Vladimir Shlapentokh, a professor of sociology at Michigan State University, writing in the New York Times:
Xenophobia exists in all societies, past and present. It goes back to the socio-biological nature of human beings and the distinction of “ours” and “others” in the human psyche.
Aggressive xenophobia, however, with its open declaration of hatred, discrimination against and physical persecution of “others,” is a purely social phenomenon. It is almost always, in my opinion, a product of policies shaped by a ruling elite in order to acquire and preserve political and economic power.
The case of anti-Americanism in contemporary Russia is a perfect illustration.