Soviet Racial Tolerance

soviet passport

In Soviet Russia everyone had to have a passport. And everybody had to state his race in the passport.

If you were Russian (slavic) you had to write “Russian”, but if you were Jewish or Polish you had to write “Jew” or “Polish”.

All people had Soviet Union citizenship but the additional, racial field “nationality” was obligatory to fill. And you couldn’t say yourself who you are – you had to prove it showing your birth certificate where the nationalities of your parents also had to be stated. You could only choose from those two.

On the pic above you can see photo of this page in old Soviet passport, in the field nationality there is written… “negro”.

In the beginning of 90s this field was taken off from the new Russian passports. But what that’s middle of 90s. Just 15 years ago.

38 thoughts on “Soviet Racial Tolerance”

      • Who cares how it sounds? in russia negro or negr or neeger or whatever you can come up with is not offensive to black people the same way as american would say it. there are other words ofcourse but not those. that’s why when russian says negro he did not mean to offend nobody.

  1. It’s PC gone mad. It the whole centre-left wing media and goverment that force this nonsense down our throats. And anyone who disagrees is ripped apart.

    It’s an uphill battle for a right-winger unfortunately. (By the way, I don’t want to start a political debate here, each to their own political beliefs)

  2. This is one of the reasons why the USSR collasped. Every one had thier own “identity” rather than there being just on identity.

    • I don’t mean to offend anyone, but it’s kind of hard to imagine anyone black living in Russia (except Moscow or St.Petersburg), especially during the Soviet times, considering how racist Russians are.

      • Well, it all depends. in the USSR there was very little or nothing at all of racism but pretty strong xenophobia existed. I tend to recognize the difference. it’s always been like that in Russia.
        in nowdays russia is developing real racisim more and more that’s obvious. You gotta have a real good excuse to call all Russians racists.

  3. And by the way, Sovier Russia was pretty tolerant of all cultures and races at one point (save for the banishment of Jews by Stalin, hehe)

  4. If in your head to write etnicity/nationality/race on a passport is ok, you are out of your minds. What’s next, sexual preferences? In the eyes of gov. you should be russian and that’s it.
    But is not only a russian problem. In Greece on the ID until recently (maybe even nowdays) was written the religion. Now, that’s really f-ed up, and is a so called free country, member of EU.

  5. Previous commentors already said,that “negr” has no offensive meaning in Russian. I would like to add, that nationality field in Russian password is optional. Though most of Russian dont care about that content, other nationalities like tatars or bashkirs want to have nationality in the password.

  6. Here in Latvia “Nationality” (Tautiba) is still used and can sometimes be a problem for non-Latvians. My brother ( Australian) had to fill out a form for temporary residency – Under Nationalty he wrote “Australian” – lady said he couldnt be Australian as he wasnt Aboriginal!! So then she made him write “Dutch” as my parents originally came from Holland.

    I understand the concept and what they are trying to ask but it really has no point being on passport/forms. It seems to be there only for statistic gathering.

  7. Statements like this create segregation between people of one nation. In Hitlers Germany everybody with ‘jew’ in their passport had to wear a yellow star, etc etc. A passport should be an ID, it’s main purpose is to prove who you are. In the hands of a police state a passport can turn into a potential instrument of oppression, like Hitlers germany.

    Nationalism is the last resort for those people who find nothing in themselves to be proud of. To be Russian or Jewish or black or whatever is not an accomplishment IMO.

  8. In the US it’s against the law for anyone to demand to know your race… EXCEPT for the government. They almost always ask “for statistical reasons”.

    I understand arguments both for and against this.

  9. can someone write what is written below “negr” ??? as for my knowledge of russian i can’t read it, but it starts with “Otd…”

  10. A problem with this sort of ‘Nationality’ thing is for example Jews.

    Many, well almost all, Jews feel that they are a citizen of the state that they live in. However, when nationality (ethnicity, basically) comes into it things can get confusing. Jews don’t have a nationality in the same way that Slavs, etc. do. A Jew may have Arabic, Romanian and Slavic blood, so nationality just doesn’t apply there.

    Some countries/cultures view the idea of nationality as being more important than others do. I don’t just mean political groups, but Ireland, for example, has a fairly subtle but firm emphasis on Irish Nationality as blood, not as passport.

    Really I think it quite ridiculous to be honest, but if you’re gonna do it, oh well.

    • That’s funny you put it that way, so even if russian merries jew and they had a child, so the child would be what? russian or jew? what if russian merries ukranian, what would be their child? still russian or still uskranian? and why the same rule would not work for jews?

      • Well, I mentioned three seperate ethnic nationalities there because:

        The Temple in Jerusalem got destroyed a very long time ago, since then Jews have gone through Jordan, Italy, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Romania, Poland, Germany, etc.

        So in that time Jews have kinda bred with them all, this is just European Jews as well. People do trace ethnicity, but no one really bothers to trace it back 10 or so generations. Many people just don’t consider Jews to be part of an ethnic nation. Yes, I do say that if a Russian marries a German than the child can be an ethnic Russian, but what if this child then marries a Frenchman, then their child marries a Norwegian. For this reason I don’t believe in Ethnic Nationalities as sort of ‘Frozen’, i.e. you’re either Russian Slav or you’re not, as they’re constantly evolving new blood is coming in, new bloodlines are being formed, etc.

        Sure, maybe have ethnic nationality, but don’t make it all important and definately don’t make it exclusive (no one else can get in, at least not easily), as due to human nature (breeding) ethnic nations just don’t happen like that – they shift.

        Hopefully I was a little clearer this time.

        • Oh ok , i was kinda wondering if you’re up to a new theory about the way nationals are forming 🙂 clearly nationals are not really something we should be warried about, after a while we’re all mixed up so bad so nobody knows who and where we are from, especially in nowdays. and for those folks who think that russians are something of great natinality i can say rother mongolians are 🙂

      • Yea, this whole Russian/Ukrainian thing applies to me. I tell most people I’m Russian, because many dont know where Ukraine is. If they start prying, I explain ‘m half and half, but as I speak both languages, I’m not above omitting part of my heritage when it’s convienent, like when I goto Moscow and they tend not to be fond of Ukrainins, so it’s whatever.

  11. The way i understand it, it did not intend to descriminate people and was designed more for police purposes. like in those police reports in the US when you hear “black suspect …blah blah…”. Ofcourse descrimitaion existed in Russia for centures and jews started questioning this information in the passport. Why wouldn’t you want to disclose your nationality is obviously a different question.

  12. Well, the way i understand it, it is offensive in the US but not in Russia, here is the difference. just like an old russian saying “don’t make your rules in the other’s churches” you don’t want to step up and change the US calling in public black people neeger but obviously you can call black guy negro or neeger in russia without any consequences…

  13. C’mon folks. Yes, such a record is something unusual, but just think how it could appear at all. The clerk who wrote “negr” didn’t mean to state that the passport’s owner “is not white”, she just could not come up with any better idea.

    Most likely the clerk had only a high school diploma, living all her live in the same place. Most likely all surrounding her people where white. Most likely, the child was an orphan, with no data about who his mother or father was …

    No wander she was confused what ethnicity to write down. Russian? But in her mind, how a child with black skin can be a russian? She she probably had no idea that there are many different ethnics among black people.

    You can consider yourselves lucky to understand the difference between “nationality” and “ethnicity”. But that poor clerk just wasn’t so sophisticated. I consider the source to be just another nationalistic speculation.

  14. So, slavic is includes Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian nationalities.
    Kaucasians includes Georgian, Armenian, Azerbaijanian
    All other nationalities are asian.

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