Moira Calveley and Graham Hollinshead Introduction Consideration of the Russian case potentially offers unique insights into the field of diversity as the country’s population, estimated at 141 million (CIA, 2008) combines and juxtaposes strong Asian as well as European influences (Domsch and Lidokhover, 2007b). Yet, throughout the period of communist rule, the protective and authoritarian blanket of state socialism provided little scope for the assertion of individual or ethnic identity. As Antonova (2005, p. 47) argues, in the Soviet era ‘ethnic or national peculiarities were presented within the U.S.S.R. through presenting national costumes, ethnic food and pointing out the unity of the “fifteen republics–fifteen sisters” within the Soviet Union’. Thus the Soviet doctrine of ‘internationalism’ presumed the supremacy of communist ideology and the domination of ‘official’ Russian culture. Similarly, an idealised notion of women’s role permeated Soviet value systems, epitomised by International Women’s Day on 8 March, on which Russian men heap flowers, chocolates and perfume on wives and girlfriends (Blagov, 2000). Soviet propaganda was used to highlight the supposed equality of the sexes, the first Soviet female cosmonaut,Valentina Tereshkova, being perceived as a role model, and women with more than five children praised as ‘mother heroes’ (ibid.). As Gerasimova (2006) states, discrimination is endemic in Russian society and employment on the grounds of gender, age, pregnancy, child-rearing, trade union activity and residence, and against migrant workers. Despite the formal prohibition of discrimination in the constitution and the Labour Code, it persists due to problems of legal enforcement,...
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