In 1987, when victims of religious persecution were finally allowed to leave Russia, a flood of immigrants landed on the Pacific shores of North America. By the end of 1992 over 200,000 Jews and Christians had left their homeland to resettle in a land where they had only recently been considered “the enemy.”
Russian Refuge is a comprehensive account of the Russian immigrant experience in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and British Columbia since the first settlements over two hundred years ago. Susan Hardwick focuses on six little-studied Christian groups—Baptists, Pentecostals, Molokans, Doukhobors, Old Believers, and Orthodox believers—to study the role of religion in their decisions to emigrate and in their adjustment to American culture.
Hardwick deftly combines ethnography and cultural geography, presenting narratives and other data collected in over 260 personal interviews with recent immigrants and their family members still in Russia. The result is an illuminating blend of geographic analysis with vivid portrayals of the individual experience of persecution, migration, and adjustment.
Russian Refuge will interest cultural geographers, historians, demographers, immigration specialists, and anyone concerned with this virtually untold chapter in the story of North American ethnic diversity.