Presentations (Communicative Events)

First and Second Waves of Russophone Immigration to the USA

Matich, Olga

This presentation will be focused on the Russian faculty of the Defense Language Institute, the military ’s primary language school located in Monterey, California, and established in 1947. The number of Russian teachers over the years has ranged between 100 and 300 at its height during the Reagan years; they came from all three emigrations – post-revolutionary (1920s), post-war (1940s), and late Soviet (1970s-1980s). I will look especially closely at the period between the mid-1950s through the 1970s, which I observed at close range as someone who grew up in that Russian community. Besides describing its overall socio-political and ethnic origins and views, I will focus on some of DLIs most interesting teachers – in their own right or because of their backgrounds – and on the relationship between the three emigrations. Among the teachers were perhaps the best Second Wave poet Nikolai Morshen; major literary scholar Vladimir Markov cultural attaché to the Soviet Union Nikita Moravsky; Voice of America commentator and Russian aristocrat Constantine Grigorovich Barsky, for whom the DLI was merely a stepping stone, as well as former Soviet colonel and Vlasovite general, Sergei Markov, for whom the DLI was their last haven. My perspective on the subject is that of witness (as daughter of one of the teachers) and as someone who has long worked in the field of émigré studies.

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Harriman Institute
Published Here
September 20, 2013