Movement from the USSR's margins to Leningrad and Moscow, among groups ranging from traders to professionals, intensified in the late Soviet period. Using oral histories, Jeff Sahadeo analyzes the migration and place-making experiences of migrants from Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Asian RSFSR, all of whom were often referred to then as well as now by the Soviet host population as “Blacks.” Sahadeo argues that the “two capitals,” despite being closed cities, became critical to advancement strategies for citizens unionwide, inextricably binding Soviet periphery and center. Sahadeo explores how race emerged as an important factor in place making but argues that this can only be understood through its interplay with class, gender, professional status, and other categories of identity. Soviet “Blacks” externalized experiences of difference as they sought incorporation into host societies while maintaining links between their adopted and native homes. Place-making strategies led them to see Leningrad and Moscow, not as Russian-dominated cities, but as modern spaces of Soviet progress.