Indians in Russia
|Regions with significant populations|
|Moscow · St. Petersburg · Astrakhan|
|Russian · Various Indian Languages · English|
|Hinduism • Christianity • Sikhism|
|Related ethnic groups|
|People of Indian Origin|
There is a small community of Indians in Russia which includes Indian expatriates in Russia, as well as Russian citizens of Indian origin or descent.
Indian presence in Russia dates back to the 17th century, when Astrakhan, a trading-port in the delta of the Volga River by the Caspian Sea, was incorporated into Moscow state. By then, Indian traders had reached as far as Isfahan in Persia, Kizlyar in the North Caucasus and Astrakhan in Russia. The first Indians from Sindh and Multan arrived in Russian Astrakhan in 1615. In 1624, a special trading post for Indian merchants was erected in Astrakhan along with separate posts for Armenian and Persian merchants. Many of them were dealers in Astrakhan textiles, jewelry and medicines. There are records of Indian men marrying Tartars women.
By the early 18th century, Indian merchants lived not only in Astrakhan, but also in Moscow. Russian chroniclers reported the presence of Hindu traders in Moscow in the 18th century. Indian diamond trade was known then in Moscow and St. Petersburg. While it is impossible to speak of a continued Indian presence, Astrakhan Indians are known to have dispersed to Kazan, Moscow, and St. Petersburg and their descendants became assimilated, although, it may be assumed that some families of ‘Russian Indians’ still keep memories of their South Asian ancestors.
The Soviet era also witnessed the emergence of an Indian Communist community in Moscow and Leningrad in the 1920s and the 1930s. From the mid-1950s onwards, significant numbers of Indian students began attending educational institutions in Moscow, Leningrad, Sverdlovsk and Kursk . A few managed to remain in Russia after completing their education. The situation, however, changed with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
A majority of Indians living in Russia are Hindus and with minority population like Christian of Indian origin and Sikhs. Hinduism has been told of in Russia, though most ignore it, primarily due to the work of "missionaries" from the Vaishnava Hindu organization International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Brahma Kumaris and by itinerant swamis from India. There is an active Tantra Sangha operating in Russia. As per reports there are Sikhs people who also practice Sikhism in Cities like Moscow, St Petersburg etc is an active group from India.