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Sharip Dzhabirov was a successful real estate entrepreneur, but his romantic prospects looked dim.He was 50 years old, divorced, with three children and a nephew living with him.At the time, she was working for a think tank and carrying out research on different ethnic diasporas in Russia.

On the whole, Moscow has little problem with interracial relationships, Vladimir says.

However, most Koreans and Armenians tend to favor marrying within their own group. My family is religious, and they were a bit concerned that Vladimir’s family is not baptised,” Gayane, 28, says.

People treated him as though he were “from another planet,” he says. It was too painful.”Both David and Natasha are African, in a sense.

The challenge is that David is black and Natasha is white.

Nor is the problem simply the novelty of mixed marriages.

The Soviet Union, a country with hundreds of ethnicities, also had mixed couples.The collapse of the Soviet Union, which opened the country to foreigners, also opened the floodgates to increased national sentiment.In multicultural Moscow—an international city, but less so than many in the West—love across racial, ethnic, and national boundaries still poses particular challenges.Despite the initial deception, Vladimir and Gayane continued talking and eventually started dating.However, they were a bit concerned about what their families would think.In fact, both Sharip and Irina say that the biggest challenges were not cultural, but practical: how to unite two separate families with their own lifestyles, habits, and routines.