Russians in America: The Third Wave

Resource Guide


How does one document "The Third Wave"? There is the historical record, primary documents such as books, journals, newspapers. Others have written on "The Third Wave," its participants and its products. Libraries and librarians, some who specialize in the field of Slavic, offer not only original materials or copies, but also in many cases bibliographical tools to aid the researcher. There are bibliographies compiled that summarize or collect sources and their locations. Increasingly there are websites that can offer anything from overviews and electronic resources, and in themselves point to other sources. There are non-text items, graphics, video and audio documents or records. These are as a rule more difficult to locate. Finally there is the living breathing world of Russians in America today, with a print, pictorial, radio, television and an internet presence. The veritable mass of information is overwhelming not only for staffs stretched thin by budgetary considerations, but in the acquisition and the cataloguing. The internet and its resources are formidable, far-reaching and provide anyone with access to holdings that exceed all the research libraries in the world. Selectivity and identification of segments of the material have to be verified and then adequately studied. This is just a beginning. While I have looked at the theme of the Third Wave in America historically, there is a vibrant Russian cultural community alive and flourishing in the New York Metropolitan area and in particular in Brooklyn in the area around Brighton Beach. From restaurants and shops to theater performances attracting the biggest Moscow stars, Russian America is alive and well. A good starting point is the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza) or the Brighton Beach Branch. The library actually has a web site in Russian.


For simplicity sake we have categorized this as literature by authors during "The Third Wave" period we have classified as from 1974-1986 and literature about the period and those authors. The primary literature appeared as books published in the West, either in Russian or in translation. There was also ample opportunity to publish in periodical literature, newspapers, journals, collections, either in the United States or other countries outside of Russia during the period. More recently we have noticed the return of "émigré" literature to Russia where there is a booming business in reprints or printing of original memoirs of the period.

The secondary literature, of which there is a substantial amount in English and in Russian, most often concentrates on individual writers, such as Brodsky (Бродский), Solzhenitsyn (Солженицын), Sokolov (Соколов), Limonov (Лимонов), etc. One reference work that attempts to capture the entire phenomenon is the excellent study by John Glad, Russia Abroad (1999). David Andrews in Sociocultural Perspectives on Language Change in Diaspora: Soviet immigrants in the United States (Phildelphia:1999) re-iterates that "regardless of ethnicity, the Third wave is linguistically Russian" (5). He also notes the pride in Russian language and culture shared by these émigrés/immigrants. (27). Andrews like most Americans looks to those who have come to our shores as immigrants, versus the Russian perspective that they were emigrants. Olga Matich (Ольга Матич) has an article on "Диаспора как отстранение" Russian Studies, II, 2 (1996). She notes the very limited interest of American Slavists to the emigration at all, given their need to embrace all of Russian literature (165). See also David Arans. Русские книги за рубежом: 1980-1985. (NY: Russica).


The journal Диаспора publishing since 2001 in Russian under the editorship of Vladimir Alloi provides an outlet for articles and materials on Russian emigration. Other journals, for example, Дружба народов, some available electronically also cover the topic.

Libraries and Archives

Links to Major Libraries

Several American libraries are well known repositories of information and materials about and by Russians: The Library of Congress, The New York Public Library, Harvard University, Yale University, The University of Illinois, The University of California Berkeley, The Hoover Institute and Green Library at Stanford University. Significant archival materials related to The Third Wave exist at Amherst College, Columbia University, the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

There are other institutions, the Jewish Historical Society, the American Jewish Committee, the C.A.S.E. Museum of Contemporary Russian Art, the Russian Center in San Francisco, all with valuable holdings. Other materials may be in private collections, such as those related to the editorial offices of the leading newspapers, journals and publishing houses of the time.

One should not overlook a unique collection largely devoted to documenting the phenomenon of Samizdat, but that also holds valuable collections of newspapers and journals, the Osteuropa Institut at the University of Bremen, Germany. Assembled largely by the efforts of Garik Superfin (Гарик Суперфин), himself a subject worthy of study, the collections are to be documented in several books scheduled for publication in the fall of 2007. The library and archives, for example, hold the papers of Vladimir Maksimov (Владимир Максимов), but until catalogued, they remain unavailable to scholars.

The Slavic Reference Service at the University of Illinois can provide free advice and help in providing information. They also have a virtual reference desk .

The Library at the University of California-Berkeley has a wonderful collection of Russian emigre publications. A description and overview can be obtained here.

An essential starting place should be A Guide to Slavic Collections in the United States and Canada, by Allan Urbanic and Beth Feinberg (2004). It was co-published simultaneously in Slavic and East European Information Resources, Volume 5, Numbers 3/4 (2004).

Several other bibliographic resources in English are essential.

Solanus International Journal for Russian and East European Bibliographic, Library and Publishing Studies. The New Series begins in 1987. Vol. I 1987 provides an index to the previous 210 issues. Vol. XI (1997) contains an index to the first ten volumes of the New Series.

Leonid Khotin (Леонид Хотин) directed a project beginning in 1981 Abstracts of Soviet and East European Émigré Periodical Literature. This has become Зарубежная периодическая печать на русском языке. Ежеквартальный реферативный журнал.

A series of articles by Mark Kulikowski, "In the Mainstream: Russian Emigre Bibliography Since 1917," Solanus, new series, 21 (2007), pp 76-86.

"The Tradition Continues: Russian Emigre Bibliography Since 1917," Solanus, new series, 17 (2003), pp 50-57.

"Russian Emigre Bibliography: Another Look," Solanus, new series, 14 (2000), pp 58-67.

"The Bibliography of Russian Emigre Publications Since 1917: An Update," Solanus, new series, 9 (1995), pp 15-23.

"A Neglected Source: The Bibliography of Russian Emigre Publications Since 1917," Solanus, new series, 3 (1989), pp 89-102.


"Российская диаспора в США." Континент, 110 (2001),

В зеркале трех эмиграций. Елена Скарлыгина.

A New York City Slav blog offers English links with an interesting story in The New York Times

The Internet

A veritable library or collection of libraries at your finger tips. The medium itself defies cataloging-except by giants such as Google. Nonetheless any attempt to document for scholars The Third Wave should include a preliminary guide to these materials. An excellent source is offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A direct link to the Bibliographic page is here.

Most major US college libraries provide access to WorldCat, a powerful search engine for US library holdings. The issue of transliteration sometimes makes it unreliable. The American Bibliography of Slavic and Еast European Studies is also on line.

The web has thousands of sites devoted to Russian literature. Many sites link to other sites. A handful of starters is here:

Фундаментальная электронная библиотека

One can always examine the holdings at Harvard University that often has rare items.

Russian Abroad: An Internet Encyclopedia offers invaluable information.

The Russian magazine Chaika also provided online offers important contributions including memoirs of Russians living in the United States.

The Open Society Archives in Hungary contain valuable material, in particular related to the human rights period in Soviet affairs.

The Virtuelle Fachbibliothek Osteuropa provides a search capacity for German libraries.

A Google search for Брайтон Бич (Brighton Beach) offers novel insights into this area settled largely by Russian immigrants. Historically and contemporarily, the region is a rich starting point for looking at Russians in America.

Russian-America today is broadly represented on the internet. One can read Russian, shop in Russian, chat in Russian, listen to Russian radio, watch Russian television. A good starting point is the web site for russianNY. The appearance of a rambler search engine site devoted specifically to Russian New York is another indication of the power of the purse, and the size of the ethnic Russian population in the US today. Including but beyond the borders of New York there is the website of Russian America.

Russian Net America

Библиотека фонд "Русское Зарубежье"

A link to an internet Conference organized to examine some of the questions concerning Russians Abroad.

Sad that one of the most valuable sites, Русское Зарубежье, sponsored by IREX has apparently disappeared

Kаталог A link to numerous web sites of periodicals and electronic information.

RusInternet has an on-line journal devoted to the Emigration: Эмигрант.


Audio and Video

Attempts to digitize earlier materials are in the infancy stage. But the emerging technology of transmitting audio and video data or reference to where materials reside is provided.

Tracking down films and videos is a challenge. For example the New York Times of July 1, 1982 reported on "'SOVIET DISSIDENTS IN EXILE,' a half-hour film on WNET-TV at 10:40 tonight, focuses on the feelings of five human-rights activists as they were forced to leave their native Soviet Union and move to the United States. The men are Joseph Brodsky (Иосиф Бродский), Vladimir Bukovsky (Владимир Буковский), Alexander Ginzburg (Александр Гинзбург), Pavel Litvinov (Павел Литвинов) and Boris Shragin (Борис Шрагин)."

John Glad did a series of video interviews with Russian writers in the 1980s. Once difficult to find, John made copies of the materials available to me for digitization.

Russians in America Today

There are Russian books, journals, newspapers, radio stations, television programs all produced in the United States and literally dozens of websites targeted at Russians in America today. And such old friends as Radio Liberty continue to offer Russian programming aimed primarily at those inside Russia-but also available to Russians abroad. Here is just a beginning:

Russians Abroad

Russian America

Russian Link

Russian New York

Russia Today




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