Russian Texans

By Amit Verma, 5th period

Section 1

Push Factors

  • Russians blamed the Jews for killing their ruler Czar Alexander the 2nd and began "pogroms" to destroy the Jewish (The term pogrom as a reference to large-scale, targeted, and repeated antisemitic rioting saw its first use in the 19th century).
  • The pogroms of 1881-1884 and 1903-1906 led the Russian Jews to immigrate.
  • Jews left Russia due to persecution. They moved to other countries besides the U.S

Section 2

Pull Factors and Settlement Patterns

Pull factors-

  • Russian Jews escaped to Texas with the help of Jewish Emigration Society of Kiev, working with the Galveston Movement an other groups.
  • Merchants from 1850, bought cotton from the local plantations and shipped it down the Trinity River and on to Russia. This shows that they previous Russians made good trading routes so that other Russians can come and go as things pass.
  • Resources such as cotton.
  • Working/Jobs (working in the fields)

Section 3

Traditions, Festivities, Customs, and Food.

Jews from Eastern Europe and Western Russia spoke a common language called Yiddish.

Ballet is a part of culture in Russia.
Famous Foods

  • Blintzes-pancakes filled with jlly and covered in sour cream
  • Bialiesn- onion rolls
  • Borscht- a cold beet soup with sour cream

Russia is also famous for Nesting dolls and Vodka.


-When a baby is born, only the father and mother can see it. After forty days other close relatives can see it.

-Bread can only be cut with a knife. If not, it is said that your life will be broken.

-Tripping on your left foot is considered good luck.

-It is considered bad luck if you talk about your future success.

Holidays and Festivals-


-St. Tatyana's Day

-Victory Day

-Troitsa/ Holy Trinity Day

-Ivan Kupala


-When having alcohol, it must be drunk completely

-Russian Samovars

-Giving a gift to the guest when they visit.

-Using Nesting Dolls

Section 4

Famous Russian Texans

Micheal Riskind (1879-1969)

In 1910, Riskind moved to Eagle Pass, Texas from Russia. He ended up opening a store called Riskind's Department Store near the International Bridge. His store started small and gradually became bigger,

Morris B. Zale (1901-1995)

Morris was born in Shereshov, Russia and was a jewelry store founder. His uncle taught him everything about jewelry business when his family settled in Fort Worth in 1908. In 1922, Morris opened a store in Graham. He was forced to close down his store due to Klu Klux Klan activities against Jews. In 1924, he opened the first Zale Jewelry store in Wichita Falls with the help his uncle, Sam Kruger, and his brother William. Zale's was the worlds leading retail jeweler by 1984. It later had to close down about 2,000 stores to avoid bankruptcy in 1922. Today we find that the Zale's Jeweler is popular all around the world.

Ilya Prigogine (1917 to present day)

In 1977, he receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry. A few months before the Russian Revolution was born in Moscow, Russia. He later settled in Belgium with his family, leaving Russia. He studied chemistry at the university because his father was a chemical engineer. In 1967, he founded the Center for Statistical Mechanics and Complex Systems at the University of Texas at Austin. He worked on Biology and physical sciences there. He divided his time between Austin and Belgium, while continuing his research studies since 2002.

Nathalie Krassovka

In early 1960's, she moved to Dallas. At the time, she retired as a famous ballerina. She taught ballet where she was. It later started to spread and become popular in Texas. It is now famous all over the world.

Section 5

Did You Know?

  • Russian don't usually wait for special occasion to visit a friend or relative.
  • When invited to someone's house, you should bring a gift.
  • Alcoholic beverages are allowed for the people in Russia. You can walk around with a friend drinking a bottle of beer.
  • Russian men and women prefer Vodka in shots. Sometimes they add coke or orange juice to make it a cocktail. They call it a "screwdriver"
  • Russians can have huge appetites. They love cafeteria's. Most cafe's stay open late to about 2 a.m.

Section 6

Analysis 1

Russians affected Texas in many ways. They affected Texas in the Jewelry Business by a Russian creating Zale's Jeweler. There jewelry is evidence shows that there were Russian's that settled in Texas. Russian's also affected them by their different cultural foods. We see that there are Russian Restaurants that sell Russian foods. Russian Merchants from the 1850's affected Texas by renaming the town Bartholomew, with the name of Sebastopol. We can still see this as of today. Ballet also affected Texas as well as the U.S because a Russian was the one that started to spread it. We see that people are doing ballet everywhere now. Russian religion has also affected Texas because beliefs spread throughout the state and today we find people being a part of the Russian religion.

Section 7

Analysis 2

I think Texas is better with immigration because without it, we wouldn't have any differentiation between cultures. Without it, some companies wouldn't not have been built or even known. With it, we can try different cultural foods and maybe follow different religious beliefs. Some sports we see us playing today wouldn't be here without immigration. Ballet was brought from Russia and without Nathalie Krassovka, we wouldn't really see anyone in Texas practicing it. Some resources, we can't find in Texas, and it turns out that other culture groups grow them. With them immigrating to the U.S they can help us and teach us ways to grow the resources.

Section 8


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Getting an "A"

Nesting Dolls

During the time of 1890, nesting dolls became popular, They are also called matryoshka dolls. Nesting dolls depicted Russian fairy tales, world leaders, cartoon characters, pop culture icons, sports heroes, or animals. Many people saw it as a good toy that was fun to play with during the time. Some of us, think that today. Different Nesting Dolls can show or tell different stories. Some people considered using nesting dolls in religious way. Today nesting dolls are also a great momento to have from going to Russia. Today we can go almost anywhere and purchase them.