Before I get into what it’s like being a black person traveling in Russia, I should let you know that this post is actually part of a longer post on my blog called Being a Black Traveler in Eastern Europe and Slavic Europe by Country.
That is why this summary of my experience as a black traveler in Russia is not so long. So check out the whole Eastern Europe post when you are done.
Disclaimer: I am a tall, thin, make-up wearing, American passport-wielding girl that dresses in mostly dresses, cute skirts and other fashionable clothing. I am sure that all factors into how I am “received” in some countries. As you read my experiences, keep that in mind that my gender and my nationality, I am sure, can sometimes play a part in how I am treated.
Okay, so what is it like being a black girl traveling in Russia?
I had heard an occasional story or two from friends living in Russia about black people, black men in particular, being profiled by police in major cities. But I had no such experience in Russia and I enjoyed it so much in the brief time I was in Moscow. I do think being a girl and dressing the way I dress made me a non-threat to any potential profiling behavior.
Russian people do not smile so much in public, so you might think they are intimidating or cold. But the second you ask them for directions or help, they are so nice and will crack a bashful smile. Try to speak some words in Russian and you will for sure get surprised laughs and smiles.
In many Eastern European countries, I get stared at A LOT. But I did not get as many stares in Russia. I think it’s because Russia has a slim African immigrant population, while most Eastern European and Slavic countries do not, so it was not as shocking for them to see a black person. I saw six or seven black people in the short time I was in Moscow. That’s more than I see in a month in most Slavic countries!
Click here to go back to my series on being a black traveler in Eastern Europe and slavic countries.