The Spokane area has a great history of eastern European immigrations that have come in three waves. The first began during World War I, and following the Russian Bolshevik’s Revolution of 1917. The second began during World War II and after. The third happened during and after Perestroika in the former USSR. Many Americans in the greater Spokane area have Slavic or “Russian” roots! Today we have approximately over 30,000 Russian-speaking new immigrants from all over the former Soviet Republics, who came here during and after the collapse of the Soviet regime. About 90% of them came here as religious refugees, who were terribly persecuted by the atheistic Soviet Communists for being Christian believers. Most of them are Russians and Ukrainians. There are also many people from Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kirghistan, and other Eastern and Baltic countries.
Most of these Christians have large families, striving to keep family morals and Christian standards very high. They all are very hard workers, with great work experience in many areas. They value education, work, religion, and family. After 5 years in this country most of them become good citizens of the USA. They love their new motherland and enrich the local community with their great traditions and hard, honest work.
There is no “Russian” area in Spokane, instead they have blended with local people and live practically everywhere in the greater Spokane area. They love Spokane: the friendly Spokane people, the four season weather, great place to work, good educational opportunities and still low housing costs. These people, often called just “Russians” are also very friendly, like to make new friends and participate in community life. There is a growing number (15 at this writing) of Slavic churches around Spokane. They work everywhere; also have lots of businesses and work in different professions. The stereotyped term “Russian Mafia” does not fit Spokane at all, because there is no mafia and the crime rate among refugees and immigrants is very low. Instead, most of them are very religious, friendly, and honest with Biblical integrity and lofty standards of conduct. Their children speak English with no accent, and most of the time it’s difficult to distinguish them on the street. Very soon there will be no difference at all between fresh immigrants and old time immigrants. We all love very much our great nation of immigrants under one God!