Russian

Russian-Speaking Community

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Strong and Unique in West Hollywood

The Russian-speaking population of West Hollywood is the most concentrated single Russian-speaking region in US outside of New York and consists primarily of émigrés from different Republics of the former Soviet Union: Russian Federation, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, Latvia, Uzbekistan, etc.

Among the Russian-speaking community the family values are dominated most. This makes the community very strong and unique. Russian-speaking community also has extremely strong ties with the families and relatives left in the countries of their origin.

Community members are engaged in a wide variety of professions, including small business ownership, engineering, performing arts and almost any other profession that comes to mind. Perhaps, not surprisingly, aspiring Russian-American actors are drawn to Hollywood as much as other Americans looking for stardom.

Of course, no ethnic community can thrive without a healthy overabundance of its food. The Russian West Hollywood has this angle fully covered, with a variety of Russian grocery stores in West Hollywood (Los Angeles's own version of New York's Brighton Beach), Jewish Delis and many more Russian Restaurants. In addition, areas east of the LA metro, Glendale, Burbank and the San Fernando Valley, just north of the Hollywood Hills, are well peppered with a variety of food establishments serving an over 1 Million member (largest outside of Armenia) Armenian community.

As West Hollywood’s Russian – speaking community has expanded, and more new immigrants moved to the area, medical offices with Russian-speaking doctors, grocery stores, restaurants, bars and many other services and amenities opened their doors. Russian speakers have entered into other creative occupations, as well. There has been a substantial growth of such institutions as the Chekhov Theater, Russian game show clubs, social and discussion clubs, many Russian language daycare centers, schools, and newspapers. Some of the local groups have recently opened up their own websites on the Internet. However, with the growing number of Russian-speaking residents, it became increasingly important that the City provide support and understand the mentality, internal culture and special needs of the people that represent a significant portion of its population.

The City of West Hollywood produced a short documentary video in recognition of the City’s 30th anniversary last year — City of West Hollywood: Celebrating 30 Years of Russian Culture.

Nowadays, according to a 2013 survey of the community in West Hollywood, there are nearly 4,000 people who live in the City (which has a total population of approximately 35,000 residents) who identify a former country of the Soviet Union as their primary ancestry. This represents approximately 11 percent of the City’s total population.

The City has a Russian Advisory Board, which consists of nine Russian-speaking community members who advise the City Council on issues relating to the Russian-speaking Community. Five members are appointed by a Councilmember and four serve as at-large appointees.

Each year, the City hosts its Russian Arts and Culture Week, which has become an integral part of the Russian speaking community and the entire City of West Hollywood. The cultural and creative identity of the Russian speaking community is embodied in its visual arts, history, and language.