Although they share a common language, Russian-speaking immigrants in Oregon come from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds, and each family has its own unique story about how it arrived in the United States and settled in the Pacific Northwest. These nine personal stories illustrate some of the diversity of Oregon's Russian-speaking community. These are based on interviews conducted by students at Lewis & Clark College (Martin Dorciak, Maria Egorenko, Elise Loughran, Anna McClain and Katherine Palomares) in the summer of 2014. The page was constructed by the Watzek Library Digital Initiative Unit, where special thanks go to Anneliese Dehner.

Read more about Anna & George Derugin

A retired banker from San Francisco, George Derugin  has lived with his wife Anna in Clackamas, Oregon, since 2010. His father was born in St. Petersburg into the family of a member of the State Duma and fled Russia after the Revolution of 1917. Although George was born in Germany and came to the United States as a child in 1954, he identifies himself as Russian, speaks the language and practices Russian Orthodoxy.

Read more about Makar Afanasyevich Zenuhin

Makar Afanasyevich Zenuhin is an Old Believer who has lived on a farm near Woodburn, Oregon, since he came to the U.S. from Argentina in 1971. Retired after many years of work in forestry and construction, Makar Afanasyevich serves as the assistant pastor of the St. Nicholas prayer hall.

Read more about Vadim Riskin

Vadim Riskin and his family came to the United States in 1992. For the past 20 years, he has worked for Portland Public Schools as a resource specialist, equity coordinator and school-family coordinator. Vadim is the founder of the annual Russian-Speaking Youth Leadership Conference, the only event of its kind in the United States. Designed to support the growing population of Russian-speaking youth, it attracts over 250 high school students and 100 volunteers each year.

Read more about Ben Shevchenko

The senior pastor of the Russian Gospel Church in Hubbard, Oregon, Ben Shevchenkoimmigrated to the United States in 1957. In the early 1990s, he and his church were instrumental in sponsoring the arrival of new Russian-speaking Evangelical immigrants in Oregon.

Read more about Vitaly Paley

Vitaly Paley is a chef who owns three successful restaurants in Portland, where he and his wife Kimberly have lived since 1994. Vitaly came to the United States with his mother on November 18, 1976, and their departure from the Soviet Union followed the trajectory of many Russian-speaking Jews in the 1970s.

Read more about Adassa Budrevich

Adassa Budrevich, a graduate of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, is the daughter of Jewish emigrants from the Soviet Union who initially settled in Israel before arriving in Oregon in 1998. After her graduation in May 2014, Adassa visited her grandparents and other relatives in Russia for the first time.

Read more about Alexandra Temoschenko

A Pentecostal Christian, Alexandra Temoshenko came to the United States from Australia in 1968 and moved with her husband to Oregon in 1974. In the 1990s, she played an important role in early efforts to help the first Russian-speaking Evangelical immigrants adjust to their new lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Read more about Victoria Libov

Victoria Libov is an employment manager at Portland's Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), where she runs several programs, including youth career development and human services. Victoria, who is Jewish, was born and raised in Crimea. She immigrated to the United States with her husband and two children in 1991.

Read more about Lilya Yevseyeva

Lilya Yevseyeva is a Seventh Day Adventist who immigrated to the United States from Tajikistan in 2002. A resident of southeast Portland, Lilya works at the Russian Oregon Social Services (ROSS) as a women’s health awareness specialist. As part of her job, she teaches newly arrived immigrant women about health issues, such as the importance of breast exams and mammograms.