Russian Mexicans

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Russian Mexicans
Русские Мексиканцы
ruso-mexicanos
Total population
1,606 Russian nationals residing in the country (2015)[1]
Unknown number of Mexicans of Russian descent
Languages
Mexican Spanish, Russian
Religion
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]

Notable Russian-Mexicans[edit]

Artist[edit]

Entertainment[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.

Literature[edit]

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

Politics[edit]

  • 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.

Science[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[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]