Accepted paper:

From socialist egalitarianism to postsocialist discrimination: theorizing and implementing race in the new Russia

Authors:

Melissa Caldwell (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

The USSR promoted international socialism through explicit multicultural projects celebrating cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity and tolerance across the socialist world. In post-Soviet Russia, these ideals have been overshadowed by accounts of harassment and physical violence against individuals who are "different," notably persons of color such as Central Asian and African migrants. Although human rights advocates and victims interpret these acts as racially motivated and call for a recommitment to ideals of "tolerance," invocations of "race" and "tolerance" become problematic when there is little agreement about whether "race" correlates with skin color, nationality, citizenship, or class, and when tolerance programs reify the very stereotypes they are meant to unpack. This paper examines encounters between activists and victims as they articulate a theory of race, discrimination, and tolerance in Russia, with particular attention to a set of documents intended to record racially motivated attacks and educate Russian citizens about racial tolerance.

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