Soviet-Era Sevastopol Hotel: Moscow’s ‘Little Kabul’

The Russian capital is home to a large Afghan community that centers around a cluster of gray tower blocks that make up the Soviet-era Sevastopol Hotel. The hotel has been converted to a huge business center dominated by Afghan bazaars, butcher shops, and restaurants. The complex also has a printing house and provides language classes in Dari, Pashto, and Russian. Around 8,000 Afghans work and live in around the Sevastopol complex. Most of them fled to Moscow in the wake of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and the brutal civil war of the 1990s. Afghans in Russia make up the third-largest overseas Afghan community after Pakistan and Iran. There are around 150,000 Afghans in Russia, with a third residing in Moscow.

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