10 January 2011

Nigeria with Snow

Sergey Brin, Google's American cofounder and Russian emigrant, once said that Russia was "Nigeria with snow."

I had dinner with a Nigerian man yesterday.  He lives in Moscow now.  He covered many topics a wide-ranging conversation, including government corruption and rich Nigerian's ostentatious purchasing habits.  The behavior that he was describing was familiar on many fronts and very reminiscent of the behavior of the "New Russians" that I have heard so much about and have observed on occasion.

I then told him about the Sergey Brin quote.  He laughed loudly and shook my hand in a sign of camaraderie.  Much to my dismay, he agreed with Mr. Brin.

He also told me about being Black in Russia.  He gets stopped frequently so that people can take pictures with him, as it was the case only three days ago.  Ofen, he is referred to as a "monkey" by no less than the police.  This is insanely shameful, especially given that Moscow is a major cosmopolitan world city.

Serving in the Russian Army


  1. Remarkably sad story. For much of what you have written of late, I think "not so different from the USA", but at least to me, this note makes it appear Russia must be 50 years behind in terms of race relations. Black Americans may disagree.


  2. Alas, police in Russia is a very low-pay job, and, historically, are mostly despised by the common people. So its attracts not the brightest folk and politeness and good manners should not be expected from them.

    But I think that Lynn's comment is unfair. 50 years behind US in racial relations? That means we had our murdering of Emmet Till 6 years ago. That means we still must have operating analogue of KKK with the long list of victims. That means we must have disproportional rate of racial minorities incancerated or executed (wait, its the case for US even today, not just 50 years ago).