A. A. KHISAMUTDINOV
Doctor of Historical Sciences
Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok)
Key words: Russian emigration in China, Old Believers of Manchuria, Russian life and economy in China
After the end of the Civil War in the Far East in 1922, more than half a million of our compatriots found themselves in China and other nearby countries, waiting for a favorable moment to return to their homeland. If the descendants of the usual so-called white emigration have now mostly assimilated with the local population, having lost ties with the Russian language and culture, the situation is completely different for the Old Believers: thanks to the traditional way of life, they still retain their Russian roots even after moving to North and South America.
The history of this diaspora began in the early 1930s, when as a result of dekulakization and religious persecution, about 500 Old Believers fled from Primorye and the Amur region to Northeastern China. Here the Old Believers were successful, settling the deserted Manchuria and other areas adjacent to the Soviet border. At that time, the land was allocated to them by the Chinese authorities, or they bought it from the local population. Apart from minor conflicts with the Hunghuz, the Russian Old Believers maintained very friendly relations with the Chinese.
The Japanese authorities, who occupied the north of China in the 1930s, became interested in the Russians: they wanted to use the Old Believers ' economic experience to resettle about one million Japanese here.
After the arrival of Soviet troops in Manchuria in August 1945, many male Old Believers were exiled to Siberia, and their farms were dekulakized. The Old Believers had to disperse all over Manchuria; some returned to their homeland (they now live in the Sunny district of the Khabarovsk Territory). And after the Communist victory in China in 1949, collectivization in the mid-1950s forced the remnants of Old Believer communities to once again set out on the ... Read more