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"Black Russians" redirects here. For a cocktail, see Black Russian.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Oryol, Lipetsk, Astrakhan
Russian · Niger–Congo languages · Nilo-Saharan languages · English · French
Christianity, Islam

Afro-Russians (Russian: афророссияне) are Black people, including Black people who have settled in Russia and their mixed-race children. The Metis Foundation estimates that there are about 40,000 Afro-Russians.[2]

During the Russian Empire[edit]

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.

Early Soviet period[edit]

After the revolution several Black African and mixed-race 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 (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.

Post War, The Festival Children[edit]

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.[3] 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. Hence colloquial terms for Afro-Russians born in the 1950s and 1960s are "Children of the Festival" (ru) or "Children of Lumumba". Some of these children subsequently returned to their African parents' countries or moved on to Western Europe or in the case of Jewish Afro-Russians to Israel.

Notable Afro-Russians[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Flynn, Kevin (August 26, 2009). "Russia’s Black Community". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-02-25.
  2. ^ Gribanova, Lyubov "Дети-метисы в России: свои среди чужих" (in Russian). Nashi Deti Project. Retrieved 2010-02-25.
  3. ^ Lily Golden & Lily Dixon "TV project «Black Russians»". Africana Project. Retrieved 2010-02-25.
  4. ^ Wrigley, Matt (July 9, 2006). "Abandoned in Moscow, enrolled in the Red Army and finally crowned as a king". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-02-25.

External links[edit]

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