Analysis & Opinions - Inkstick

Nuclear Shades of Red Racism

| Sep. 24, 2020

We are two women born at opposite ends of the vast Soviet empire. This is our story.

Discussions of racial injustice in the United States are shaking the public sphere. Much of the onus in these discussions is on the white West as the locus and perpetrator of racism, especially on the United States with its lingering legacy of slavery. But racism, injustice, and discrimination are not prerogatives of the West. They ride on the back of power disparities the world over.

Often overlooked by academics and activists have been the racial dynamics in the Soviet Union. Embedded in the broader hierarchy that had ordered its 200 plus nationalities, these dynamics are still playing out in the post-Soviet space. The reasons behind the omission might be multiple: the hangover from Soviet propaganda, which proudly insisted that racism — and other Western 'vices' like homosexuality — simply did not exist in the socialist paradise, the Soviet mobilization of the anti-colonial cause in the developing world, or the tendency of racism's harshest critics on the left to treat the Soviet Union more charitably than other oppressive regimes.

The most nefarious feature of Soviet — and post-Soviet — racism lies in its denial....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Budjeryn, Mariana and Togzhan Kassenova.“ Nuclear Shades of Red Racism.” Inkstick, September 24, 2020.

The Authors