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Born to Soviet diplomats in the Republic of Congo, Natasha spent her formative years in Africa, speaking French better than Russian.
She says that being married to David, a Nigerian former professional soccer player, is normal for her and her parents.“Mixed” or “international” marriages are not uncommon in today’s Russia, but they are still far from the norm.
He was also Chechen—“all solid disadvantages,” he says.
Negative stereotypes, combined with two bloody separatist wars in Chechnya, led many Russians to view Chechens as uncultured and aggressive.
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When David first came to Moscow 10 years ago, he stood out like a sore thumb. On public transportation, other passengers avoided sitting next to him. Many accused him of marrying his wife Natasha for financial reasons.
According to data from SOVA Center, an anti-extremism monitoring organization, blacks are the third most targeted group in Russia after Central Asians and people from the Caucasus — a remarkable statistic, given the African diaspora’s small numbers in Russia.Nor is the problem simply the novelty of mixed marriages.The Soviet Union, a country with hundreds of ethnicities, also had mixed couples.On the whole, Moscow has little problem with interracial relationships, Vladimir says.
However, most Koreans and Armenians tend to favor marrying within their own group. My family is religious, and they were a bit concerned that Vladimir’s family is not baptised,” Gayane, 28, says.
It can also be the factor that helps to unite people from different backgrounds. In 2014, Vladimir was surfing Russian social network site VKontakte when he came across a girl named Anna Kim. Anna Kim was actually the alias of Gayane Khachtryan.