Afro-Russians (Russian: афророссияне, also called "негры"—"negry", "black people") are Blacks, including Black people who have settled in Russia and their mixed-race children. The Metis Foundation estimates that there are about 40,000 Afro-Russians.
There are very few recorded instances of Black Africans settling down in the Russian Empire. A notable member of this small group is Abram Petrovich Gannibal, an African slave emancipated and adopted by Peter the Great, given education, raised to nobility, and served in both civil and military capacities. He is also a grandfather to the famed Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.
After the revolution several Black African and mixed-race families came to the Soviet Union under the auspices of the Comintern. They were chiefly specialists in the spheres of industrial production and agriculture. The technical equipment, modest means, and professional experience brought by them were an appreciable contribution to economic development of a new state. Among them were Oliver John Golden and his wife Bertha (he brought with him a group of 16 Afro-American experts in the cultivation of cotton), well-known African-American poet Langston Hughes with a group of 22 filmmakers, Paul Robeson with his family and many others. Some of them stayed in Russia and their descendants still live there.
When African nations gained independence from colonialism, the Soviet Union offered scholarships to young people from these nations. About 400,000 Africans studied in the former Soviet Union between the late 1950s and 1990. The first significant arrival of Africans was for the 6th World Festival of Youth and Students held in Moscow in 1957. Many Africans also attended the Patrice Lumumba University. Hence colloquial terms for Afro-Russians born in the 1950s and 1960s are "Children of the Festival" (ru) or "Children of Lumumba". Some of these children subsequently returned to their African parents' countries or moved on to Western Europe or in the case of Jewish Afro-Russians to Israel.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union racism and xenophobic sentiments have increased in the modern Russian state, particularly due to mass emigration and falling birth rates amongst Slavic Russians. Afro-Russians are subjected to threats and violence on the part of ultra-nationalists and white power skinheads. After the 1990s, there have also been new residents including professional athletes of Black African descent including African Americans and Afro-Brazilians playing for Russian sports teams.