During the glory days of the Soviet Union, its leaders proclaimed living in a communist society meant those of different ethnic or racial origins could live in safety and equality. Today, thousands of workers have come from Asian areas of the old Soviet Union only to encounter a deep and bitter hatred in Russia towards those whose skin is dark or whose origin is from Asian areas. A high percent of maintenance workers in Moscow are migrants and they are being harassed and abused by racists. Almost daily, street cleaners paint over racist graffiti on apartment buildings. The rape and strangling of a girl has been attributed to an Uzbek immigrant which has unleashed an outburst of racial hatred against anyone of an Asian background. According to Olga Llabuticheva, “every night, new racist slogans appear on the walls of building. We paint them over, but people are afraid for their lives.” Many immigrants are quitting their jobs and leaving Moscow.
Members of the ultranationalist Movement Against Illegal Immigration have been holding demonstrations and threatening people of Asian background. Earlier this month the pro-Kremlin youth group, Young Guard, picketed offices of the Migration Service insisting on an end to migration of people from Asian areas of the old Soviet Union. Racism and hatred towards dark skinned people are part of the modern Russian experience.