Mark Teeter, writing in the Moscow Times, raises questions as to whether Barack Obama would ever get elected to any high position if he was running for public office in Russia. Although Russian commentators tend to prefer him over Senator John McCain, Mr. Teeter does not believe the typical Russian citizen would welcome someone who is black skinned. Although, there is no statistical evidence to prove Russians are prejudiced against those whose skin is not white, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence of widespread Russian dislike of dark skinned people. Teeter recalls a conversation with a Russian student back in the seventies, who said, “in principle, we’re internationalists, but when you get down to it, white people really ought to stick together.”
During his years in Russia, Teeter has continually encountered Russian feeling that minorities should be kept in place and not allowed unlimited freedom. Certainly, this is the feeling encountered by dark skinned Russians from Asian or southern regions who decide to live in Moscow or other northern Russian cities. The Soviet dream of a united working class throughout the world never helped African students studying in Moscow who constantly wee derided and treated with scorn by the average Russian citizen.
Russia is a nation of diverse people who have diverse skin colors. Perhaps, the election of a Barack Obama can be a model for Russians to follow in dealing with their own bigotry against those with dark skins.