A rural community about halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg has been selected as the location of an “African village,” according to the African International Congress in Russia.
The project is a part of a five-year pilot program to settle thousands of migrants from South Africa.
African diplomats joined AIC representatives and local officials from Tver Region last week for a ceremony unveiling the symbolic cornerstone of the village, set to be built near the hamlet of Porechye.
- “We plan to establish 30 settlements in Russia for Afrikaners who want to immigrate,” said the head of the Eurasian International University (EIU) and general representative of the AIC in Russia, Konstantin Klimenko.
- “These are Boers, farmers of European origin, whose ancestors settled in Africa many years ago,” Klimenko explained.
- “Many of them are now converting to Orthodoxy and moving to Russia, attracted by our moral and spiritual way of life, with traditional family values.”
The Afrovillage is part of the pilot project currently underway in the Moscow and Tver regions, with the goal of settling about 3,000 Boer families.
If successful, the AIC and its partners plan to expand it to other regions of Russia.
- Afrikaners are descended from Dutch colonists who first settled around Cape Town in the mid-1650s. They became notorious for a system of racial segregation called ‘apartheid’ (1948-1994) that began under British rule but continued after South African independence was recognized. The country is currently ruled by the black majority, consisting of Bantu groups such as the Xhosa, Zulu and Ndebele.
Though the construction on the actual Afrovillage has yet to begin, the project organizers are working to set up a support system for the settlers.
Starting September 1, the EIU will launch an online program for learning Russian for about 200 settlers, Klimenko said.
- Meanwhile, the program organizers have partnered with a local farmer, Alexei Trofimov, to set up the ‘Milkburg’ cheesery near the future village. The first settlers, who plan to be dairy farmers, will be able to get their supplies from Trofimov and sell their products through Milkburg.
The settlement project appears to be unrelated to the expansion of economic and educational opportunities for the continent that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at last month’s Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg.
- In May, a Russian immigration lawyer revealed plans for an “American village” in southern Moscow Region for 200 families of conservatives fleeing political and religious persecution in the US.