In 2009, Old Believer families began immigrating from South America to Primorskii Krai through the Resettlement of Compatriots Program. Their bright, traditional clothing, rural lifestyle, and mannerisms have enamored many, including a group of compatriots advocates in Moscow, who have decided to lobby for additional state support on the Old Believers' behalf. In Primorskii Krai, though, conflict has arisen between the Old Believers, the local government, and villagers. Officials from Moscow have intervened in support of the Old Believers, exacerbating tensions between central and regional authorities. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this article explores the conflict and compatriots advocates' efforts to attract Old Believers from abroad to the Far East. I argue that the advocates' interest in the Old Believers comes out of racialized anxieties about demographic changes along Russia's border with China. By supporting the Old Believers, advocates envision a rural Russian past as an alternative to a post-Soviet present.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 81-99
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.