Wednesday, February 5, 2020

North Caucasians Display Racist Attitudes toward Africans

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 30 – People from the North Caucasus are furious when they encounter racist attacks on themselves in Moscow or other Russian cities, “but when they themselves turn to racist arguments, they justify themselves by claiming that they are defending a certain national identity,” according to Zaur Farniyev.

            Unfortunately, cases of that double standard are all too often on public view, the Ossetian journalist says. In recent weeks, the Internet was filled with North Caucasian complaints about an African student dancing with an Ossetian girl and about a Daghestani who married an Ethiopian.

            Fortunately, however, many residents of the North Caucasus are horrified about such intolerance and extremely critical of those who attempt to stand behind claims of a defense of national values to justify racism, Kavkazr journalist Zakir Magomedov reports in an article entitled “The Caucasus for the Caucasians?” (

            Akhmed Yarlykapov, a specialist on the North Caucasus at MGIMO, says that there needs to be a concerted effort to overcome such bigotry. “This is banal racism,” he says. “Alas, it exists in the North Caucasus. To our great regret … The broad spread of Islam which does not divide people by skin color in Daghestan as we see does not help.”

            Irina Starodubrovskaya, a sociologist who specializes on the region, suggests that what is clearly racism is better understood as the reaction of those with little experience of anyone outside their local community. In places where one doesn’t marry outside the extended family, marrying someone who looks very different remains unacceptable.

            That doesn’t excuse such actions, but the nature of these societies must be understood if such attitudes are to be overcome.

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