Home    Number 5, 2022

Othering in Runet in the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic

[Ochuzhdenie i ochuzhdaemye v Runete v pervuiu “volnu” pandemii COVID-19]

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541522050104


Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 14.03.2022

Accepted: 19.07.2022

About author(s)

Natalia Kryukova | https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5247-1822 | nkryu@mail.ru | Russian State University for the Humanities (Miusskaya sq. 6, GSP-3, Moscow, 125047, Russia) | Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (32a Leninsky prospekt, Moscow, 119991, Russia)

Yulia Adam | http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3839-8360 | yulia.adam@iea.ras.ru | Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences (32-a Leninsky prospect, Moscow, 119991, Russia)


othering, behavior, stigmatization, parochialism, us and them, Moscow, Muscovites, COVID-19


The article examines the issue of othering in the Russian context during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing on the study of internet communications, mass media, and interviews. We have analyzed over 4000 text messages in various social and media networks of the Russian part of the internet, spanning the period from February 1, 2020, through June 2, 2021. The analysis showed that Muscovites were among the most deeply othered groups during the period as they were spoken of as contagious and therefore posing a danger. This may be seen as validating the basics of the theory of parochial altruism asserting that situations of existential danger foster prosocial behavior, at the same time raising the level of hostility towards the others, especially when the presence of the others is perceived as a threat to security. This also leads to the amplification of various stereotypes and markers, and it can be argued that politicians and administrative officials have significant influence on the ways in which phenomena of othering, labeling, categorization, and stigmatization proliferate.

Funding Information

This research was supported by the following institutions and grants: Russian Foundation for Humanities, https://doi.org/10.13039/100009094 [20-04-60186]


Kryukova, N.V., and Y.I. Adam. 2022. Ochuzhdenie i ochuzhdaemye v Runete v pervuiu “volnu” pandemii COVID-19 [Othering in Runet in the First Wave of the COVID -19 Pandemic]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 5: 187–210. https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541522050104 EDN: IBEBMI

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