|Regions with significant populations|
|Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Oryol, Lipetsk, Astrakhan|
|Russian · Abkhaz · Niger–Congo languages · Nilo-Saharan languages · English · French|
Afro-Russians are people of Black African descent, or those who are perceived to be dark-skinned compared to other given populations that have migrated to and settled in Russia. The Metis Foundation estimates that there are about 40,000 Afro-Russians.
Representatives of African peoples in the Russian language are commonly called “negry”. The word "negr" comes from the Spanish: negro through other European languages (German: Neger, French: nègre). Although in the Russian language this word, unlike English: negro, and especially the derogatory English: nigger, does not carry a negative connotation (as evidenced by the presence of the word in many authoritative Russian dictionaries), in recent years, however, people have avoided using this term.
There are very few recorded instances of black Africans settling down in the Russian Empire. A notable member of this small group is Abram Petrovich Gannibal: an African emancipated and adopted by Peter the Great, given education, raised to nobility, and served in both civil and military capacities. He is also a great-grandfather on the maternal side to the famed Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.
After the revolution several black African families came to the Soviet Union under the auspices of the Comintern. They were chiefly specialists in the spheres of industrial production and agriculture. The technical equipment, modest means, and professional experience brought by them were an appreciable contribution to economic development of a new state. Among them were Oliver John Golden and his wife Bertha Bialek (he brought with him a group of 16 Afro-American experts in the cultivation of cotton), well-known African-American poet Langston Hughes with a group of 22 filmmakers, Paul Robeson with his family and many others. Some of them stayed in Russia and their descendants still live there.
When African nations gained independence from colonialism, the Soviet Union offered scholarships to young people from these nations. About 400,000 Africans studied in the former Soviet Union between the late 1950s and 1990. The first significant arrival of Africans was for the 6th World Festival of Youth and Students held in Moscow in 1957. Many Africans also attended the Patrice Lumumba University.
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