Staunton, April 17 – Almost any Moscow move in foreign affairs today leads Russian commentators to discuss the past of the regions most directly affected, a pattern that sheds light on people and events that all too often have been sadly neglected up to now. One happy example of this is new attention to the typically-neglected Russian emigrations to Latin America.
While Russian emigrations to Europe, China, Australia and the US have all found their historians in both Russia and the West, the Russian emigrations to Latin America have not or at least to nothing like the same degree. A new article by Moscow historian Yaroslav Butakov suggests that may be changing (russian7.ru/post/zachem-russkie-yemigranty-sbegali-v-lat/).
He provides a schematic outline of the waves of emigration, first religious in the 19th century, then political and military in the 1920s and 1930s, and most recently economic after 1991, building on the work of a small number of other Russian historians. (For a listing of them, see footnote 11 of armyupress.army.mil/Journals/Military-Review/English-Edition-Archives/November-December-2018/Fonseca-Russia-Latam/).
Unfortunately, Butakov does refer to the greatest Russian historian of the Latin American Russian emigrations, Prince Mikhail Karachevsky-Karateyev, who was a member of the post-1927 emigration and discussed it in his In the Footsteps of the Conquistadors (in Russian; Buenos Aires, 1972; available in electronic form at moreknig.org/dokumentalnaya-literatura/biografii-i-memuary/101429-po-sledam-konkvistadorov.html).
Karachevsky-Karateyev’s paper are available in the archives of Columbia University (findingaids.library.columbia.edu/ead/nnc-rb/ldpd_4077649/dsc/2), and one can only hope that Butakov’s article and the new interest in this part of the Russian diaspora will lead to its exploitation.
The author of these lines had the privilege of corresponding with the prince in the years before his death in 1978 – and is proud to have an autographed copy of Po sledam konkvistadorov in his library -- and can testify that his knowledge of the Latin American emigration was truly encyclopedic.