Living Areas: The Russians in Xinjiang live scattered in areas such as Ili, Tacheng, Altay and Urumqi.
Population: According to the 2003 census, there were 11,100 Russians in Xinjiang, 0.06 percent of the regional population.
Language: The Russians in Xinjiang both speak and write in the Russian language, which belongs to the Slavic group of the Indo-European language family.
History: The earliest Russian community in Xinjiang were immigrants from 18th century Tsarist Russia. Since then, the majority arrived during the 19th century and around the “October Revolution” of 1917. Some merchants and farmers also settled down in the border areas of Ili and Tacheng during the 19th and early 20th centuries, later forming communities there.
Economy: The Russians in Xinjiang are mainly farmers, who also engage in beekeeping, fishing and trade.
Diet: The Russians’ traditional diet includes soup, bread with butter and jam, preserved vegetables and meat joints.
Culture: Russian tradition includes many cheerful songs and dances. Their musical instruments include the button-keyed accordion, mandolin, balalaika and guitar.
Holidays: Christmas and Easter are the most important holidays for the Russians.
Religion: The Russians are believers of Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
Costumes: Customarily, Russian men wear Western suits or embroidered shirts, riding breeches and high boots, and the women wear brightly-colored dresses.
Marriage: Monogamy is a rule among the Russians. Marriage within the same clan is forbidden, but people enjoy freedom to marry those from other ethnic groups. Young men and women have free choice of spouses.
Residence: Russian homes are mostly European in style. The wood-adobe or wood-brick structures have metal rage roofs. The spacious rooms have flues for heating, and they use trees and flowers in their courtyards to give them a pleasant look.
(China.org.cn August 25, 2005)