White Russians, Red Peril: A Cold War History of Migration to Australia by Sheila Fitzpatrick


A gripping account of the paths that led postwar Russian migrants to Australia – and what they found when they arrived.

More than 20,000 ethnic Russians migrated to Australia after the Second World War – yet we know very little about their experiences. Some came via China, others from refugee camps in Europe.
Many of the refugees who came from Europe preferred to keep a low profile in Australia, and some tried to ‘pass’ as Polish, West Ukrainian or Yugoslavian. They had good reason to do so- to the Soviet Union, Australia’s resettling of Russians amounted to the theft of its citizens, and undercover agents were deployed to persuade them to repatriate. Australia regarded the newcomers with wary suspicion, even as it sought to build its population by opening its doors to immigrants.

Making use of newly discovered Russian-language archives and drawing on a lifetime’s study of Soviet history and politics, acclaimed author Sheila Fitzpatrick examines the early years of a diverse Russian-Australian community and how Australian and Soviet intelligence agencies attempted to track and influence them. While anti-communist ‘White’ Russians dreamed a war of liberation would overthrow the Soviet regime, a dissident minority admired its achievements and thought of returning home. This is immigration history at its vivid, grounded best.