The term Russian diaspora refers to the global community of ethnic Russians. The term "''Russian speaking'' (''Russophone'') diaspora" (русскоговорящая диаспора, ''russkogovoryaschaya diaspora'') is used to describe people for whom Russian language is the native language, regardless of whether they are ethnic Russians or, for example, Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews or Chechens.
The number of ethnic Russians living outside the Russian Federation is estimated at roughly between 20 and 30 million people (depending on the notion of "ethnicity" used), the majority of them in countries of the Former Soviet Union; about 30 million native speakers of Russian are estimated to live outside the Russian Federation (compared to 147 million living within the Russian Federation).〔native speakers of Russian do not necessarily identify as ethnically Russian; notably, in Ukraine, 5.5 million native speakers of Russian self-identified as ethnic Ukrainians in the 2000 census (see demographics of Ukraine); in Israel, up to a million Russian speakers may or may not identify as "ethnic Russians" on top of self-identification as Jewish.〕
The largest overseas community is found in the United States, estimated at some 3 million people. The next largest communities of Russian speakers outside the Former Soviet Union are found in Germany and in Israel, both of unknown size but estimated in the five-figure range. In addition, in Canada, Brazil and Venezuela, several hundred thousand citizens each identify as of partial Russian descent.
== History ==
A significant ethnic Russian emigration took place in the wake of the Old Believer schism in the 17th century (for example, the Lipovans, who migrated southwards around 1700). Later ethnic Russian communities, such as the Doukhobors (who emigrated to the Transcaucasus from 1841 and onwards to Canada from 1899), also emigrated as religious dissidents fleeing centrist authority.
Ethnic Russians migrated from Russia proper throughout the Russian Empire, and later the Soviet Union, sometimes at the encouragement of the government. After the Belavezha Accords of December 1991, many ethnic Russians found themselves in newly independent states outside of Russia, notably the Baltic states, Ukraine, and in Central Asia. They represent the largest number of ethnic Russians living outside Russia. Russians distinguish these "migrations," however, from several bursts of emigration in the twentieth century.
A sizable wave of ethnic Russians emigrated in the wake of the October Revolution of 1917 and Civil War of 1917-1922. They became known collectively as the White émigrés. This emigration is also referred to as the "first wave", even though previous emigrations had taken place, as it was comprised the first emigrants to have left in the wake of the communist revolution, and because it exhibited a heavily political character.
A smaller group of Russians, often referred to by Russians as the "second wave" of Russian emigration, left during World War II. They were refugees, Soviet POWs, eastern workers, or surviving veterans of the Russian Liberation Army and other anti-communist armed units who had served under the German command and evaded forced repatriation. In the immediate postwar period, the largest Russian communities in the emigration settled in Germany, Canada, the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Russia experienced one of the most dramatic periods in its history; as a result, the former administrative Russian republic of the Soviet Union became a separate sovereign state. The collapse of the USSR resulted in an upsurge of international migrations to Russia, and the overwhelming number of them involve population movements between Russia and other post-Soviet states.〔
〕 Israel and Germany received the largest shares of Russian-speaking immigrants (Israel, predominantly Jews; Germany, predominantly ethnic Germans and Jews) in the 1990s, because of incentives provided by the governments of both countries.
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