Russian Mexicans

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Russian Mexicans
Российские мексиканцы
Total population
1,606 Russian nationals residing in the country (2015)[1]
Unknown number of Mexicans of Russian descent
Mexican Spanish, Russian
Russian Orthodox and Judaism
Related ethnic groups
Russians, Mennonites in Mexico

There is a small Russian diaspora population in Mexico. According to the 2000 Mexican census, 1,293 Russian citizens were resident in Mexico.[2]

Russian explorers in New Spain and independent Mexico[edit]

16th and 17th centuries[edit]

  • 1542–43: Juan Cabrillo visits San Diego, Farallon Islands, Cape Mendocino, Cape Blanco, Oregon.
  • 1579–1639: Russian frontiersmen penetrate eastward to Siberia and the Pacific.
  • 1602: S. Viscaino explores to the Columbia River region, naming the Farallon Islands, Point Reyes and the Rio Sebastian (present-day Russian River).

18th century[edit]

  • 1728: Vitus Bering and Alexei Chirikov explore Bering Strait.
  • 1741–42: Bering and Chirikov claim Russian America (Alaska) for Russia.
  • 1769: Gaspar de Portola traveling overland discovers San Francisco Bay.
  • 1775: Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra anchors in outer Bodega Bay, trades with the local Indians.
  • 1784 — Russians Grigory Shelikov and his wife Natalia establish a base on Kodiak Island.
  • 1799 — Russian American Company (with manager Aleksandr Baranov) establishes Novo Arkhangelsk (New Archangel, now Sitka, Alaska).

19th century[edit]

  • 1806 — Count Nikolai Rezanov, Imperial Ambassador to Japan and director of the Russian American Company, visits the Presidio of San Francisco.
  • 1806–1813: American ships bring Russians and Alaska Natives on 12 California fur hunts.
  • 1808–1811 — Ivan Kuskov lands in Bodega Bay (Port Rumiantsev), builds structures and hunts in the region.
  • 1812 — March 15, Ivan Kuskov with 25 Russians and 80 Native Alaskans arrives at Port Rumiantsev and proceeds north to establish Fortress Ross.
  • 1812 — September 11, The Fortress is dedicated on the name-day of Emperor Alexander I
  • 1816 — Russian exploring expedition led by Captain Otto von Kotzebue visits California with naturalists Adelbert von Chamisso, Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz, and artist Louis Choris.
  • 1817 — Chief Administrator Captain Leonty Gagemeister conducts treaty with local tribal chiefs for possession of property near Fortress Ross. First such treaty conducted with native peoples in California.
  • 1818 — The Rumiantsev, first of four ships built at Fortress Ross. The Buldakov, Volga and Kiahtha follow, as well as several longboats.
  • 1821 — Russian Imperial decree gives Native Alaskans and Creoles civil rights protected by law
  • 1836 — Fr. Veniaminov (St. Innocent) visits Fort Ross, conducts services, and carries out census.
  • 1841 — Rotchev sells Fort Ross and accompanying land to John Sutter.

Migration history[edit]

After the anti-Jewish pogroms of 1881, Mexico frequently came under consideration as a possible refuge for Russian Jews seeking to emigrate.[3] In June 1891, Jacob Schiff, an American Jewish businessman with railroad interests in Mexico, wrote to Ernest Cassel to enquire about the possibility for settlement of Russian Jews there.[4] However, Russian Jews would not begin to arrive in significant quantities until the 1920s.[5]

Pryguny in Baja California[edit]

From 1905 to 1906, about 50 families of Spiritual Christian Pryguny (colloquially known as Molokans), who arrived in Los Angeles from Russia, sought a rural location, and relocated to 13,000 acres (53 km2) of land they had purchased in Guadalupe, Baja California in Mexico.[6] Theirs would become the most successful Prygun colony cluster in North America. There, they build houses largely in the Russian style, but of adobe rather than wood, and grew a variety of cash crops including mostly wheat, alfalfa, grapes, and tomatoes.[7] Their village was originally quite isolated, reflecting their desire to withdraw from society, but in 1958, road construction in the area resulted in an influx of Mexican and other settlers; some chose to flee encroaching urbanization, and returned to the United States. By the 1990s, only one family remained in the area.[8]

Scientists and engineers[edit]

There is a Russian-descended community living in Polanco neighborhood in Miguel Hidalgo, D.F.. One of the eldest families of this community is the Pavel I Trofimoff's (1896–1991).

Some Russian exiles, that arrived escaping from WWI, the fall of the Russian Empire and the civil war (1917–1919) were extremely important as pioneers of the beginning of the Petroleum and Chemistry Industry and the Biology Research as well as in the modernization of the mining in the country about 1920–1940s.

Professor Dmitry Sokoloff, was born on Lvov, Ukraine, but raised in Moscow, where he married Sophia Solovieva in 1918. Since 1916 he worked in his PhD in Biology at the Imperial University of Tokyo sponsored by an exchange scholarship granted by the Japanese government to Lomonosov University graduates. Forced to move due to the big earthquake of Tokyo 1921, he arrived to Mexico with his family in 1922 through the harbor of Colima.

Dr Sokoloff lived in Toluca and in Tacubaya, Mexico city in the 1930s and 1940s. He was founder of the Biology Department of the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, at Mexico city, and Faculty until the late 1940s when he migrated to Chicago, Illinois. His wife Sophia Sokoloff, from Tobolsk (Siberia), was musician, pianist and worked with the National conservatory of Mexico city during the 1940s and with the University of Chicago in the 1950s.

His son Dr Alexander Sokoloff (1920–2011) born in Tokyo (Japan), but raised in Mexico City, and Pasadena California. He graduated in Zoology PhD program from University of Chicago in 1955. After a very successful career in Genetics research in the United States he became Emeritus Professor of Biology at the California State University at San Bernardino.

His sister Nina Helen Sokoloff (1923–2011), also born in Tokyo, studied in the American School of Mexico city and Graduate Master of Biology at the Loyola University, had a very extensive career as an Educator in the Chicago city College system from the 1950s to the 1980s. As an author she was activist of the Mexican-American cultural exchange in Chicago, promoting and funding the exchange of many Mexican students to attend graduate studies at University of Chicago.

Wilhem Ambrosimoff, a Mining Estonian Engineer born in the 1880s in Tallinn, came to Mexico in 1921 through the city of Laredo, Texas. He worked during the 1930s in the states of Zacatecas and Hidalgo, doing a huge contribution to the modernization of the silver mining in Mexico. He worked many years working for the Real del Monte mines Company in Pachuca, capital city of the State of Hidalgo. He finished his career retired in the Mexico state in the region of Valle de Bravo, where he was realtor and died in 1971. His widow Maria Jordi-Ambrosimoff a German-Estonian immigrant, that continue working as a Realtor in Valle de Bravo and in Iztapan de la Sal, survived him until 1975 to die in the Geriatric house of the German Colony at the south of Mexico city.

Vladimir (Olhovich) Olhovsky and Pavel Trofimoff came both to Veracruz Mexico almost at the end of 1920, but they worked in separate companies carrying out search for potential oil fields in the region of Tehuantepec. Olhovsky worked in the beginnings of the activities of the National Mexican Petroleum company(PEMEX), while Trofimoff worked for a Royal Dutch Company subsidiary ( Compania Mexicana de Petroleos El Aguila SA) before the Nationalization carried out by President Lazaro Cardenas del Rio.

Pavel Ilya Trofimoff-Sazanoff got a Topographic Engineer Degree from the Penza University in Russia in 1916. He was related with Ivan Trofimoff famous Locomotive Engineer, who invented in 1927 the Trofimoff valve used extensively in trains all around the world. Since 1920 he was hired by Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian in France to work in petroleum exploration, working in different countries alternatively for Royal Dutch Company and Shell Company.

Vladimir Olhovsky became the first Petroleum Engineer graduated in the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1925.

Film industry[edit]

In October 1930 the famous Soviet-era film director Sergei Einsenstein, with the sponsorship of American socialist author Upton Sinclair, began a tour along Mexico that would produce various legendary films, among the best foreign ones ever produced about the country.

Sinclair had secured an extension of Eisenstein's absences from the USSR, and permission for him to travel to Mexico. The trip to Mexico was for Eisenstein to make a film produced by Sinclair and his wife, Mary Craig Kimbrough Sinclair, and three other investors organized as the "Mexican Film Trust".

The title for the principal project, ¡Que viva México!, was decided on some time later still. While in Mexico, Eisenstein mixed socially with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Eisenstein admired both of these artists, as well as Mexican culture in general, and they inspired Eisenstein to call his films "moving frescoes".

In mid-1932, the Sinclairs were able to secure the services of Sol Lesser, who had just opened his distribution office in New York, Principal Distributing Corporation. Lesser agreed to supervise post-production work on the miles of negative left by Einseinstein—at the Sinclairs' expense—and distribute any resulting product. Two short feature films and a short subject— Thunder Over Mexico based on the "Maguey" footage, Eisenstein in Mexico, and Death Day respectively—were completed and released in the United States between the autumn of 1933 and early 1934.

Arcady Arcadievic Boytler Rososky (August 31, 1895 – November 24, 1965) was a producer, screenwriter, and director most renowned for his films during the golden age of Mexican cinema.

Boytler was born in Moscow, Russia. During the 1920s, he started filming silent comedies. A collaborator of Sergei Eisenstein, he was called "the Russian Rooster" when he came to Mexico to film La mujer del puerto (1933). In 1937 he filmed Así es mi tierra, which followed the model of Fernando de Fuentes's classic Allá en el Rancho Grande. However, the film subverted the Mexican Revolutionary genre by making the general into the villain.

He died in the Mexican Federal District of heart disease.

Mario Moreno "Cantinflas", the Mexican Columbia Picture movie star, married Valentina Ivanova Zubareff, a Circus dancer and actress of Russian ethnicity, on October 27, 1936, and remained with her until her death in January 1966. During their marriage they both parented through adoption Mario Arturo Moreno-Ivanova, only son of the actor. In August 2011 the Journalist Mario Palmieri revealed in an article that Mario Moreno-Ivanova, that was for a long time believed to be adoptive son of Mario Moreno was indeed his extramarital son with the Texan actress Marion Roberts.

In December 1981, some friends offered a special dinner to the legendary Mexican Diva of the French Movie industry Maria Felix, in Paris, where she met Antoine Tzapoff, descendent of Russian immigrants and 20 years younger than her. With him she shared the last years of her life. Maria and Antoine traveled together all along the Mexican Republic. He made painting exhibitions about the Mexican Indians, they also traveled to Valencia, España and on March 13, 1997, his paintings were exhibited at Paris under the name "When dance becomes a Rite".

In 1988 Sergio Olhovsky, elder son of the Engineer, a movie director, clearly inspired in Einseinstein Mexico's tour work, but that also received a lot of influence from the work of the Spanish Director Luis Buñuel, also exiled in Mexico at the end of the 1930s, became awarded with his film "Esperanza" (Hope), a Mexican Russian production about the life of his father.

Art and cultural life[edit]

The Mexican Visual Artist Diego Rivera married first time the Russian exiled Artist Angelina Beloff in Paris France 1911, and she gave birth to a son, Diego (1916–1918). Maria Vorobieff-Stebelska, another Russian Cubist Artist mistress of Rivera in Paris, gave also birth to a daughter named Marika Rivera, that later became a professional dancer in France, 1918 or 1919 when Rivera was married to Angelina (according to House on the Bridge: Ten Turbulent Years with Diego Rivera and Angelina's memoirs called Memorias).

Angelina Veloff entered the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1905, when was encouraged by her professors to move to France to continue studying, which she did after her parents died in 1909. She lived in Paris with support of the Russian government as well as a trust fund from her family, working in the studio of Henri Matisse. During this time, her talent developed, learning engraving work in wood and metal and she earned recognition for her painting and drawing. She represented an important influence on Rivera's early career.

Veloff was a member of the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios starting in 1934, the Sociedad Mexicana de Grabadores in 1947, the Galería Espira in the 1930s, the Sociedad para el Impulso de las Arts Plásticas in 1948 and the Salón de las Plástica Mexicana in 1949.

Mexican-born psychiatrist Nora Volkow is the granddaughter of Zinaida Volkova and great-granddaughter of León Trotsky.

Leon Trotsky, founder of the Red Army, after leading a failed struggle of the Left Opposition against the policies and rise of Joseph Stalin in the 1920s and the increasing role of bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, was successively removed from power in 1927, expelled from the Communist Party, and finally deported from the Soviet Union in 1929. As the head of the Fourth International, Trotsky continued in exile in Mexico to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union.

An early advocate of Red Army intervention against European fascism, in the late 1930s, Trotsky opposed Stalin's non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler. He was assassinated on Stalin's orders in Mexico, by Ramón Mercader, a Spanish-born Soviet agent in August 1940.

Trotsky's house in Coyoacán was preserved in much the same condition as it was on the day of the assassination and is now a museum run by a board which includes his grandson Esteban Volkov. The current director of the museum is Carlos Ramirez Sandoval. Trotsky's grave is located on its grounds. A new foundation (International Friends of the Leon Trotsky Museum) has been organized to raise funds to further improve the Museum.

Trotsky was never formally rehabilitated by the Soviet government, despite the Glasnost-era rehabilitation of most other Old Bolsheviks killed during the Great Purges. His son, Sergei Sedov, killed in 1937, was rehabilitated in 1988, as was Nikolai Bukharin. Above all, beginning in 1989, Trotsky's books, forbidden until 1987, were finally published in the Soviet Union.

Trotsky was rehabilitated on 16 June 2001 on the basis of the decision of the General Prosecutor's Office (Certificates of Rehabilitation № 13/2182-90, № 13-2200-99 in Archives Research Center "Memorial").

Trotsky's grandson, Esteban Volkov, who lives in Mexico, is an active promoter of his grandfather. Trotsky's great-granddaughter, Mexican-born Nora Volkow (Volkov's daughter), is currently head of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

In the 1940s Elias Breeskin, Ukrainian born Violinist, Composer and Conductor moved from Hollywood, California to Mexico and became an exclusive artist of the XEB Radio station in Mexico City, the oldest in the country composed scores for the Cinema of Mexico including the Cantinflas film Neither Blood nor Sand. He had a daughter there who became a famous entertainer and violinist herself, Olga Breeskin.

In 1941, Anna, Gene, and John Breeskin joined Elias in Mexico City, where he had become musical director for XEW, the most important radio station in the country. John Breeskin describes one Christmas sitting in box seat in the principal orchestra hall in Mexico City near the President of Mexico, and watching his father Elias take the stage, lift his baton, and give the downbeat for Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. John Breeskin also describes living in a mansion with several servants, including a chauffeur, a gardener, a bodyguard, a cook and two young maids. Elias would come home from work, take off his suit jacket, and reveal a tiny Capuchin monkey tucked into his armpit. He would come home from the mercado with a parrot with violently colored feathers perched on his shoulder; this was typical.

In the early 1950s VicePresident Mikoyan of the USSR in tour across North America, met the Mexican Cellist Carlos Prieto in New York and offered him the possibility to visit Russia and interact with some of the greatest Soviet musicians. Prieto, writer and also engineering graduate from MIT, has been along his career one of the principal promoters of the cultural exchange in between Mexico and Russia, he is the author of various books about his time in the former Soviet Union.

Modern migration[edit]

Vladislav Badiarov, born 1973 in Nalchik, Russia, is a Russian-Mexican violinist. He moved to Mexico at the age of 18 in 1991. His brother is the baroque violist and violin maker Dmitry Badiarov. He appeared at Festival Cervantino, in Guanajuato

Physicist Alexander Balankin

Alexander Balankin was born in Moscow, Soviet Union. He graduated from Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in 1981. He holds a Philosophy Doctorate in Physics and Mathematics from Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (1986). Five years after that, the Higher Attestation Commission (USSR) awarded him a Doctor of Science degree. In this period, he was also honoured with the state prize of the Russian Ministry of Defense (1990) and a prize from the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1991. In addition he has served as Member of the Council of the Union (former-USSR) for the Physics of Materials Resistance and Fracture (Russia, 1991–92). In 1992, Professor Balankin immigrated to Mexico and in 2000 became a Mexican citizen.

In 1997 Professor Balankin joined the Department of Electromechanical Engineering at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), after holding a position as full professor in the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education at Mexico City from 1992 to 1997. He also serves as an Adviser of the Mexican Institute of Petroleum and the Mexican Transport Institute and as a Consultant of the Mexican National Petroleum Company (PEMEX).

Since 2003 Professor Balankin is a Counselor of the Science Consulting Council of the President’s Office, Mexico. He is a National Researcher of the highest level from the National System of Researchers and member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences. He has also held a number of other prestigious positions in Mexico, among them as a Counselor of the Membership Committee of the National System of Researchers (1999–2003) and as the Chairman of the Fracture Mechanics Symposium at the Annual International Materials Research Congress (1998–2009).

Sergei Alexander Trofimoff-Ambrosimoff, elder son of Pavel Trofimoff and grandson of Wilhem Ambrosimoff, born in the Russian exile, after the collapse of the Provisional all Russian Government of Admiral Alexander Kolchak at Vladivostok 1920. He was raised in different places where his father worked in the Petroleum Industry including: Tehuantepec-Veracruz, Mexico city, The Hidalgo state and finally southern California ( Pasadena), where he attended a public school together with his cousins, the children of the Sokoloff-Solovieva family in the 1930s. He finished the first cycle of his undergraduate Chemistry course work in 1958 at UAEH in Pachuca, Hidalgo, and graduate with honors Chemistry Licentiate at the National Autonomous University of Mexico city in 1966, in the same school that few years later studied Dr Mario J. Molina, Chemistry Nobel prize 1995.

S Alexander Trofimoff started to work since undergraduate for multiple European Multinational companies based in Mexico city for the Latin American Market since the late 1950s to the beginning of the 1980s developing an industry executive career: in Paper Industry (Kimberly-Clarck), Pharmaceuticals(Kendall), Cosmetics (Helena Rubinstein labs) and Electrochemical ( Koblenz electric) industry. He married in Sta Fe de Bogota, on 1965 Marina Aldana-Dossmann, one of the first women bank executives of Colombia (Banco Aleman Antioqueno-Bancoquia-Almagran), Columbian-born from German-Spanish ancestry with Finance studies at Miami City University in the 1950s. He moved back to Mexico city in 1966, after to have finished the opening of a Kendall plant in Bogota, where he continued his career, with periodic brief temporary work seasons in Europe and other countries of the Caribbean, in the 1970s, until he died in 1981. His two sons, that were educated abroad settled down in Mexico City in the early 2000s.

Alexander Erick Trofimoff-Aldana, his elder son, He graduate twice bachelor's degree (EE and IT) at Universidad del Valle (Colombia) in 1995 and 1996, Technology Ed. Specialist of St Bonaventure University (1998), Business Informatics Licentiate at UNIVER (Mexico city 2005), Master of Science in General Statistics ( UTexas 2008) and Master of Science in Industrial Mathematics (UTexas) 2009. He has pursued Doctoral studies of Engineering in Robotics at Drexel University and has professional recognition as a Visual & Plastic creative Designer and Artist granted by the Culture and Education Ministry of Columbia (2002), due to work merits in that field and Fine Arts studies he carried out as part of a cultural exchange program with Russia in the late 1980s, as well as an honorary Pi Gamma Mu membership since 2010 for his research on Quantitative finance.

Alexander E. Trofimoff was Technology Curriculum analyst of the Industrial Automation center of SENA University in Colombia (1999), Visual Design Instructor at the Cultural Center of Mexico City and Alexander Von Humboldt College of Naucalpan (2000), Databases Instructor of DGESCA-UNAM 2001-2, ERP support analyst of Order Entry group of Cisco systems (2003–04); Lab Instructor and Researcher of the Physics Department and Gravitational waves Astronomy center of NASA at UT Brownsville (2005–06), Mathematics Department of the UT Arlington (2007–08), and Dr Frank Lewis' distributive control team at the Automation Robotics Research Institute at Fort Worth (2009–11), Texas. In 2012 worked in mathematical and statistical modeling applied to Materials Analysis Dr Surja Kalidindi's team of Mechanical Engineering School of Georgia Tech. Since 2013 works in the Adaptive Signal Processing and Information Theory Research Group, ECE department, Drexel University, Philadelphia.

Ivan Trofimoff-Aldana younger son of Sergei Alexander Trofimoff, is graduate of the Electronics Engineering Technology Bachelor program of Universidad del Valle (Colombia), as well as the Industrial Mechanics Program of the SENA University ( Colombia) in 2002. He owns the Company Automatizaciones and Controles Trofimoff in Mexico city, an industrial automation consulting firm that also offers personnel training and maintenance in the industrial zone of Vallejo in the Mexico City, Federal District.

Pablo Trofimoff-Bustamante second son of Pavel Trofimoff was a Mechanical Engineer graduate of the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, In 1970, he got married to Bertha Fernandez Herrera and they had two children, he was President of the Mexican employers Association Coparmex in 1992–93. He died in 1999. His younger son Pablo Trofimoff Fernandez graduate Licentiate in Psychology at Universidad del Valle de Mexico in 2001. His elder Sister Bertha Adriana Trofimoff Fernandez graduate Licentiate in Graphic Design at Universidad del Valle de México 1997.

Francisco Ilya Trofimoff-Cuevas, another grandson of Pavel Trofimoff, as well as grandson of the famous Mexican diplomat Dr Francisco Cuevas Cancino, Mexican Ambassador in the United Nations in the 1960s, is graduate Licentiate in Law from the Jesuit University Iberoamericana of Mexico City. He is at present Director of the Analysis and diffusion office at External Relationships Secretary of Mexico.

His brother Ivan Trofimoff-Cuevas has a Masters (M.A.) of Clinical Sexology from the University of Quebec in Montreal, a Master (M.A.) of Clinical Psychology from the Institute of Couples Therapy in Mexico City, and a Bachelor (B.A.) of Clinical Psychology from the Iberoamericana University in Mexico City. He is a member of the New Zealand Psychological Society, the Canadian Counselling Association and the Mexican Association of Sexology. He currently lives in Quebec, Canada.

In 1993 Ivan Trofimoff-Cuevas became the first Latin American to reach the North Pole by foot. He has performed a successful expeditioner carrier along many years taking part in various international expeditions to the Arctic. 1994 he became the first Latin American to have crossed Greenland on Skis.

Leonardo Nierman (born November 1, 1932), full name Leonardo Nierman Mendelejis, is a Mexican artist mostly known for his painting and sculpture. He at first wanted to be a violinist, but gave it up after twenty years when he compared a recording of his playing with that of Yehudi Menuhin. However, his musical training has been a major influence on his painting and sculpture, reproducing movement and harmony as Nierman sees similarities between the two disciplines. Nierman has had exhibitions in Mexico and abroad and over 60 recognitions of his work, half of which are from outside of Mexico. His work is abstract but still with discernible images from nature such as birds, water, lightning and more. His paintings are in pure colors while his sculptures are generally of metal, often silver-toned.

Leonardo Nierman Mendelejis was born in Mexico City on November 1, 1932. He is the only child of Clara Mendelejis, a bakery worker and Chanel Nierman, a bus inspector who later started a small jacket factory. Nierman’s parents arrived to Mexico in the mid-1920s, his father from Lithuania and his mother from the Ukraine both poor. The two met in Mexico

Arnold Belkin (December 9, 1930 – July 3, 1992) was a Canadian-born Mexican painter, from Russian Ancestry, credited for continuing the Mexican muralism tradition at a time when many Mexican painters were shifting away from it. Born and raised in western Canada, he trained as an artist there but was not drawn to traditional Canadian art. Instead he was inspired by images of Diego Rivera’s work in a magazine to move to Mexico when he was only eighteen. He studied further in Mexico, focusing his education and his career mostly on murals, creating a type of work he called a "portable mural" as a way to adapt it to new architectural style. He also had a successful career creating canvas works as well with several notable series of paintings. He spent most of his life and career in Mexico except for a stay in New York City in the late 1960s to mid-1970s. His best known works are the murals he created for the University Autónoma Metropolitana in the Iztapalapa borough of Mexico City.

Ilya Salkind was born August 27, 1947, in Mexico City, Mexico, the son of Berta Dominguez, a Mexican novelist, and Russian-French producer Alexander Salkind. At the age of one, Salkind was photographed sitting on the lap of Zsa Zsa Gabor. His grandfather, Mikhail Salkind, was one of the pioneers of silent films and produced Joyless Street (1925), featuring then-relatively-unknown Greta Garbo in her first major role. Afterwards, Mikhail, along with Ilya's own father, Alexander Salkind, joined their forces to supervise many successful films, from Orson Welles' The Trial (1962) to Abel Gance's Austerlitz (1959). Beginning in 1969, Ilya Salkind became the third generation of this legendary movie-making dynasty. He and Alexander made numerous films, starting with the international box office hits The Three Musketeers (1973) and its 1974 follow-up, The Four Musketeers films, the first instance of which a major motion picture and its immediate sequel were shot simultaneously.

Ilya and Alexander, along with producing partner Pierre Spengler, purchased the film rights to the Superman property in August 1974. It was agreed that the Salkinds would produce and supervise filming on Superman and Superman II simultaneously, as had been the case with The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers. Securing the film rights from DC Comics was an unbearable experience for the producers, as Spengler was forced to spend two weeks in meetings with DC executives for the specific purpose of establishing an "Integrity of the character" clause.

After Mario Moreno death, in 1993, a 12-year legal battle ensued between Mario Moreno Ivanova, Cantinflas' son and heir to his estate, and the actor's blood nephew, Eduardo Moreno Laparade over the control of 34 films made by Cantinflas. The nephew claimed his uncle gave him a written notice to the rights for movies on his deathbed. Moreno Ivanova argued he is the direct heir of Cantinflas and the rights belong to him. Moreno Laparade won the lawsuit twice, but Moreno Ivanova eventually triumphed after two appeals. In 2005, Mario Moreno Ivanova, Jr. won rights to 39 films and name. At the same time, another legal battle ensued between Columbia Pictures and Moreno Ivanova over control of these films. Columbia claims that it bought the rights to the 34 films four decades ago with the court noting several discrepancies in the papers. Moreno Ivanova wanted the rights to the films to remain his and more generally, Mexico's, as a national treasure. On June 2, 2001, the eight-year battle was resolved with Columbia retaining ownership over the 34 disputed films.

In 2011 Mario Moreno-Ivanova was central figure in some of the most important public acts arranged by the Mexican media on the celebration of the centenary of the birth of his father Mario Moreno.

Notable Russian-Mexicans[edit]



Olga Breeskin
  • Sergei Eisenstein - Soviet Russian film director and film theorist, temporary lived in Mexico.
  • Emmanuel Lubezki - Mexican cinematographer of Russian descent.
  • Ilya Salkind - Mexican film and television producer of Russian descent.
  • Noel Schajris, Argentine-born Mexican singer-songwriter and pianist of German, Ukrainian/Russian and Spanish descent.
  • Fannie Kauffman, Canadian-born Mexican actress and comedian of German, Romanian and Russian descent.
  • Kristoff Raczyñski, Russian-born Mexican actor, film producer, screenwriter and TV host of Polish origin.
  • Elias Breeskin, Russian-born Mexican violinist, composer and conductor.
  • Olga Breeskin, Mexican violinist, dancer and actress of Russian descent.
  • Arcady Boytler, Russian-born Mexican producer, screenwriter, and director.
  • Siouzana Melikián, Ukrainian-born Mexican actress of Russian and Armenian descent.
  • Sergio Olhovich, Indonesian-born Mexican film director and screenwriter of Russian descent.
  • Vladislav Badiarov, Russian-born Mexican violinist.
  • Jacques Gelman, Russian-born Mexican film producer
  • Ana Layevska, Ukrainian-born Mexican singer and actress of Russian origin.
  • Valentín Pimstein, Chilean-born Mexican producer of telenovelas to Russian-Jewish parents.
  • José Besprosvany, Mexican dancer, choreographer, director and teacher of Russian Jewish descent.
  • Claudia Salinas, Mexican model, actress and former ballerina to Russian Ashkenazi mother.
  • Philip Saltzman, Mexican-born American executive producer and television writer to Russian Jewish parents.


  • Margo Glantz - Mexican writer, essayist, critic and academic, daughter of Ukrainian Jews immigrant.
  • Sara Sefchovich, Mexican writer of Russian Jewish descent.


  • Senya Fleshin - Soviet Russian-born Mexican anarchist and photographer.
  • Mollie Steimer - Russian-born Mexican anarchist.
  • Leon Trotsky - Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army.


See also[edit]



  • Azen Krauze, Corinne; Katz de Gugenheim, Ariela (1987), Los judíos en México: una historia con énfasis especial en el período de 1857 a 1930/The Jews in Mexico: a history with special emphasis on the period 1857 to 1930, Universidad Iberoamericana, ISBN 9789688590225 
  • Hardwick, Susan Wiley (1993), Russian refuge: religion, migration, and settlement on the North American Pacific rim, Geography Research Paper Series, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 9780226316116 

Further reading[edit]

  • Story, Sydney Rochelle (1960), Spiritual Christians in Mexico: profile of a Russian village, Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, OCLC 17406191 
  • Muranaka, Therese Adams (1988), Spirit jumpers: the Russian Molokans of Baja California, Ethnic technology notes, 21, San Diego: Museum of Man, ISBN 9780937808467, OCLC 18928066 

External links[edit]