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Key words
pre-revolutionary emigration, Russians, Australia, diaspora, identity
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: +61 (2) 6125 -51-11
Canberra ACT 2600, Australia
PhD (History), Adjunct Research Fellow, College of Arts & Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

This article raises questions regarding the ethno-cultural identity of early Russian emigres in Australia, who arrived in this country on the eve of the First world war. The opinions of scholars on whether these immigrants can be considered a diaspora diverge. The author of the article makes an attempt to present, on the basis of archival sources, memoirs, and the Australian press, the forms of diasporic institutionalization among these early settlers, which took place in the absence of such traditionally unifying institutions as the Russian Orthodox Church. The evolution of the identity of these immigrants is further explored in the context of their subsequent life in Australia, which mainly existed apart from diasporic institutions created by immigrants of subsequent waves. The author’s research, in particular interviews with the descendants and relatives of these immigrants, reveals a specific type of Russian identity which is not manifested through such traditional ethno-cultural markers as language, religion, and food, but through deeper elements of the heritage of Russian humanistic culture in spite of the immigrants’ full external integration in Australian society.


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