soviet way of thinking along "we are small people, we have no control over that government, it will be sh..ty regardless how do we vote, we even do not know the truth and will never do". May even be true but Western world does not think so.

More than 120 ethnic groups, speaking some 100 languages live within Russia's borders. 30,000 of Black live in Russia. These 120 groups all share the same grave treatment with no exceptions. Sources claiming that ethnic Russians are treated differently from others invariably mix citizenship with ethnic origin. Most often either "Russian citizens" are mentioned in the beginning of the article and then "Russians" are used dowstream or the word "national" is used and you need to google separately to figure out what it is.

I found no notable (statistical) references confirming that Russians are discriminated by exactly they ethnic origin in notable numbers. One guy in Lithuania posted hate speech against ethnic Russians in public media and earned immediately a jail sentence. And a local Russian guy who also attempted a hate crime faces the same and now wears an ankle monitor. So two references, but both have been dealt with by the state that does not tolerate. These cases are clearly not in thousands or hundreds.

Keeping local ethnic Russians and Russian Federation far separately in the brain was the first lesson all Baltic states needed to learn for getting into EU. Nobody would have accepted them with ethnic clashes running. They managed to stand in 1991 under tremendous pressure. They are unlikely to fail now.

  • 2
    citizens are seen as responsible for the actions of the democratically elected government - this perhaps requires a clarification, since many people and governments hold opinion that Russia is an authoritarian state Aug 19 at 7:45
  • I have copied the same two references from another questions (about visas). I hope a citizen should be able to shake most of the disregard by simply saying they are strictly against the invasion and get free kebab (do not remember from which national). I cannot find that source any longer, be it my opinion.
    – Stančikas
    Aug 19 at 8:41
  • 1
    Individual stories, are easy to find, especially in English areas which do put these in the news time.com/6156582/ukraine-anti-russian-hate I did't put 20 links like that in my answer because it asks whether was an increase and in Eastern Europe. You can disagree with the judgement(s) of the Polish NGO or German authorities whether “We don’t serve Russians” in a pub refers to ethnicity or nationality, but claming there's zero evidence to be found just leaves me speachless.
    – Fizz
    Aug 19 at 16:42
  • 1
    dw.com/en/… "Narina Karitzky founded a Russian-language school in the nearby city of Bonn in 2011. "The other day my colleague got a call from a gentleman who lives somewhere near the school, who said we were a disgrace to the whole street. 'You murderers,' he yelled into the phone," she said." Does it matter if the guy yelling that didn't ask for Narina's passport first, to make sure she's a Russian citizen?
    – Fizz
    Aug 19 at 17:03

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