During the Soviet era, African students were actively encouraged to travel to the Soviet Union for their educations, leading to a number of mixed marriages and African-Russian offspring. One estimate says that there are between 40,000 and 70,000 Russians of full or mixed-African heritage.That distinction has singled many black Russians out for treatment that they say swings between curiosity, at best, and open hostility, at worst.Khanga's grandparents came to the Soviet Union in the 1920s to escape the racism they had endured in the United States as a mixed-race couple.Today, Khanga says Obama's election to the American presidency, and his current visit to Moscow, have special meaning for her.Statistically, Central Asian migrants have become the primary victims of attacks in recent years.But African-Russians and African students remain constant targets as well."He did what my grandmother and grandfather dreamed about in their day," Khanga says.
That is what they dreamed about." Dreams Of Her Grandfather Khanga's grandfather, Oliver Golden, became a member of the Communist Party in the United States after he failed to find work as anything but a waiter despite having a college degree.He soon left for the Soviet Union with his Polish-American wife, Bertha Bialek, in one of the groups of black Americans actively encouraged by Bolshevik leaders to pull up stakes in their capitalist homeland and help build a new society in the USSR.Golden traveled to Uzbekistan to work on cotton cultivation.Khanga says she hopes that Obama's historic rise to become the first African-American president will open doors for blacks in Russia as well."I would like to see us have success in politics or science as well," she says.