Staunton, May 10 – Traditionally, Russian historians speak of four “waves” of Russian emigration: the first immediately after the Bolshevik revolution, the second during World War II, the third between 1965 and 1988, and the fourth in the period at the very end of Soviet power and then its collapse, Ilya Klishin says.
The Moscow journalist says members of each of these emigrations have seldom been able to find a common language because they left for different reasons and are critical of others who did not leave when they did. Now, this inability to cooperate is more significant because the intervals between the waves are getting shorter (theins.ru/opinions/ilya-klishin/261485).
In the last two years, there was a wave that followed Putin’s launch of an expanded war against Ukraine, a second that followed his partial mobilization, and subsequent departures reflecting a variety of causes. Given the history of Russian emigrations, it should surprise no one that these various groups look askance at each other.
Unfortunately for understanding, Klishin says, most people both in Russia and the West speak of those who left after February 2022 as if they were a single emigration wave. But that isn’t true; and therefore no one should expect these various smaller waves to come together if for no other reason than each views the others as having been in some ways mistaken.
At the very least, analysts and commentators should be open to the fact that the Russians who left their country because of Putin’s war in Ukraine did so for a multitude of reasons and that they thus form a number of smaller waves and not just one large one as many seem to continue to think.