One hundred years ago, our ancestors in the First Wave of Russian emigration left Russian territory, fleeing the 1917 Revolution and the Civil War, experiencing loss, deracination and a sense of irrelevance. Yet they never abandoned being Russian, creating an independent, active and free “Russia Abroad” that stayed substantially coherent till the descent into WW2.

We are restarting our lectures with the 5th Wave in mind, trying to address their concerns by presenting the experience of our ancestors who when facing similar choices, picked an émigré life “from suitcases” hoping to stay relevant to Russia’s fate and for an eventual return.

On Saturday, May 20th, at 1 pm EDT, our Zoom event will originate in Istanbul, the first stop of the Russian diaspora’s journey, from a 100-year-old Russian Café Rejans that had been frequented by some of our ancestors. Our dear friend Dr. Anatol Shmelev of the Hoover Institution will return to explain the history, and Timur Saitov of SUNY Binghamton will add some specific comments. Panelists will join us for dinner and will include members of the 5th Wave whose first stop also happened to be Istanbul.



Image: A page of a scrapbook prepared for Charles Davis, American Red Cross Director, by residents of a Russian Towns Union orphanage in Constantinople established by the ARC. Credit: Charles Claflin Davis visual materials collection, Harvard Law School Library.