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The experience of intercultural communication between Russian refugees and Filipinos on Tubabao Island, 1948-1951

Journal: RUDN Journal of Russian History (Vol.20, No. 4)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 579-587

Keywords : Russian emigration; Russian diaspora; adaptation; imagology; resettlement; refugees;

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The article examines the history of Russian immigrants on the Philippine Island of Tubabao, where they fled from China in 1948 to avoid repatriation to the USSR. The refugees lived on the island for four years, a period the local population remembers as “Tiempo Russo.” The author’s goal was to examine how Filipinos saw the Russians by interviewing older islanders who had had direct contacts with the emigrants. The survey focused on three topics: 1) Fears of the Russians when they arrived on the island; 2) Formal and informal social means of communication between natives and Russians; 3) The level of respondents' trust in Russian refugees. The interviews revealed that the large number of refugees (6,000) who arrived on the island initially aroused apprehension among the local population. However, the Russians’ good behavior, friendliness and openness eventually dispelled all fears. The Russians and the islanders developed stable links as they bartered products and carried out leisure activities together, among others. At the same time, the islanders were introduced to Russian everyday culture: playing the piano, watching movies, drinking alcohol (coconut wine). In general, the local population saw their temporary positive effects. They made an impression as open, friendly, hospitable people, who loved to drink and treat others very well.

Last modified: 2021-12-01 08:21:53