I'm a Belgian woman with two Moroccan grandparents. I'm not Islamic, dress very Western. My features are also fairly European (form of my nose/face) apart from my skin color.
Now, I'm planning on studying on Slavonic studies as I'm very passionate about Russia, Slavonic languages (I'm already learning Ukrainian) and Eastern European cultures. There is no doubt I'm going to study this in September, so your answers will change nothing about that. My studies will include a semester or two spent in a Slavonic country, preferably Russia. I would love to go to Tver, Moscow, St.-Petersburg or Gorno-Altaysk. I would know Russian very well. I would not be your usual tourist/student: I love backpacking and going off the beaten path; I would also use the chance of being in Russia to travel to remote villages, smaller towns etc. to talk to people and get to know the culture.
As I'm very enthusiastic about my future studies and will have the opportunity to visit Russia as soon as the fall of 2018, I've been reading a lot, and disturbingly have found a lot of stories about racism in Russia, especially Moscow. I know this question has been asked a lot, but how bad is it, really? Of course I know some of the news has to be exaggerated, but in all honesty, how frequent are violent attacks? Do the attackers just randomly pick anyone who doesn't seem white, or do they only attack African/Caucasian people? Or people who dress Islamic/traditionally African/Asian, who look like low-skilled workers and refugees? And where do these attacks happen? Is it safe to take the metro at night? To travel to small villages? It feels so immoral to ask these things, but I just want to know what to expect.
Thank you in advance!
Also, I won't actually be going to Russia until about a year (although a city trip to Moscow might happen sooner), so don't expect me to brief you about my experiences just yet :)