October 9, 2021
Safiya Yasmin Badzhva
Safiya Yasmin Badzhva (pronounced Bajwa) is a 22-year-old marketing student from Moscow. She was born and raised in Moscow to a Russian mother and a Pakistani father. Safiya sees herself as 100% Muscovite, but her appearance doesn’t fit into the stereotypical image of a local Russian. Safiya feels that Moscow is getting more diverse, so it's important to question the idea of xenophobia and racism in modern Russian society. "I define myself as a local as a Muscovite and person with the Russian mentality. And my first language is Russian. But despite all this, people don't perceive me as a local, much less as a Russian person. First of all, my appearance is not typical for a Russian person, also, my name and my religion. And every time I meet a new person, I feel like I have to prove that I speak language well, that I know this city and old traditions. And sometimes many people are simply surprised. They say how well you speak Russian, they compliment my Russian. It could be perhaps an example of a positive unconscious bias. And sometimes they think that I'm a liar, and some people could be just, frankly, rude to me."