This article traces the devolution of Soviet anti-racism and the emergence of ethnonationalist violence amid the collapse of the Soviet Union. Through an analysis of Uzbek writer Hamid Ismailov’s novel Mbobo/The Underground (2009), it explores the contradictions of Soviet anti-racism at the interface of flesh and place, metaphor and materiality, ecology and affect—contradictions manifested in the ways in which Brown and Black bodies were mapped onto the triumphalist architecture of socialist internationalism. Attending to built infrastructures—metro stations, sports arenas, concert halls, and conference venues—and the bodies of visibly marked internal and international others who constructed, inhabited and moved through these spaces, it discusses how these bodies were conscripted in the material manifestation of socialist internationalism and then made the targets of racialized violence in the waning days of the Soviet Union.

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