Russian OMON policeman attacked with snowball

The Curious Case of ‘Russian Lives Matter’

July 11, 2020
Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon

This is a summary of an article originally published by Foreign Policy.

The author writes that "as Black Lives Matter protests spread across the globe, Russia has proven a notable exception... Instead, Russia has used the civil unrest in the United States to continue its history of reflecting the United States’ most unbecoming aspects on itself." The author describes the growth of the Russian Lives Matter movement and how "#RussianLivesMatter has been used to undermine the American fight against systemic racism by downplaying the impact of racism against African Americans, by suggesting police killings of Black Americans were deserved and by framing empathy towards victims of police violence in Russia as a zero-sum game." The author argues that America's systemic racism issue "hands authoritarian regimes such as Russia’s an opportunity to undermine U.S.  foreign policy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union" but that "in using the notoriety of the United States’ Black Lives Matter slogan and American white supremacy logic to shed light on Russian police brutality and promote ethnic Russian nationalism, opposition members have undermined their own cause."

Read the full article at Foreign Policy.


Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon

Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon is a doctoral student in history at the University of Pennsylvania.

Photo by Sergey Korneev shared under a Creative Commons license.