ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Russian Immigrants Diversity

Updated on February 21, 2012
Source
Source

Russian Immigrants

I come from a varied group of groups. In my family tree, there are those with Native American, Russian, German, Polish, Irish, even Italian roots. I am sure there is more that I am forgetting in there, but those are the major ones that I know of off the top of my head. They used to call this being a Heinz 57, and I still refer to myself as that. Because my last name is derived directly from my Russian roots, and it seems to be the ancestry I most closely identify myself with, I chose to take a look at how Russian immigrants were treated upon entering and establishing themselves in America.

Depending on what timeframe one considers—and who one asks—the Russians have had a myriad of success and failures in immigrating to the United States. In ancient times, some believe that the continents had not fully separated and the oncoming Ice Age allowed just enough of a bridge for Russian natives to cross over to North America. It is believed these native Russians became the forefathers for many Native American cultures (Kruetzer, n.d.). In the late 1800s, we saw a major emigration from Russian lands. These immigrants included Poles, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and more headed for the United States en masse, as land shortages threatened poverty and even starvation. Ethnic Russians, however, were forbidden from leaving their native land by the Russian government (Library of Congress, 2004).

In 1917, when the Bolsheviks overthrew the previous Russian government, the Russian lands were caught in an upheaval for four long years. Many Russians found their way to the United States during this time. Many of these Russian Americans took work in upcoming industries such as mine and heavy labor mills. Others took advantage of the Homestead Act and headed west to start their own farms. Not all was well for long for these new immigrants, however.

After the Russian Revolution, the American government began to fear that the U.S. was in danger of its own communist revolution and cracked down on political and labor organizations. Russian immigrants were singled out as a particular danger, and their unions, political parties, and social clubs were spied upon and raided by federal agents. In New York City alone more than 5,000 Russian immigrants were arrested. During the worst years of the Red Scare, 1919 and 1920, thousands of Russians were deported without a formal trial.

Library of Congress, 2004

Waves of Russian emigration to the United States continued over the years. In the 1930s, we saw a number of well educated Russians come to the United States in an attempt to avoid the looming world war. There were singers, dancers, scientists, and others from the upper crust of Russian society. After the war, more Russians found their way to the United States, known as “displaced persons” at that point, having lost their homes during the war.

By 1952, the Russians had established very tight controls on Russians wishing to leave the country. Some say that they were embarrassed at the rate they were losing prominent citizens to the United States (Library of Congress, 2004). The trouble Russian Americans faced during the McCarthy period is well documented. Americans as a whole had a new enemy to deal with: communism. Those from communist countries—even if they had fully embraced their new capitalist home—were easy targets for discrimination.

Times have changed, however, and we are seeing more Russians immigrate to the United States. It is a different world, a more sensitive world. It is also quite possible that world is perhaps a bit too sensitive. According to the BBC, the current Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, believes that a good portion of the rest of the world is so prejudiced against his people that they would go so far as to teach false history about Russia (Rodgers, 2009). Try doing a search for “prejudice against Russians” into Google.com and you will see one of the top results is a blog by an individual who goes only by the name KamilSifu. The title of his most recent article: Are Russian Medical Graduates so Incompotent? (KamilSifu, 2009). There are other similar results, but the question is how serious are these sentiments. From the tone and demeanor, one could easily conclude they are wholeheartedly behind what they type. At the same time, one must wonder who would support such a diverse group of individuals who want to question an entire nationality’s capabilities when they have as yet to master the basics of high school English.

Overall, Russians have the history of a relatively easy immigration to the United States. I have spoken to a number of individuals from the Russian community who strongly disagree with the conventional wisdom that is available to us. My question remains. What was it really like? Are these memories and stories from Russian Americans merely nightmares and tall tales? Or, is there some sort of conspiracy to hide portions of America’s darker side?

References

KamilSifu. (2009). kamilsifu. Retrieved on December 20, 2009 from http://kamilsifu.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/are-russian-medical-graduates-that-incompetent/

Kruezer, R. (n.d.). St. Lawrence University. The Natives Russians. Retrieved on December 20, 2009 from http://it.stlawu.edu/~rkreuzer/natives.htm

Library of Congress. (2004). Library of Congress- Immigration Polish & Russian. Retrieved on December 20, 2009 from http://rs6.loc.gov:8081/learn/features/immig/polish2.html

Rodgers, James. (2009). BBC News. BBC. Retrieved on December 20, 2009 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8166020.stm

Comments

Submit a Comment

No comments yet.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)