A Brief History of Russian Speaking Immigration to the US

Immigration to the US

The US is a country made up mostly of decedents of immigrants. Some of the most well-known immigrant groups include the British, Italian, and Irish, but less is known about the people that came from Russian-speaking countries to the US. In this blog post, we\’ll give you a brief history of Russian-speaking immigration to the US. We\’ll also highlight why it\’s still important for Russian-speaking immigrants to get the support they need to settle in this great country.

A Slow Start

Up until 1870, there were very few Russian-speaking immigrants in the US. In fact, there were only 7,550 Russian immigrants at this time and very few from other Russian-speaking countries. During this time, it was mostly Irish, German, and British immigrants that made their way across the Atlantic in search of a better life. However, things were about to change.

The First, Second, and Third Waves of Russian Speaking Immigration

Due to political and economic reasons, between 1891 and 1900, nearly 600,000 Russians and people from other Russian-speaking regions moved to the US. Most of these moved to the eastern part of the country such as New York and Philadelphia but many also moved eastward from Siberia to the west coast of the US. This rate of immigration continued to increase throughout the early 20th century, with over 1.6 Russian-speaking immigrants landing in the country between 1900 and 1910. This was the height of the Russian-speaking immigration to the US and is known as the first wave.



The second wave took place when Russian-speaking immigrants left the country after the Soviets took power in Russia in 1917 after the Russian Civil War. Between 1917 and 1922, many people left Russia and landed in the US. It\’s hard to know exactly how many landed during this time because many of them changed their names due to fears of being persecuted by the newly formed Russian state. This group is generally referred to as the white émigrés due to many of them being supporters of the Menshevik political party whose party colors were white.

The third wave of immigration from Russian-speaking countries to the US lasted between 1922 and 1991 and consisted mostly of political defectors and Jewish refugees that were escaping persecution in the USSR. In the 1970s alone, over 50,000 Russian Jews fled to the US in search of a better life.

Russian Speaking Immigrants Are Central to the US Identity

With such a rich history of immigration right from the late 19th century through to the late 20th century, it\’s clear to see that Russian-speaking immigrants have been central to forming the US into the nation it is today. Many people do not realize that they make up such a large proportion of the population, but just like other immigrant groups, they came to the country looking to contribute to working for a better life for all.

At Voloshen Law Firm, we believe that the legacy of Russian-speaking immigrants to the US should be celebrated. Their story shows just how important the US has been in helping them find a better life, and how important they\’ve been in the formation of this great country. We also believe that immigration continues to benefit this country, which is why we support modern Russian-speaking immigrants in their pursuit of a better life in the US. With a team of qualified Russian-speaking immigration lawyers, we\’re the best place for anyone who wants to make the move from a Russian-speaking country to the US. Give us a call today: (215) 437-7854 to find out how we can help you in your quest for a new life in the US.


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