Russia’s High-Tech Racism

The Skolkovo Innovation Center, situated on the outskirts of Moscow, is a Russian attempt to emulate Silicon Valley. This governmentally-sponsored project has an ambitious goal to provide some 50 thousand people with jobs and accomodation on an area of 2.5 million square meters by 2020. Well, it is the quite praiseworthy aim. The world needs additional scientific centers. Science and technology make their progress only through energetic competition among nations. On the other hand, cooperation among such establishments are also conducive to the overall development of mankind.

Until recently, a Nobel prize winner, physicist Zhores Alferov (1930-2019) was the scientific director of the Skolkovo Innovation Center. So, it may be reasonably called a showcase of Russia’s science and technology. A provider of crowdsourced courier services, www.dostavista.ru, is among notable projects under the aegis of the innovation center. Dostavista operates in 19 major cities of Russia. The quality of its services is rather questionable, like the majority of crowdsourced projects. But, I’d like to draw your attention to racist undertones of Dostavista.

For example, a delivery order #82317 of April 27, 2019, requires a courier with Slavic (white) facial features. Dostavista managers routinely ignore complaints, filed against such discrimination, in spite of the fact that Russian laws strictly prohibit racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination. Yes, Russia is technically a country with equal opportunities for all races and ethnic groups. But, the grim reality tells a different story. The country has had notorious traditions of xenophobia for a long time. For instance, in the Soviet Russia only soldiers with Slavic (white) facial features were allowed to guard the Lenin’s Tomb in Red Square.

Among other things, a provocative Russian song They Killed the Negro enjoyed huge success among Russian audience in 1999. The country’s leading TV-channels and radio stations willingly aired the dubious song. By the way, Dostavista’s board member is a Hungarian venture capitalist Michael Szalontay. Hungary is also notorious for its influential far-right extremists.

 

 

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