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Push/Pull Factors in Russian Immigration
1880s: Severe land shortages caused many to begin migrating to the United States, although ethnic Russians were not allowed to leave the country under law of the czar. Others from the Russian Empire, however, migrated to America, planning eventually to return once they had saved enough money.
1881–1924: Outbreaks of anti-Jewish “pogroms”, or riots, often left many Jews dead. The Jews were often blames for the assassination of czar Alexander II. This, as well as poverty and general anti-Semitism, caused millions of Russian Jews to migrate to the United States.
1900 - 1920: Unrest and mistrust in the Russian monarchy is brewing in Russia, and anger and poverty is leading to violence. The communist Bolsheviks overthrow the Russian government in 1917, causing the country to plunge into a civil war. Fearing the chaos unfolding around them, millions fled to America, if they hadn’t already. Notably were the “White Russians”, usually upper class Russians called white because they opposed the red army.
1919 and 1920: America is swept up in the fears of the spread of communism, and the Red Scare convicts and deports thousands of Russians back to the Soviet Union, often without any sort of trial. It also in turn discourages further Russian immigration into the United States, and some Russians already living in the US change their names to hide their Russian heritage.
1940s: Russian refugees known as “displaced persons” attempt to escape Russia and its poverty brought by World War II, but only a few thousand make it.
1950 - 1970: The Cold War had cut off all ties between America and the Soviet Union. The USSR had become aware of the number of its educated trying to flee the country, and discontinued migration out of the country entirely. Those who did manage to leave lost their citizenship as well as communication with their families.
1970 – 1980: The Cold War was beginning to thaw, and the Soviet Union began to let “undesirable” Russians migrate to the United States once more. By the late 1980s, the USSR was at the brink of collapse, with a rise of immigration to the United States.
1990s: Before the collapse if the Soviet Union, mass migration began once again to the United States as a result of the USSR not bothering to hold them back since they knew of their own demise.
Present Day: Russian migration to the US is counted to be topped only by immigration from Mexico, and a steady stream of Russian immigrants shows up on American soil every year. The Russian language is also a rapidly growing language that can be heard anywhere in the country.0
"Polish/Russian Immigration." The Library of Congress . 09 AUG 2004. The Library of Congress. 4 May 2008
Romaine, Jenny. "An Abbreviated Timeline of Jewish Immigration to the United States." Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. 4 May 2008
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