Various

Paris and Russians

For very long time all over the world France is called the country of emigrants. To argue with it has no sense as natives of other states (especially from the former colonies) are very numerous. To be convinced of it it’s enough to have a look at the international sports competitions in which representatives of France take part. The brightest example is the national team on football. Our article is not about it, in it we would like to tell about what place among numerous Diasporas of Paris occupies Russian community. And many of us perfectly know that there is the Russian Diaspora in the capital of France, but it is written about it a little.

For the first time Russian immigrants have appeared in Paris in the nineteenth century. Naturally, single instances were earlier, but at that time it became the fashionable phenomenon when numerous representatives of noble families came on a constant place of residence to France with a purpose to join high European culture, to study language of Molière, Beaumarchais, Voltaire and other legendary historic figures. The first who had an opportunity to estimate delights of the French capital were soldiers of Kutuzov army who have won over Emperor Napoleon army at Waterloo in 1814. And as among them there were many officers from notable Russian families it is no wonder that the Russian nobility has very quickly learned about delights and charm of Paris.

But, the quantity of emigrants which was observed for the next hundred years doesn’t come within miles of that mass flight of inhabitants of the Russian Empire that has been noted after Bolshevist revolution in 1917. Thousands of noblemen, representatives of political, cultural, scientific elite of the country have been compelled to throw all property on “worry” of the new power simply to save their lives. Also many Russian soldiers battling on the French territories during the First World War, after news from the native land have made decision not to come back and to remain in France in hope of the better life. The Russian emigrants who have rendered in Paris have faced with not pleasant conditions and lives. They had to undertake any accessible work simply to survive.

In spite of the fact that in the early twenties of the last century the French government recognized the Soviet Union and has established diplomatic relations, Paris became the center of the Russian political opposition. Here in 1933-35 Trotsky who has become the furious opponent of Stalin took cover.

Before the Second World War the Russian Diaspora in Paris constantly increased thanks to inflow of new emigrants. In this connection the Russian orthodox temples filled with parishioners, cultural societies rapidly developed. In the thirties in all France lived about three hundred thousand natives of Russia.

After the end of war here it has appeared about hundred thousand Soviet prisoners of war the majority of which has quickly enough gone towards the United States of America. By 1946 there remained no more than sixty thousand natives of our country in France.

The following immigration wave from the USSR to Paris has been noted in the seventies of the twentieth century when hundreds of Soviet citizens refused to return home from official journeys. The brightest example is the non-return to Russia of the ingenious musician Rostropovich who has returned home only after the Union collapse.

Nowadays the Russian Diaspora in France totals about five thousand people having the French passport, but despite such small number, among these people there are well-known representatives of creative trades who bring the big contribution to development of the all-European culture, introducing in it a particle of Russian culture.

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