Black in the USSR: what’s life like for a Russian of colour?
Photograph Johnson Artur is one of a small population of “Russians of colour” born to Russian mothers and African or Caribbean fathers who were offered free university education in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Alongside journalist Sarah Bentley, she decided to document the stories of some of the 40,000 other “Russians of colour”
Most of the black Russians she met in Moscow and St Petersburg had grown up without their fathers, but agreed that they felt Russian as well as African and often describe themselves as “Afro-Russians”.
Their presence in Russia is a reminder of a time when Soviet state internationalism and support for anti-colonial movements meant more neutral attitudes towards race, although today Russia struggles with a reputation for racism.
Prejudice and confusion are still strong in Russia today and they often have to justify on a daily basis the fact that they are Russians too.
To read the portraits by photograph Johnson Artur and journalist Sarah Bentley, see here.
"Il devient absolument urgent de mettre un terme à cette injustice. Il y a un manque de connaissances et de recherches. Il faut donc promouvoir le recueil de témoignages, mais aussi construire des mémoriaux, organiser des expositions..." - @BenjaminAbtan