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The Koreans

The Koreans in Russia are concentrated in: Sakhalin, Primorsky Krai, Khabarovsky Krai, Rostovskaya Oblast, Krasnodarsksky Krai, Stavropolsky Krai, the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, North-Ossetia.
Language: Korean + Russian
Religion:Mixture of Buddhism, Shamanism and Confucian elements; some Orthodox Christians
Koreans are the titular nation of South and North Korea.
Korean diaspora communities are forund in different corners of the world, most notably in China, Japan, USA, former USSR (mainly Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan).

With the Treaty of Peking (1860), the Chinese Manchu dynasty ceded the Ussuri region to Russia. That was when Korean immigration to tsarist Russia began. The tsar offered the Koreans free land on the cold and lightly populated Pacific Coast. For the rest of the 19th c., there was a steady Korean immigration, especially after the famine that struck Korea in 1869. The Koreans were hard-working and law-abiding, and also seemed "assimilable". Their success aroused the envy of ethnic Russian settlers, however, and not infrequently they were physically assaulted.
The Japanese occupation of Korea from 1904 to 1945 generated a burning nationalism among the Koreans in Russia. During the years of Russo-Japanes rapprochement (1907-14), Russian authorities heavily cracked down on the Korean nationalists in the Primorye region neighboring Japan.
In 1918, Japanese troops took Vladivostok, and the cruel way in which they treated the Koreans was one reason why most Koreans joined the Bolsheviks during the Civil war, and many became members of the Party after the Japanese were expelled from Siberia in 1922.
In the 1920s, the Soviets established collective and state rice farms along the Ussuri river. These farms were worked exclusively by Koreans, who made them a success. From 1924 onwards, many Koreans moved to Kazakhstan, with promises of a warmer climate and free, irrigable land along the Syr Darya river. Again they were successful, and again their success made them targets of ethnic violence from other settlers.
Until Stalin changed his minorities policies in 1936, Korean cultural institutions were left to flourish in relative freedom. But then from 1936, all non-Russian peoples were told to become like Russians, under the slogan of "proletarianisation". The paranoid Stalin was preparing for war, and saw non-Russians, especially in border regions, as possible traitors. Whereas in the mid-1920s Koreans had been lured to Central Asia with offers of land, in the 1930s Stalin gradually turned to deportations. By 1937, all the 180,000 Koreans who had lived in the Far Eastern territory were simply gone. Either they had moved by free will, or they had been deported. Some returned to the Far East during the thaw under Khrushchov.
The Koreans adjusted relatively well to life in Soviet Central Asia. A large number of them were recognised for their outstanding labour achievements, and they sought assimilation rather than separation from the larger society, while still maintaining enough of language and culture to remain a distinct ethnic group.

Koreans living near the Aral sea face a different challenge in the 1990s, as the environmental disaster of the shrinking Aral Sea is becoming more and more evident. Even a partial restoration of this great inland sea would necessitate abandoning the irrigation canals that the Koreans had dug.

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