Portraits of black people in Russia

Via Africa is a country : Russian-Ghanaian photographer Liz Johnson-Artur‘s images illustrates a piece by Sarah Bentley in the latest issue of Nigerian magazine, ARISE, on Russian nationals of mixed Russian and African descent.

The photo above is of Anton. He lived till he was five with his mother and father in Nigeria, when he entered school his parents decided to send him to his grandmother in Russia…his mother returned to Russia a few years later….
He hasn’t been back to Nigeria…he would love to travel….see other places…but Russia he says is my home ……

Those profiled in the Magazine story mostly know each from the ‘black-Russian-Ukranian-Belorussian-Kazakh’ page on Kontakt (Russia’s version of Facebook). The community numbers between 40,000-70,000, the Black Russian community of Kontakt consists of 929 members.

The article notes, according to Russian SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, that a total of 14 people were victims of racist and neo-Nazi attacks in January 2011, three of whom died.

Marie Therese

Marie Therese grew up in France….her parents…father from the Congo….her mother from ST Petersburg …. worked as diplomats….she spend part of her childhood in Cambodia during the reign of Pol Pot…..after finishing two degrees in France … social science and economics….she could not find work in France…. 15 years ago she decided to move to Russia …. she teaches economics at the university and

lives with her 15 cats in a small one bedroom apartment on the outskirts of St Petersburg


Ivan grew up with his gandmother....my mother didnt know what to do with me....me and my granmother where fighting constantly....i was trying to get away from her...but they would allways catch me and bring me back to her....when i served in the army...people where afraid of me...i made sure they did....that was my way of staying save...when i left the army...i spend sometime on the street...doing drugs...and fighting skinheads....but i came out of it allright....beat boxing changed my life....today i have a program on russian MTV....yes life looks better ......


Vladi is from Sevastopol…..a port town in southern Ukraine…..her brother is a member of a Russian hip hop crew…..she is very proud of her mix….you can…find Brazilian….Ukrainian …..and Spanish in me…..she has been to see her grandmother in Brazil….but if she could choose she would love to live in Spain

Two Afro-Russian girls

See more photos and stories at http://lizjohnson-artur.blogspot.com

Because I wrote a few postings about black Russians and Africans who were attacked by skinheads I think I missed the fact that black people also lead normal lives in Russia. Check out the ‘black-Russian-Ukranian-Belorussian-Kazakh’ page on Kontakt (Russia’s version of Facebook) to see some of their public profiles and read some of their interesting stories about living in Russia. 


Photo Book: Afro-Russian  photographer Liz Johnson-Artur Captures Images of Black People in Europe, US and Africa

Black in the USSR: what's life like for a 'Russian of colour'? - New exhibition examines legacy of Soviet Cold War scheme offering Africans free study – and the children they left behind. The Calvert Journal reports - The children of Soviet Africa search for their own identity


  1. Nice article. I love seeing the many shades and cultures of the Diaspora from Russia to China and other unexpected places.

  2. I admire them that they are courageous enough to live in Russia. And I'm a bit surprised that they don't want to move away. I'd go if I was in their place.

  3. Good afternoon


    I am writing to you on behalf of the Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (The Society for Threatened Peoples), a human rights NGO based in Göttingen with advisory status to the UN.

    Six times yearly we publish Pogrom - bedrohte Völker. The upcoming issue concerns people of African descent and the discrimination they face, worldwide. We are looking for a photograph to accompany an article about Afro-Russians. I came upon your photo gallery and post.

    Might we have permission to print one or many of these photos in our magazine? Particularly interesting is the last photo with the two women walking. We would of course credit the photographer.

    Unfortunately photographers and journalists supply us with their work pro bono, but we would be happy to provide you with a copy of the upcoming issue.

    Contact: redaktion@gfbv.de

  4. When it comes to racial make up, Russia sounds better and better all the time.

  5. Look at the works of Jay Sumlin and Dr. Jerry Hobbs "They Were Black" on You Tube.

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