This paper builds on scholarship of welfare chauvinism in Europe to present evidence of the relationship between xenophobia and family leave policies in contemporary Russia. I argue that popular anti-immigrant moods pressure government into providing more generous family benefits to Russian families while proposing restrictions to migrants. Findings are based on elite interviews, as well as content analysis of mass media, policy documents, public speeches, and party manifestos. I show that xenophobia is widespread in Russia among the public and policymakers alike, and find that xenophobia is embraced by policymakers to guide decisions regarding the allocation of social benefits.

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