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Russian emigration.

Russian woman in pre-revolution dress

The beginning of Russian emigration is traditionally dated back to the 16th century, to the rule of Ivan the Terrible. Knyaz Andrey Mikhailovich Kurbsky is referred to as first Russian political émigré. First "No returns" ("Nevozvrashchentsy") of the 17th century were those young noblemen who Boris Fyodorovich Godunov sent to study in Europe and who finally stayed there.

Pre-revolution Russian emigrants include the famous names of Nikolaj Gogol, Alexander Herzen, Ivan Turgenev, Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, Fyodor Tyutchev and some others. There was no legal definition of emigration in pre-revolution Russia. The term of staying abroad for a Russian citizen was equal to 5 years, after which it could be prolonged depending on the government decision. Otherwise a person lost Russian citizenship and came under arrest upon his return. All his property was confiscated.

Most numerous emigration of the later 19th century was the religious emigration of the Jews that started after several attempts of assassination of Tsar Alexander II. After the assassination of Alexander II the new Tsar Alexander III launched anti-Jewish propaganda alleging that the assassination had been a Jewish plot. This in turn led to anti-Jewish actions and bloody pogroms in many parts of The Pale (an area stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea encompassing what is now Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, and west Ukraine). Thousands of Jewish families and individuals fled, if they could, many trying to emigrate to America and Britain.

However the Russian emigration became especially intense after 1917 and even became a subject of studying and periodization. The historical data prove the biggest number of Russians left abroad in the 20th century during the 4 periods or "waves" of Russian emigration.

The first wave of Russian emigration covers the period from 1918 to 1922. The estimated number of Russian having left the country during this period varies between 900,000 and 3 million. This periods' emigrants include the military and civilians that who emigrated from Russia in the wake of the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War, being in opposition to the contemporary Russian political climate. Since many Russian émigrés of that period were participants in the White movement or supported it, the first wave of Russian emigration is also called "white emigration". In fact the emigration spanned all classes and included military soldiers and officers, Cossacks, intellectuals of various professions, dispossessed businessmen and landowners, as well as officials of the Russian Imperial Government and various anti-Bolshevik governments of the Russian Civil War period. They were not only ethnic Russians but belonged to other ethnic groups as well.

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In 1921 the Refugees Settlement Commission was created and in later years Nansen passports were issues to by the League of Nations to stateless refugees. Most émigrés initially fled from Southern Russia and Ukraine to Turkey and then moved to eastern European Slavic countries, such as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. A large number also fled to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Germany and France. Berlin and Paris developed thriving émigré communities. Many military and civil officers living, stationed, or fighting the Red Army across Siberia and the Russian Far East moved together with their families to Harbin, Shanghai and other cities of China, Central Asia, and Western China, as well as Japan. During and after World War II many Russian émigrés moved to the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia where many of their communities still exist today.

White émigrés were generally speaking anticommunist and did not consider the Soviet Union and its legacy to be Russian at its core. They consider the period of 1917 to 1991 to have been a period of occupation by the Soviet regime which was internationalist and anti-Christian. They used the tsarist tricolor (white-blue-red) as their national flag, for example, and some organizations used the flag of the Imperial Russian Navy.

Some of notable "First Wave" Émigrés are Anton Denikin, Baron Pyotr Wrangel, Mother Maria, Nikolai Berdyaev, Ivan Bunin, Serge Diaghilev, Anna Pavlova, Alexandra Tolstaya, Vladimir Nabokov, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Igor Stravinsky, Igor Sikorsky, Anastasia Akleksandrovna Shirinskaya, Marina Chaliapina, Nadezhda Plevitskaya, Vera Karalli, Princess Irina Yusupova, Ivan Ilyin, Nadezhda Teffi, Anna Marly, Nina Berberova and others. Later in 1925 it was Ayn Rand

Another wave of Russian emigration followed the end of World War II. They were the people that had to leave Russian during the war and avoided the further repatriation. The emigrants were mainly the military war prisoners, civilian people from USSR driven away to work in Germany and Austria, evacuated and refuges, Nazi collaborators and traitors, as well as the former citizens of Russian Empire that lived in Western European countries and moved to Latin America, Canada, the USA and Australia in 1938 - 1947.

The third "wave" of emigration includes Russian emigration of so called "Cold War" period (1948 - 1989/1990). It is also called the period of late Stalin and early Gorbachev. In late 1969 the Soviet Union permitted the emigration of Jews in ever increasing numbers. Even though the emigration was formally limited to Jews, who were allowed to leave the Soviet Union for Israel as part of the agreements reached between the United States and the Soviet Union during the era of détente, a great involvement of Soviet citizens of various nationals followed. Although Jews leaving the Soviet Union were only granted permission to go to Israel, many had the United States as their true goal; and by 1985 nearly 300,000 had reached the United States.

During this period of time some Soviet dissidents were forced to emigrate by KGB which threatened them by arrest. Russian writers: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Joseph Brodsky, Eduard Limonov, Vladimir Voinivich, Vassiliy Aksenov; musician Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife opera singer Galina Pavlovna Vishnevskaya, theater director Yuri Lyubimov all had a similar émigré destiny. The only daughter of Josef Stalin, Svetlana Alliluyeva and a Soviet singer of Jewish descent Aida Vedishcheva, escaped the USSR during this period. This wave of emigration is often called one of the reasons of the collapse of the Soviet civilization. Soviet cultural elite was trying to escape the USSR. Russian actors Savelij Kramarov, Oleg Vidov, Boris Sichkin and film directors Andrew Konchalovsky and Andrew Tarkovsky were among the third wave emigrants form the USSR. Famous Russian ballet dancers Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Alexander Godunov and sportsmen (Oleg Protopopov and Liudmila Belousova, professional ice hockey player Alexander Mogilny) did not come back to Russia after the tours abroad. They all were called by the term "no return" ("nevozvrashchentsy").

The forth wave of Russian emigration started in 1988 after the official permission for the Soviet citizens to leave the Soviet Union and travel abroad. It lasts until the present moment. This period is mainly characterized by economical reasons and is similar to world migration processes. Germany takes the first place among the countries receiving Russian emigrants, Israel comes the second and the third major recipient is the USA. Russian emigration of this period has attained such global features as human trafficking and feminization of emigration with great mail-order-bride business involvement. The percentage of intellectual elite still prevails. Famous Russian actresses like Yelena Solovey, Natalya Andrejchenko, Russian figure skater Ekaterina Gordeeva emigrated during the forth "wave".

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