WASHINGTON, October 28 (RIA Novosti) – A new website launched this month is devoted to the rapidly growing Russian-speaking communities of Oregon, and to Russian immigrants and descendants who now reside in the Pacific Northwest, a group that has “expanded significantly” in the last 20 years, said researchers from Portland’s Lewis & Clark College in announcing the new site.
According to the research quoted on the site, “Almost 100,000 people from the former Soviet Union now call Oregon their home.”
Despite its size, “the Russian-community in Oregon is very large but it is mostly invisible,” possibly “due to its whiteness” and conservative Christian religion, which allows it to blend in more than Asian or Latin American immigrant communities, said project director Tatiana Osipovich, an associate professor of Russian Studies at Lewis & Clark, in an email to RIA Novosti.
“By making this website I wanted to provide more information about this under-studied and under-represented community and maybe even begin a meaningful collaboration between some of its groups,” Osipovich added.
The site, funded through a faculty-student research grant, traces the history of four primary groups of Russian immigrants who’ve settled in and around Oregon: Orthodox Christians, who came to Oregon from Russia by way of Alaska in the late 1800s; Jewish immigrants who began to arrive in the 1880s; Old Believers who broke away from the teachings of the Russian Orthodox church as far back as the mid-1600s; and evangelical Christians, many of them attracted to the Pacific Northwest in recent years by religious networks and sponsors.
Unlike some other US-Russian websites which primarily “provide world news in Russian, advertise and facilitate dating services,” the new website called Russian-Speaking Communities in Oregon, “really does serve the community in the meaningful way by giving them historical, social and cultural information,” said Osipovich.
“We need to know about each other and our own history,” she said.