Racism and the Travails of Nigerians in Russia

Moscow, Russia.

In this series Nigerianreporter.com has touched on the aspirations of Nigerians in America, the plight of Nigerians in Chinese prisons, the mass exodus of Nigerians to India, and Nigerian successes and frustrations in Australia and Canada.  We have also examined the influx of Nigerians into the land of our previous colonial ruler – England, and the dire life circumstances Nigerian women are forced into in Italy. As we continue the series we look to review the highs and lows of life for Nigerians in Russia.

Africans and Nigerians are struggling to experience a good and quality time in Russia due to the racial behavior of a few indifferent Russian citizens who tend to take the law into their own hands regardless of the presence of their government.

An article about hostility against African blacks in Russia said there had been 177 reported acts of violence against blacks in Russia since 2010, according to the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis. There were actually 177 reported violent acts against blacks since 2008, SOVA officials say, six of which ended in death.

Thousands of Africans have pursued degrees and continue to pursue degrees in the Soviet Union, in fields such as international law and animal husbandry. Some stay after their studies to live and work, while others are contracted to work at universities and on professional sports teams.

In the game of football, there have been rumblings of Nigerian players such as Emmanuel Emenike and Ahmed Musa being racially abused by fans of opposition clubs during a football match between Musa’s CSKA Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg in 2012 and Emenike’s Spartak Moscow and Dynamo Moscow in 2015.

Besides, there have been reports in some section of the media on how some Nigerians have been attacked and killed in Russia without government intervention. And whenever they are lucky to escape death, many are hospitalized for months, forced to pay for their treatment. Nigerians have also allegedly been framed for drug trafficking and been denied a fair trial, some end up losing their lives in Russian prisons, a situation which calls for serious examination of the whole essence of developing a country like Nigeria for the good of the people.

In a published article that first appeared on Nigeriansinamerica.com, Mr. Nworah, a Nigerian living in Russia, revealed the bitter-sweet life that he experienced in Russia.

“We live in fear for our lives every second, either inside our apartments or on the streets. We are attacked by skin-heads on the streets and face police harassment and extortion both on the streets and inside our apartments. Living, working, studying, or visiting Russia now is like taking a gamble with your life. Africans are attacked on a regular basis. And whenever they are lucky to escape death, many are hospitalized for months, forced to pay for their treatments and become invalid for life without any compensation. Many Nigerians that were framed for drug trafficking and denied fair trial have lost their lives in Russian prisons.”

It is time, the present administration, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari devise methods on how to channel the nation’s economy by way of creating a friendly business atmosphere, massive job opportunity, and a better financial scheme for all, in a bid to have valuable impact on Nigerians and decrease emigration.