I know from my wife (a former Soviet) that Russia has always been a racist nation. It seems, though, like it's getting worse. This post on La Russophobe brings the point home. Note that racism and nationalism are both collectivist ideas, and they tend to go hand-in-hand. And so, it should be no surprise that as nationalism is on the rise in Russia, so too is racism.
A quick quote:
Russia for the Russians. It's a phrase that I hear more and more often. One of my friends - as white as the Russian snow - was punched out for speaking English in Moscow. My wife and I were physically threatened by a group of skinheads on the metro who drunkenly told us "Yankees go home." The fact that Canada is a separate state was lost on him, so we got off at the next station even though it was nowhere near from our destination.
The Moscow police, Tolessa told me, were open admirers of the "Russia for the Russians" crowd. When an African student who was attacked called for help, the police would just as often join the beating as stop it. It wasn't just Africans. Anyone from the former Soviet republics of the Caucasus and Central Asia was liable to be targeted as chorniyy, or "black."
Read the whole thing.