Today I came across an interesting post by Mark Adomanis at Forbes:

“For the most part Russians are in and around all of the big [US] population centers. You can look at the map and easily pick out most of the major metropolitan areas and even a few others (like Minneapolis) that appear to be somewhat over represented. But Houston and Dallas are noteworthy for their absence…”

I have no theories of my own either (and have never even been to Texas!), but I am curious to hear yours! 

27 thoughts on “NO RUSSIANS IN TEXAS?

  1. The fact that you’ve never been to Texas proves their point!!! 😉
    I’ve been to Texas twice. AGAINST my will. Enforced layovers after missed plane connections. I did not like it. Although they do seem to have the best breakfasts in the whole wide world.

  2. Because Texas is terrible?!

    I’m surprised, though, as Texas is one of those states that everyone knows (along with Cali and New York).

  3. I am surprised. I’ve been to Houston and Dallas, and certainly Houston was extremely cosmopolitan. Taxi drivers of every nation, well almost… I have to say I didn’t meet a Russian though. Perhaps they have better taste than other nationalities (not my favourite state, you’ll gather). Though I agree about the breakfasts. In fact I went to 2 or 3 absolutely excellent restaurants.

  4. sheesh. some texas haters up in here! not that i can take up for the state, but dallas is quite unique from the rest of texas. J and I both found ourselves in there last. besides being where we met, it..and austin are hiiiigh up on my list of cities. the food and the southern and the skyline and the music scene…i could go on. just dont put us in the same category as houston ::shudder:: im at a loss for the lack of ruskies though…

  5. Hey there, I thought that I’d chime in after living in Texas for a while.

    My Ukranian ex-GF and I lived in Austin together and for some reason this seemed to be what we found out:

    All of the Russian (and by Russian I mean all FSU states) activities seem to happen in Houston. Yes, there are Russian people in the big 3 cities – Austin, Dallas, and Houston. But the only cultural events happened in Houston. They have a very nice restaurant in Austin, TX called Russian house.

    I’ve walked by there a couple of times and it’s a legit restaurant run by Russians and it can get pretty busy on Fridays and some Saturdays. I would often walk by there as people would be taking smoke breaks outside and I’d “practice” my Russian. And by “practice”, I mean spout off the one line of Russian that I knew at the time – “извините, Вы говорите по-русски, правда?” They’d often get excited as they knew by the way I look that there’s no way I was Russian (I’m a mix of African American and Spanish), so they’d start talking, then I’d have to cut them off and say, “Just kidding…Я не говорю по-русски” with a cheekish grin.

    But they’re all very nice and we’d have a nice laugh.

    I always wondered about why there aren’t many Russian people in TX, but it turns out that there really are alot of them. However, they just don’t mingle around with one another.

    My ex-GF went to some party in Austin that had tons of Russian speaking people there, and I was really interested because I thought that she would make a whole bunch of new friends and connections, but she didn’t really. She just told me that, “Eh, I met some people, they were nice…but I don’t really like them enough to hang out with them again…” And from what I understand, that seems to be the mentality among a whole bunch of the Russian people. They just tend to hang w/ their small social circle that consists of a couple of multiple Svetlana’s, Lena/Lina’s, and Oksana’s.

    But even within those groups, there are 2-3 mini groups that only enjoy hanging out with one another and will occasionally hang out with more people.

    So it’s basically like…all the Russians are connected to one another someway somehow, but they don’t get together very much unless if it’s a special holiday (Orthodox Xmas/Russian NewYear’s, International Women’s Day, etc.) And they just find a couple of people they like and that’s it.

    At least that’s what I observed in Austin though.

    But Houston seems to be where all the Russian action is at. (Even the Russian Consulate is in Houston, TX).

    So yeah. That’s just my experience and I’m sure that someone might be able to provide a completely different perspective, but yah.

    Мне нравится your блог. (I’m still learning Russian, and haven’t learned adjectives for “possession” yet – your, his, her, etc.)


    • Sasha, thanks for writing and a lot of insight! It’s great to hear a local’s perspective. I think you picked up on something interesting about the Russian community abroad. There are basically two types of Russians – those that mostly live near/only hang out with other Russians, and those that actually avoid their former compatriots. Wheile living in NYC I was the latter, and my Ukrainian ex-bf was the exact opposite. He had a lot of ‘American’ friends of all ethnicities, but that was mostly through work; his truly social circle was very FSU-heavy and he didnt understand why I wouldnt speak Russian around them.

  6. My theory is that the Russian ex-pat communities match with established Jewish communities. A large portion of the Soviet ex-pats were Jewish. They were some of the ones most eager to leave, and many Jewish organizations in the US sponsored them.

    Once they established Russophone communities in the US, other former Soviets followed.

    Texas does not have much of a Jewish population, even compared to Minnesota and Colorado.

    The West Coast may be a different phenomenon, as they have more White Russian connections, and the Russian populations there are pretty old.

  7. Another blogger came up with a theory after reading the article:
    (See comments section of that post):
    I just thought of a theory: no Jews. Most of the first waves of former Soviets were Jews, both in the late 70s and in the late 80s. They were some of the most eager to leave, and there were plenty of US Jewish groups sponsoring them.

    They were the pioneers. Then the other former Soviets followed and went to the Russian-speaking communities.

    Texas does not have many Jews, even compared to Minnesota.

    That’s my theory. But I guess I would have to find a map that shows the clusters of Jewish communities to see if they match with the Russians.

  8. This is an interesting post!! My husband (Russian) and I just left Texas for the much-preferred California; we were in Fort Worth for about 7 months. Sasha wrote a great reply and the observation that most Russian communities overlap with Jewish communities (but yes, an interesting question, why such a relatively small Jewish population in Texas??) is relevant. What I can say about Texas is that the major cities (Austin, Houston, Dallas/Ft Worth) definitely have Russian populations; they all have shops with Russian goods and Russian (owned and operated) restaurants and I’ve even encountered actual Russians there. And, of course, there’s the Russian consulate in Houston. My husband even found a Russian couple (former soloists for the Bolshoi, naturally) who owned a small ballet school, which he was overjoyed about. I wonder if the fact of the communities being less cohesive is partially due to geography; New York and San Francisco, both famous for their Russian populations, are much denser than places like Los Angeles and San Diego.. While there are many many many Russian (and FSU) nationals in Southern California, the nature of the cities is that they are very spread out, so the communities are less tight-knit/somewhat nonexistent. Texas, in some respects, is very similar to So. Cal. geographically, so that might contribute?

    ALSO, I read your comments all the time on Polly’s blog but for some reason never actually bothered to come check it out. You’ve got a new follower!

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