Russian-Chinese families in the 20th century: Emergence and characteristics1

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This may well be the first article about the history of mixed Russian-Chinese families in Russia and the USSR. The study is based on sources in federal, regional and local archives, mainly of Siberia and the Far East, statistics, and the press. It notes that the great gender imbalance in almost exclusively male Chinese migrant community meant that Chinese men chose Russian women as life partners. The decline of Russia’s male population during the First World War and the Civil War only exacerbated this trend. First recorded in the late nineteenth century, this phenomenon became widespread during the twentieth, not only in the Far East, but also in other areas with large populations of Chinese workers, such as Donbass. Wives in such marriages were mainly peasant women, although on occasion Cossack women and even noblewomen, often widows, took Chinese husbands. The brides were invariably younger than their spouses and tended to be housewives. However, some worked with their husbands in small businesses. These mixed couples tended to have fewer children than those that were fully Russian. The vagaries of Sino-Soviet relations during the twentieth century led to several waves of deportations of such families. Thus, in 1938 some were exiled from their places of residence to Xinjiang, Kazakhstan or the Amur region. While forced migrations considerably reduced the size of the Chinese community, they did not destroy it. The authors conclude that new Chinese immigration to Post-Soviet Russia follows the pattern set in the twentieth century’s first half, as do mixed marriages.

About the authors

Vladimir G. Datsyshen

Siberian Federal University

Author for correspondence.

Doktor istoricheskikh nauk [Dr. habil. hist.], professor and head of the Department of World History, Siberian Federal University, Professor of the Department of World History, Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University.

82 A, Svobodny Av., Krasnoyarsk, 660041, Russia

Larisa A. Kutilova

Siberian Federal University


Kandidat istoricheskikh nauk [Ph.D. in History], Associate Professor at the Department of World History, Siberian Federal University.

82 A, Svobodny Av., Krasnoyarsk, 660041, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2019 Vladimir G.D., Larisa A.K.

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