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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Journeys of hope: African diaspora and the Soviet society
Author:Matusevich, MaximISNI
Periodical:African Diaspora: a Journal of Transnational Africa in a Global World
Geographic term:Soviet Union
Abstract:African presence in Russia predated the Bolshevik takeover in 1917. The arrival of the new Communist rule enhanced the earlier perceptions of Russia as a society relatively free of racial bias, a place of multiethnic coexistence. As a result dozens of black, mostly Afro-Caribbean and African-American, travellers flocked to the 'Red Mecca' during the first two decades of its existence. The second wave of black migration to the Soviet Union was quantitatively and qualitatively different from the early prewar arrivals. It also took place in the context of the new geopolitical reality of the Cold War. After the 1957 Youth Festival in Moscow, the Soviet Union opened its doors to hundreds, and eventually thousands, of students from the Third World, many of them from Africa. By extending educational scholarships to young Africans, the Soviet Union sought to reaffirm its internationalist credentials and also curry favour with the newly independent African States. If the Soviets had hoped for a major propaganda coup, their hopes were not entirely realized. As a propaganda weapon African students tended to jam and even to backfire. Instead of becoming the symbols of Soviet internationalist effort, they came to symbolise Westernization and 'foreign influences'. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract, edited]