Post by WolfBear
How exactly do you get large numbers of ethnic Russians to immigrate to
the U.S. in the 19th century? After all, a lot of Germans, English,
Irish, and--slightly later on--Italians and Jews immigrated to the U.S.
in the 19th century. However, ethnic Russians never immigrated to the
U.S. en masse during this time (with the main immigrants to the U.S.
from Russia likely being minorities--specifically Jews, Volga Germans,
The problem is that vast areas of the Russian Empire were available for
Russian peasants' emigration. As Doug Muir once noted in this group: "Well,
they emigrated to Siberia, to Central Asia, to the northern Caucasus, and to
the big cities. Central Asia gets neglected. But Kazakhstan alone absorbed
nearly a million Russian immigrants between 1890 and 1914. That's a pretty
big safety valve." And as he notes, a lot of Russian peasants were just too
poor to afford a ticket...
(According to Stephen Thernstrom (in *Immigrants in Two Democracies: French
and American Experience,* edited by Donald L. Horowitz, pp. 91-92, "At the
turn of the century, the data on American ethnic groups provided
by the Bureau of the Census and other federal agencies grew in volume and
became considerably more refined. Beginning in 1899, immigration
officials went beyond the crude compilations of figures by country of
origin and began to distunguish newcomers by 'race or people,' allowing
the student of immigration to separate Armenians from Turks, and to
distinguish the many peoples from the Russian and Austro-Hungarian
Empires. Thus it can be determined that a mere 2 percent of the more than
six hundred thousand immigrants from Russia who arrived in the years 1899-
1904 were actually ethnic Russians; 42 percent of them were Jews, 27
percent Finns, and 10 percent Lithuanians..."