Russian ethnic group in China immigrated from Tsarist Russia in the beginning of the 18th century. In the late 18th century, large numbers of Russians immigrated into China because they could not bear the brutal rule of Tsarist Russia. In the late 19th century then, before and after the October Revolution, more Russians poured from West Siberia to north Xinjiang, Northeast provinces of China and northeast Inner Mongolia. After the October Revolution, more batches of Russians came to China to flee from the war. Back then they were called “Guihua Zu (naturalisation group)”, and the villages they live in were called “Guihua Cun (naturalization villages)”.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, they were recognised to be one of the ethnic minorities of China and changed name to “Russian ethnic minority”, enjoying the same equal rights as other ethnic minorities. The daily life, material and culture are basically the same as Russians in Russia.
Because of being not very long since their immigration into China, many of Russians still have their own families and friends in the countries of the former Soviet Union. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, their relations were resumed, and many of them asked to return to their own countries and reunite with their family. In the 1950s, after the agreement of governments of China and Soviet Union, China helped those return to their own countries. In addition, some Russians moved to countries such as Australia and Canada, where they had family. Therefore, the Russian ethnic minority enjoys a decreasing number of population.
They had achieved a fairly high level of development in production and culture. But under reactionary rule, they were exploited and oppressed. The Russians living in urban areas now work mainly in industry, transport, finance, trade and medicine.
Besides, before the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Russians living in towns were mostly employed in various repairing businesses, transport, handicrafts, horticulture, animal husbandry and bee-keeping. In rural areas, groups of about 10 Russian families lived together in small villages. They reclaimed and cultivated the wasteland on the banks of the Ili and Tekes rivers.
Although the Russian ethnic group in China has a small population, it has deputies to the National People's Congress and the regional People's Congress. They take an active part in running state and regional affairs.
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