The Union of Russian Emigrants in Paris: Adaptation and Pro-Russian Activities (with Reference to the Sûreté Générale)




emigration, Russians in Paris, Union of Russian Workers in France, Union of Soviet Citizens of France, repatriation


This article presents the results of the examination of the activities of the Union of Russian Workers of France / Union of Soviet Citizens in France in Paris which existed from 1925 to 1929 and acted as one of the most numerous unions of Russian emigrants. Drawing on materials from the archive of the Historical Service of the French Ministry of Defence, prepared by Sûreté Générale in the name of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, the author of the article identifies the purpose of creation and the tasks that the participants of the associations set themselves. The microhistorical approach and the study of the everyday life of Russian emigrants demonstrates that the primary goal was to help compatriots in adapting their life in exile. An analysis of the activities of the members of the union to improve the lives of compatriots made it possible to identify a number of successful examples of the help of the members of the union in solving urgent problems of emigrants. Additionally, the article demonstrates various ways of providing material assistance to those in need, as well as attempts to develop the intellectual culture of Russian emigrants and increase their competitiveness for employment in France. The measures taken by the members of the unions were aimed, among other things, at encouraging Russian emigrants to return to Russia. According to the author, such actions were soft cultural propaganda in favour of the Soviet Union, and these attempts to return emigrants to their homeland yielded results. The article also presents examples of the activities of the members of the union that did not contribute to the successful stay of Russian emigrants in France. The paper presents an example of the activity of the members of the union in appropriating the property of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, inciting emigrants to rebellion and organising demonstrations demanding the transfer of the church to the USSR Embassy. The result of this activity was a more thorough supervision of the activities of the organisation by the employees of the Sûreté Générale and the repatriation of a few active members of the union. It is concluded that this activity hindered the life of the Russian colony in Paris and did not contribute to its security in France.

Author Biography

Ksenia Bespalova

PhD (History), Research Fellow, Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B. N. Yeltsin.

19, Mira Str., 620002, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0001-8391-8017


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How to Cite

Bespalova, K. (2024). The Union of Russian Emigrants in Paris: Adaptation and Pro-Russian Activities (with Reference to the Sûreté Générale). Quaestio Rossica, 12(1), 35–48.



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